(Posted 2:30 p.m., Nov. 24)
Santa officially opens Magical Village
for another holiday season
Claus surveys the 15th edition of the Magical
Village on the second floor of Place d'Orléans.
The Village will be open during regular mall
hours until Christmas Eve. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Magical Village has amazed and mesmerized children for
the past 15 years. This year it returns to the second
floor of Place d'Orléans next to the RCMP recruitment
Village was officially opened on Saturday by Santa Claus
himself, who got a little help cutting the ceremonial
ribbon from Ottawa-Orléans MPP Phil McNeely and
Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais.
Gloucester North Lions Club was also out in full force
as the official keepers of the Village which includes
more than 300 miniature buildings; six model railway trains
including Thomas the Tank Engine;, and countless miniature
figures including trees, cars and other features.
members started putting the Village together on Nov. 3
with the help of about 20 volunteers who gave up their
time to make sure the holiday attraction was open on schedule.
history of the Magical Village goes back to 1997, when
it was first set up at the Gloucester Centre by former
Gloucester Mayor Claudette Cain who wanted to establish
a pet project to help raise money for the Gloucester Emergency
Food Cupboard still gets a share of the proceeds generated
by the Village, which last year topped the $10,000 mark,
while funds are also provided to the Lions Foundation
of Canada guide dog program and the Lions District A4
Multiple Organ and Retrieval Exchange (MORE) program.
two extra days on the holiday calendar between the official
opening and Christmas Eve. Village coordinator Mark Marcogliese
is hoping to raise over $10,000 again this year.
Charlebois was a direct beneficiary of the money raised
through the Magical Village when she received her guide
dog Candy in April 2010. The Lions Club sponsors a program
that purchases and trains the guide dogs from a young
age and matches them up with a grateful recipient.
day I got her I cried. She helps me so much," says
Magical Village is enjoyed by young and old alike. Part
of the magic is noticing new elements that you hadn't
seen before or seeing old standbys like the Nutcracker
Theatre or the McDonald's drive-thu that might have been
latest edition to the Village is a Whoville scene with
several Who houses and Who villagers.
the Village is normally manned by Lions Club members,
more then a dozen high school students volunteer their
time to help earn community service hours.
a special treat for 17-year-old Sharee Weekes who remembers
her parents bringing her to the Village when she was eight
really neat to see the little kids react and the smiles
on peoples' faces," says Weekes.
Magical Village is open during regular mall hours until
Christmas Eve. Donations can be made in any amount as
well as non-perishable food items.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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