By PAUL COWLEY
One Christmas about 30 years ago, June MacIntosh’s husband bought her several little festive houses.
“He said, ‘Go from there,’ ” recalled June with a laugh as she offers a tour of her Lilliputian Christmas world featuring more than 160 buildings and hundreds of little figures.
Her incredible collection fills the main room of a show home at Sandy Point-The Resort, where she manages the campground and her husband Brian oversees the resort.
There are libraries, toy stores, churches, inns and bakeries, Ferris wheels, gondola rides and numerous skating rinks, many with skaters gliding gracefully in circles, thanks to unseen mechanics.
Every year, new buildings and townsfolk were added to her growing world.
“Almost every piece is different. I have a couple of churches that are the same. But other than that, nothing is the same.”
Her mini montages gathered into little villages are also never repeated from one holiday season to the next.
“I set it up differently every year,” she said.
This year, it took 2-1/2 weeks to create her display on racks of shelves custom built by her husband.
She has her favourites among the collection. Among them is a ballroom with three elegant couples, the men in evening coats with tails, the women in ball gowns, being swept around the floor in a never-ending waltz beneath the warm glow of tiny lights.
“That was one of my first,” she said. “It’s a beautiful set up.”
In another corner, she has created an entire scene that has a special place in her heart. Tugboats bob in a lake full of anglers, surrounded by bait and tackle shops, a yacht club, fish restaurants, a lighthouse and other reminders of the New Brunswick home she left 30 years ago.
Dozens of visitors have seen her Christmas display this season. Many have come during the twice weekly open houses at the resort on Gull Lake, just north of Bentley, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m.
However, June is always happy to give visitors a tour, if they call ahead. She expects to keep the display up until Jan. 4.
So, did Brian regret how his little present from the Lacombe hardware store all those years ago would grow into a merry metropolis that fills a good-sized room?
Not a chance.
“He’s just like a kid,” said June with a laugh. “He collects just as much as I do. He’s just as bad.”