Each year over the holidays, Arnold Lucier welcomes guests to visit his miniature village, inspired by his Metis upbringing on the prairies. (LeRae Haynes photo)

Visitors inspired by magical miniature village

Each year, people of all ages flock to see the beautiful lighted streets

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in the case of Williams Lake resident Arnold Lucier and his exquisite miniature Christmas town, it sometimes takes a village to delight and inspire a community.

Each year, people of all ages flock to see the beautiful lighted streets, tiny stores, houses, churches and schoolhouses in the village featured in the home of Arnold and Gail Lucier.

“It started out as a little hobby, turned into a big hobby and now it’s a tradition,” Lucier explained. “For weeks, I hear from people, ‘Is the village up yet?’”

Many individuals and groups, including groups of school children, come to see it.

Lucier, the Region 5 Senator for Metis Nation B.C., said that family members help collect bits and pieces for the miniature village. It has grown from a coffee table with four little houses, to a four-by-eight foot table, and is now three full tables plus two tiers: all powered by a single switch.

READ MORE: All warmly welcomed at Metis Jamboree

There are lighted streetlamps, a schoolhouse, casino, church, taco stand, bakery, children’s museum, stores, a police station, campers, lighthouse, Santa’s toy shop, laundromat, railroad stations and a bowling alley. There are even miniature stylized versions of a Walmart, a Canadian Tire and a sports centre.

A tiny train, a range of figurines and animals bring an animated aspect to the village, and the overall detail is captivating.

He said that last year four classrooms from nearby Cataline Elementary School came to see the village. “One class at a time came in with their teachers, while the rest waited patiently outside. They were absolutely fascinated, calling out to each other, ‘Oh look at this’ and ‘Oh look over here.’ My wife, Gail also handed out candy canes to the kids. They went back to their classrooms and couldn’t wait to tell their parents.”

Neighbours and friends also come to see the village.

He explained that Christmas was a big thing growing up Metis on the prairies. “My mom was really into Christmas, was also really into decorating her own house for Christmas, and we all got hooked on it,” he continued.

“We all used to go to my grandma’s for Christmas. She had the best tree and would even make her own tinsel out of the linings of cigarette packages, which she collected and saved all year. She also made her own holly and had real glass bubble lights for the tree.

“I had 16 aunties and uncles; it was a large family and a full house.”

He said that one of the biggest traditions was riding a caboose – a little van you built with a wood stove inside it.

“It had no windows and was pulled by a team of horses with bells on. Inside, the kids piled on the wood box and dad sat on an upside-down bucket,” he explained. “We all traveled around over the holidays to visit neighbours. Everybody played music together: fiddles, guitars, accordions and singing.”

Arnold’s mom, who passed away a few months ago, loved the village he put together and would go to yard sales during the summer to collect bits and pieces and figurines.

READ MORE: Making friends for life at Metis Jamboree

He said that all his life, Christmas was a religious event enriched by family traditions. New Year’s was called ‘the kissing day,’ and Jan. 6 was All Kings Day.

“Jan. 6 was a really big day for Metis; everyone exchanged gifts, even with strangers,” he said.

He added that Metis are keepers of tradition, including the music, the jigging, the clothing and the family values, and said that it’s helped shape who he is today.

“This village in my home is part of that,” he stated.

“Seeing the look on kids faces when they see it, regardless of their culture or their nationality, that’s why we do it.”

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Evacuation order lifted for second Frizzi Road property

The order went into effect on April 26, 2020 due to high water flows in the river valley

Thousands of dollars in Indigenous art missing after Bella Coola break-in

Masks, prints and a hand painted canoe are just a few of the missing items

RCMP seek man facing sexual assault charges

Police believe he may be living on central Vancouver Island but also has a history in the Cariboo region

More rain in the forecast for Cariboo region

A risk of a thunderstorm for Tuesday afternoon

Cariboo vegetable farmer swamped by Fraser River flooding

Brianna van de Wijngaard was picking vegetables three feet below the water

Horrifying video shows near head-on collision on Trans Canada

The video was captured on dash cam along Highway 1

B.C. sees 12 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths

Three outbreaks exist in health-care settings

Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

The dog was missing from his Castlegar home for three days.

COVID-19: B.C. promotes video-activated services card

Mobile app allows easier video identity verification

ICBC to resume road tests in July with priority for rebookings, health-care workers

Tests have been on hold for four months due to COVID-19

Would you take a COVID-19 vaccine? Poll suggests most Canadians say yes

75 per cent of Canadians would agree to take a novel coronavirus vaccine

Budget officer pegs cost of basic income as calls for it grow due to COVID-19

Planned federal spending to date on pandemic-related aid now tops about $174 billion

Sexologist likens face mask debate to condom debate: What can we learn from it?

Society’s approach to condom usage since the 1980s can be applied to face masks today, one expert says

Most Read