Vivian Slade can trace her fascination with miniature villages all the way back to her childhood when her mother used to set up a series of seven paper and cardboard buildings with miniature lights inside on a field of cotton batten snow.
Vivian Slade’s miniature Christmas Village is made up of more than 500 pieces, including nearly 50 of the animated variety. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
The set still has a place of honour on the main floor of Vivian and Bob Slade’s Convent Glen home, but not far away is a far more impressive display which they began assembling when they first started dating in 1993.
The couple’s 8x10 foot sunroom is completely dominated by a multi-tiered miniature Christmas Village made of more than 500 buildings and figurines, including more than 40 animated pieces each requiring its own power source.
The couple starts putting the village together the day after Hallowe’en. It takes roughly six weeks to complete working from back to front.
Probably the most complicated aspect of the village are the power chords. Each animated piece has its own AC adapter, All told, the village requires 12 power bars. The underneath of the table bares a striking resemblance to a big bowl of spaghetti.
Over the years Vivian has stuck to an early 1800s theme. There are no vehicles to be found, but there are plenty of horses, buggies and sleighs. There’s only one exception, a Tim Horton’s restaurant smack dab in the middle of the village. Tapped underneath the building is a picture of Viviane’s younger sister who passed away from breast cancer in 2012.
“She always had to be the first one to see the village when it was done. It was our little tradition,” says Viviane. “And we have the Timmies because she practically lived there. Now she always has a place in our village.”
Among the many visitors to the Slade’s sunroom are their seven grandchildren and their neighbours who line up at the door for a chance to be among the first to view their Christmas village.
The job of putting the village away takes about 48 hours and begins the day after New Year’s.
The Slades then get to enjoy their sunroom for another 10 months before doing it all over again next November one miniature house at a time.