Denise and Jim Madeiros have set up their Christmas miniature village for many years now.
They first opened it to the public two years ago, but last year, with COVID restrictions, they kept their doors closed. They have decided to set it up again, this time in a new space with more room. Jim started building the frames for the displays in September.
“We have roughly about 170 homes and buildings,” he says.
Christmas on Cascara promises to be bigger and better in 2021, though mask restrictions and COVID rules will be in place. Their plan is to spread visitors into smaller groups.
It starts Nov. 20 and runs through Dec. 21, with viewings each Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday from 5 to 8 p.m. They want to let people know if someone can’t visit during the set times, they can always contact the couple to arrange another time.
They have been adding some new items from friends, family and even strangers. For example, one man had a large box of items such as trains and people he was going to donate elsewhere, but he decided to pass them on to the Madeiros.
Some of the newer additions include a military base, an RV park, PAW Patrol and Thomas the Tank Engine from Lego. There’s also one new face that seems appropriate for any Christmas village.
“Santa is new,” says Denise. “Somebody donated that to us.”
They also added a miniature Cascara Crescent, with their house decked out in flags in honour of a grandson who loves flags.
However, there’s one missing building from what they planned.
“We’ve had this up since ’92 and I’ve never broken a building,” Jim says.
This year, the clean streak ended, with Denise’s favourite church suffering the damage. In its place, they put down a house under construction.
There are also many old favourites such as the bank robbery or guys playing pool that one needs a keen eye to see. One traditional feature has been the addition of boats in the harbour, each named after a grandchild. Again, they have to add to the fleet with two new grandchildren since setting up in 2019 as well as a grand-nephew.
As before, the couple takes donations for a few causes dear to them: the local food bank, a local autism program and the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Of course, another big motivation for the couple is to spread some holiday cheer, especially when it is so badly needed.
“It’s just good to put some smiles on people’s faces,” says Jim.
With the new set-up, they have made the space wheelchair accessible. The home is at 2860 Cascara Cr. in Courtenay. For more information, contact them at 250-897-5643 or 250-218-7177.