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.
Christmas decorations are already on display in this grand building in Bowmanville’s heritage district, east of Toronto.
You can’t help smiling when you enter this educational and recreational centre.
People are friendly. BOAA also holds many fun events and a surprising number of them involve costumes and decorations!
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.
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.
But when the Christmas village is set out on huge tables in the building’s original front hall, many linger for a while, smiling.
It’s been at least 8 years since “Bennyville” became a BOAA tradition.
“Benny Young is a member of the BOAA and the entire village is his,” says Angie.
“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.”
Angie says some members bring their family and friends to see it.
“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.
“The addition of the train a few years ago took some getting used to but we’ve grown to love its sound now too.”
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.
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”
Cynthia – this is indeed so cool, great and full of joy!!
Well said, Mihran. It really is a joyful sight.
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
Thanks, Clare. Benny collects them, and I think he buys most or all of them himself. It’s a treasure-trove.
Oh my…Cynthia, this is so heartwarming to see. The spirit of Christmas shines through. Thank you for sharing. 🙂 Best wishes for your book signing, too!
Your lovely comment made me smile, Natalie. Thank you.
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.
Sorry you won’t be able to make, it, Janette, and thanks for letting us know!
How wonderful. My kids would love Bennyville. Belated Happy thanksgiving Cynthia. I did not realize that Canada celebrated it before the
Thank you, Karina. Bennyville is a sight to behold in person.
Good luck with the book-signing and what a fun location and display! 😀
Yes, and I’m betting the staff and volunteers have something special planned for the signing. I won’t find out till I get there.
Love Bennyville! I would never have enough patience to put up villages but enjoy them when someone else does. What a magical place for a book signing!
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.
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.
Thanks very much, Benny. What a truly wonderful thing you’ve done! Congrats.
You are indeed a treasure to all of us Benny. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
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!
I find that easy to believe, Darrin. A remarkable thing like the Christmas Village at BOAA must come from a very caring and thoughtful person.
I love the Christmas village, makes me want to play with it! Good luck with the signing 🙂
Me too, Andrea. Thank you.
What a wonderful setting for your book signing. You and Myrtle will feel right at home in such a loving, supportive environment.
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.
I love Bennyville! BOAA sounds like a wonderful place to hold a book signing, Cynthia! I agree with Gallivanta that Myrtle will feel right at home there. 🙂
lavinia, it was an amazing book signing. Tons of people attended and almost everyone wore purple.
Have fun! Myrtle has found kindred spirits.
Yes, I so agree with you. Thanks very much for visiting and commenting.
Christmas is my favourite holiday – and I love these decorations!
Me too, Colline! Benny took me to watch the train go through the Christmas Village this week. It was lovely.
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.
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!!!!!!!
I’m so glad to hear that, Laurie!
This is superb! Benny has the true Christmas spirit–loving and giving!
Well said, Kerry. What a special gift he has given to so many.
This is wonderful Cynthia! So festive and loved the costumes too 🙂
Me too, Tina. Glad you like the village and the costumes.
This looks like a decor of fairy tale , a dreamland !
What a patient work to ydo this village .
It takes Benny days to get it set up, Michel. It’s such a gift.
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?
I met Benny and his wife at the book signing, Jeanne! will blog about it as soon as I catch my breath. Hope you’re doing well.
Congrats on the book signing! This looks like a place I could spend hours in!
Thanks, RobbyeFaye! I’ll do an update blog on the book-signing very soon. Amazing.
I’m looking forward to it!
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!
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.
Myrtle has friends in high places:).
Beautiful decorations, and that train set is nothing short of amazing. I’m pretty sure I’d like that organization. 🙂
I think you would. It’s a most creative place too.
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.
What a beautiful display! I can definitely see how the folks would enjoy viewing it. Merry Christmas 🙋🐦🎅