christmas lights toronto

This epic holiday lights display near Toronto is built around a model railroad and mini village

If you're among the many Toronto area residents that miss the local miniature villages of decades past, you'll want to visit one Thornhill home that has revived the long lost art form with a special holiday-themed setup.

Weesh Pacheco's yard on John Street in Old Thornhill, less than an hour north of the downtown core, rivals even the best of Toronto's Christmas decor with its extravagent lights, train set and miniature village.

Pacheco took his love for miniatures to the next level when he decided to convert his property into a public attraction that could be enjoyed by the community.

Dubbed the Blue Corner House Railroad, he takes visitors each weekend to come see his elaborate works of art and his miniature steam and diesel trains, which are just as beautiful as the ones at the much-mourned Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village many of us will remember from our youth.

"The idea was to create a holiday village with a holiday train as part of our Christmas decorations, however when we discovered how excited kids of all ages became when they walked by the front of our house, we knew immediately that this would be permanent," Pacheco told blogTO.

It's something he's been doing since September of 2019, and he changes it up to fit in with each season, with the summer edition sounding possibly even cooler than the Christmas one, which includes little CN trains that clear snow off their rails.

"In the summer long weekends we have the miniature CNE that sets up for the local miniature people," he says.

There has never been a fee for admission or any sort of advertising, but the site has become understandably popular in the neighbourhood thanks to passersby and word-of-mouth, and is a favourite of local families.

In light of COVID-19, Pacheco just asks visitors to mask up before arrival, adding that the miniature village has been "pretty much the only thing keeping the neighborhood in some form or normality during this ever-lasting pandemic."

Given that the installation has been such a hit and that Pacheco is so passionate about it — and that it is physically installed onto his home's white picket fence — hopefully the railroad will be around for years to come.

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