Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, Dec. 6


 

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   
(Updated 7:30 a.m., Dec. 6)
Lions’ Magical Village enchants young and old alike

By Fred Sherwin
The Orléans Star

There’s something about model trains, miniature houses and twinkling lights that captures the imagination of young and old alike.

The Gloucester North Lions Club’s Magical Village has been drawing them in for more than 15 years, and in the process, raising tens of thousands of dollars for local charities.

Linda Vasudev gets a close look at the Magical Village with her grand-nephew Jonathan during a recent visit to Place d’Orléans. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The display, featuring more than 250 miniature buildings, six model trains and hundreds of miniature lights, raised more than $12,000. Last year, which was split three ways between the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard and the Orléans Cumberland Community Resource Centre foodbank, and HOST, a program that provides nutritional breakfasts and luncheons to students from financially challenged families.

Gloucester North Lions Club member and Magical Village coordinator Ashley Grosset, is confident this year’s Village will generate another five figures in donations before it wraps up on Dec. 24.

The Magical Village takes 600 hours to set up and another 600 hours to put away. In between, Lion members from four different east end clubs will contribute 440 volunteer hours manning the display.

Orléans resident Linda Vasudev brought her two young grand-nephews to the Village for the first time last weekend.

“I love this. It is incredible. I think we’re going to start a brand new tradition,” said Vasudev who brought her own children to the Magical Village when it was set up at the Gloucester Centre Shopping Mall years ago.

For older visitors like Gilles Lessard, 62, from Convent Glen, a visit to the Magical Village is like a walk down memory lane.

“I think it’s just great. It brings back old memories. I especially like the old service station and the drive-in diner. You don’t see too many of those around anymore,” said Lessard, who was visiting the village for the first time since it moved to the far end of the Place d’Orléans food court five years ago.

The Magical Village was established by former Gloucester mayor Claudette Cain in 1998 to help raise money for the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard.

During the first few years the Magical VIllage was on display at the Gloucester Centre Shopping Centre.

When the city amalgamated in 2001, ownership of the Village was handed over to the Food Cupboard and the Gloucester Child Care Services, who, in turn, handed it over to the Gloucester North Lions Club in 2005.

The Magical Village was moved to Place d’Orléans in 2002 where it has remained ever since except for 2004 when a lack of space forced a move to the Westgate Shopping Mall, and 2008 when a similar problem forced the Village to close for a year.

The Magical Village is located on the second floor of Place d’Orléans next to the Food Court and is open every day during regular mall hours. Cash donations are accepted at the entrance as well as non-perishable food items.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

 

   
   

 




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