7:30 a.m., Dec. 7)
Magical Village celebrating its 20th anniversary
By Fred Sherwin
popular holiday tradition has returned to Place d’Orléans
for another year and miniature village aficiandos couldn’t
Lions’ Magical Village has been enchanting young and old
alike for the past two decades, and in the process, has
raised over $100,000 for local charities.
Charlebois brothers – Caleb, 19 mo., William,
5 and Jacob, 2 – check out the Lion’s Magical
Village in matching onesies. Fred Sherwin/Photo
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, the Orléans-Cumberland
Community Resource Centre food bank, and HOST, a program
that provides nutritional break-fasts and luncheons to
students from financially challenged families.
North Lions Club member and Magical Village coordinator
Ashley Etherington, is confident this year’s dis-play
will generate another five figures in donations before
it wraps up on Dec. 24, especially in light of the fact
that they’ve already managed to raise $5,000 in spon-sorship
year’s Magical Village took four days to set up, and because
of the extra space they’ve been given by the Place d’Orléans
management, they have been able to use all of the miniature
buildings in the collection.
had lots of help and lots of space his year so we’ve been
able to use all of the stuff that has been donated over
the last three years,” says Etherington.
of the display are a throwback to yesteryear when companies
like Eaton’s and Reitman’s used to have Christmas displays
in their windows.
residents Kristie and Jesse Charlebois brought their three
sons – Caleb, Jacob and William – to see the Village on
opening day in between getting their picture taking with
Santa and watching the Parade of Lights.
become a tradition. We do it every year,” says Kristie,
who first started coming to the Magical Village with her
own parents more than 16 years ago. “They visit with Santa
first and have their picture taken with him, then we come
here to see all the houses and the trains and then we
go watch the parade.”
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, it
was on display at the Gloucester Centre Shopping Centre.
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.
Magical Village is located on the second floor of Place
d’Orléans next to the Dollarama and is open Wednesday
to Friday from noon to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9:30 a.m.
to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed
on Mondays and Tuesdays, except during the week before
Christmas when it is open every day including Christmas
donations – as well as non-perishable food items – are
accepted at the entrance to the Village.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)
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