Volume 12 Week 5

Sunday, Feb. 15


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(Posted 11/12/13)

Magical Village display celebrates 15th anniversary

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The Magical Village is open during regular mall hours at Place d'Orleans until Christmas Eve. Admission is free, however, monetary donations and non-perishable food items are accepterd. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Magical Village has amazed and mesmerized young and old alike for the past 15 years. This year it returns to the second floor of Place d'Orléans at the far end of the Food Court next to the RCMP recruitment centre.

The Village was officially opened earlier this month by its original matriarch, former Gloucester mayor Claudette Cain, and Germaine Ladouceur, the original architect.

The 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.

Club members started putting the Village together in early November with the help of about 20 volunteers who gave up their time to make sure the traditional holiday attraction was open on time.

The history of the Magical Village dates back to 1998, when it was first set up in the foyer of Gloucester City Hall. It was moved to the Gloucester Centre shopping mall the following year where it remained until 2002 when it was moved to Place d'Orléans where it has remained every year since except for 2004, when it returned to Gloucester Centre for one year, and 2010 when it had to be moved to the Westgate Shopping Centre for one year when there was no space available at Place.

Through the years the Village has raised tens of thousands of dollars for a variety of charities including the Food Cupboard.

The three main charities that will be receiving a share of the donations this year include the Food Cupboard, Ronald McDonald House and Lions Camp Dorsett, which is a summer camp for kids on dialysis.

Gloucester North Lions Club member and Magical Village coordinator Mark Marcogliese is confident they will be able to hit the $10,000 mark this year with the help pf generous sponsors like Klein Optical, Beacon Hill, Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney, Expedia Cruise Ship Centres, Pathway Hyundai and the Vintage Stock Theatre Company.

Fred Guy Moving and Storage also came through with free storage for the Magic Village this year, saving the enterprise $1,100.

Part of the Village's 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.

The latest editions to the Village are Santa's Toy Shop, the World's Fair Carriage Race and a working cable car that was donated by an anonymous member of the public.

While 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.

The 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.

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

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