Volume 12 Week 5

Tuesday, Jan. 21


Posted Jan. 10

Posted Jan. 9

Posted Jan. 7


Orléans Ward
Matt Luloff

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney





(Posted 7:30 a.m., Dec. 8)
Magical Village a throwback to window displays of yesteryear

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Melissa Donato checks out this year’s Magical Village at Place d’Orléans with her son Frankie, 6. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The Magical Village is a holiday tradition unlike any other. First established in 1997 by former Gloucester mayor Claudette Cain, the collection of more than 250 miniature buildings, 500 figurines, six model trains, and hundreds of multi-coloured lights, has been dazzling visitors ever since.

Among the many people who dropped by the Village at Place d’Orléans on Friday was 93-year-old Earl Galloway. Not far from him was a young mother who was bringing her two-year-old daughter to the display for the first time.

Galloway has made a point of visiting the magical display ever since it made its inaugural appearance at the Gloucester Shopping Centre in 1997.

What draws him back year after year are the childhood memories it triggers of getting your oil checked at a service station, taking a horse drawn sleigh to Christmas mass, and playing shinny after you’ve just finished shoveling the snow off the local pond.

Galloway says his favourite piece in the display is the John Deere train.

“I’m a John Deere man,” says Galloway, who grew up on a farm near Cumberland Village.

It took 19 volunteers nearly three weeks to set up the display at the far end of the food court near the RCMP recruitment office.

This year’s village features a number of new elements including a large ferris wheel that lights up as it goes around, a tower that looks like it fell off a page in a Dr. Seuss book, and Santa’s workshop, along with some of the original pieces like the opera house, the Nutcracker Theatre and the fire station.

David Walls gas been coming to the Magical Village for the past five years. He believes its appeal is a throwback to the old window displays that used to adorn the large department stores like Freiman’s on Rideau Street.

“It takes you back that way. The stores don’t have Christmas displays like they used to,” says Walls.

The current caretaker of the Magical Village is the Gloucester North Lions Club. They inherited it from the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard in 2001 and moved it to Place d’Orléans where it has been ever since, except for 2010, when it was temporarily moved to the Westgate Shopping Mall due to a lack of space.

More than 8,000 people are expected to pass through the Magical Village this year, generating more than $10,000 in donations. Sponsors and contributions from the local business community should push the total over $12,000.

The proceeds will be split between the Orléans-Cumberland Community Resource Centre, the Gloucester Emergency Food Cup-board, Camp Banting, and the Gloucester North Lions Club Legacy Fund.

Besides the monetary donations, a number of local businesses contribute in other areas. Fred Guy Moving and Storage provides the storage space for the village when its not on display, and Place d'Orleans donates the display area.

The Magical Village is open Wed. to Fri. from noon to 9 p.m., Sat. from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sun. from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Young people can also meet “Cashou the Squirrel” from noon to 2 pm on Dec. 9, 21, 22, 23.

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


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