A Good Home, Bowmanville, Christmas, Christmas Decorations, Christmas in Canada, Christmas Villages

Welcome to Bennyville, the Christmas Village

Happy Thanksgiving to my American family and friends! Here in Canada, we’re roughly halfway between our Thanksgiving (early October) and Christmas.


Christmas is still more than 4 weeks away, but don’t tell that to my friends at BOAA.

Blog Photo - BOAA bldg side shot

Christmas decorations are already on display in this grand building in Bowmanville’s heritage district, east of Toronto.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village red house and track

Blog Photo - BOAA Chrsitmas village and bus on road through village

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Village City Hall lit up

You can’t help smiling when you enter this educational and recreational centre.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Tree

People are friendly. BOAA also holds many fun events and a surprising number of them involve costumes and decorations!

Blog Photo - BOAA Halloween 2-shot

How many associations can say their executive director (the wonderful, witty Angie Darlison, right) was a taco one year and a chicken the next? Not too many, I’d bet. Angie ensures that a sense of humour is alive and well at BOAA.

BOAA is big on celebrating the seasons and occasions, and its volunteers are some of the best decorators of all.

In November, the Christmas trees go up. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas Hallway

BOAA stands for the Bowmanville Older Adult Association. It’s run by professional staff and avid member-volunteers.  Its members are very active people 55 years and older. They’re usually on their way to or from classes and activities held at the centre.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village gazebo

But when the Christmas village is set out on huge tables in the building’s original front hall, many linger for a while, smiling.

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village admirer

It’s been at least 8 years since “Bennyville” became a BOAA tradition. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village church

“Benny Young is a member of the BOAA and the entire village is his,” says Angie. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village and road

“When Benny moved to Bowmanville from Nova Scotia he offered to set it up each year at the BOAA for our members and guests to enjoy. He works days and days setting up the village.” 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village buildings and people

Angie says some members bring their family and friends to see it. 

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village santa on roof

“It’s amazing to be in the office, listening to the folks enjoying the village. They look for the bank, the lawyer, the town hall … and of course the older adult centre.   

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village train and water tank

“The addition of the train a few years ago took some getting used to but we’ve grown to love its sound now too.”

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village carriage and horse

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village buildings and truck

Blog Photo - BOAA Christmas village at one end

As for me, I am one of those lingering as long as possible. I feel like a small child every time I stop to look. I always think they fit perfectly with the grand old family mansion that became the home of BOAA.Blog Photo - BOAA Historical Bldg

Blog Photo - BOAA Chrsitmas tree 2


p.s. BOAA is holding a book-signing next Tuesday for Myrtle the Purple Turtle and me. I’m very much looking forward to it! 

52 thoughts on “Welcome to Bennyville, the Christmas Village”

  1. What a lovely place where older people can learn new skills and enjoy themselves. Maybe it’s a little like our U3A (University of the 3rd Age)? https://www.u3a.org.uk/
    I think I’d be lingering by the Bennyville display. Such detail! Does he make all the models himself or has he purchased them from somewhere? Best wishes for the book signing xx

      1. I will be unable to attend the book signing. I will have Amanda get one for me for my Great Granddaughter Evelyn. I thank you in advance.
        Janette Keegan

  2. How wonderful. My kids would love Bennyville. Belated Happy thanksgiving Cynthia. I did not realize that Canada celebrated it before the
    U S.

    1. Me neither! I’d be afraid of breaking something. But I love to look at them, especially when they’re as large and splendid as these! It really is a magical place, Jo Nell. Hope you’re doing well, and thanks for replying.

  3. Thank you Cynthia for all your kind words about Bennyville> I am Benny Young – the creator of Bennyville. I enjoy putting it together every Christmas season and love to see the smiles on peoples faces and how they tell me how much they enjoy it. I hope to see you at your book signing next Tuesday.

    1. Benny is my Dad and I can attest to how much he carries the Christmas spirit throughout the whole year and truly enjoys the season. Dad has been putting out villages since I was a kid and it makes so happy and proud to see others appreciate one of things that make him so special!
      Love you Dad!

    1. You’re so right, Gallivanta. BOAA has been part of my healing and recovery and every time I walk through the entrance, I feel the kind energy of this place and the people here.Wonderful staff and volunteers, and members smile with each other.

  4. Awesome Benny! A beautiful project indeed…..just like the paintings you have done.Nice to know you are making other people smile through your creative talents. Keep up the good
    work. Merry Christmas to all the family.

  5. Oh, Cynthia! Such a wonderful post. As I read it, I felt the spirit of Christmas fly from your blog to me here in Maine. Hugs to you all!!!!!!!

  6. I see grandparents aplenty lining up for their copies of “Myrtle” for Christmas giving and reading! And what a devotion of time and love is Bennyville. And I appreciate the chicken (formerly taco) costume on the director – if we can’t laugh, what’s left?

  7. What is it about a Christmas village that just makes me feel warm inside? I’m not a crafty, kitschy person but they make me smile:). Thanks for sharing!

    1. It’s the same with me, K. And I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Christmas Village himself – Benny — at my book signing this week. He was dressed in bright purple in honour of Myrtle, and he took me to watch the train go through the village.

  8. I had to come back and look at the village again. I have mine all in boxes and they have not been set up in 8 years. 😦 I may have to find somewhere like that to donate them. I’ve been looking around here to see who could use them. Thanks for sharing this and giving me an idea.

  9. What a beautiful display! I can definitely see how the folks would enjoy viewing it. Merry Christmas 🙋🐦🎅

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