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. 7)
Lions Magical Village celebrating its 20th anniversary
By Fred Sherwin

A popular holiday tradition has returned to Place d’Orléans for another year and miniature village aficiandos couldn’t be happier.

The 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.

The Charlebois brothers – Caleb, 19 mo., William, 5 and Jacob, 2 – check out the Lion’s Magical Village in matching onesies. 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, 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.

Gloucester 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 money.

This 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.

“We 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.

Parts of the display are a throwback to yesteryear when companies like Eaton’s and Reitman’s used to have Christmas displays in their windows.

Navan 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.

“It’s 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.”

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, it 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 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 Eve.

Cash donations – as well as non-perishable food items – are accepted at the entrance to the Village.

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


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