Leaving the hospital after a doctor’s appointment, Nellie-Rose and I come across a marvelous surprise. There, smack dab in the middle of the Izaak Walton Killam Health Centre foyer is an island of magic, a multi-level, beautifully detailed and appointed model railway world. Two volunteer engineers are making sure the trains run on time and point out special features to the kids.
Perched atop a tunnel is a small playground with swings, teeter-totters and a roundabout. All the equipment is in use and there’s a cute touch too – one of the teeter-totters has a boy and a dog paired up.
Nellie is drinking it all in and cries out, “Hey papa, I see some more trains. I see Thomas!” Moments later, a trainload of Smurfs zooms by in all their bluey blueness. This is not your run of the mill railway system.
What delights me most is that these minutely crafted pieces of playgroundabilia move as if by magic with the push of a black button.
Now who knows, it’s conjecture after all, but if there had been playgrounds in Gulliver’s Lilliput just maybe there would have been less conflict between the Lilliputians and their island neighbours in Blefuscu, less bluster and bravado.
Nellie and I decide that we will return for a more leisurely viewing of the model railroad. On the next trip we’ll bring Noah and Lila so they can revel in the magic of miniature landscapes, machines and people. I’m sure there will be some quality oohing and aahing from all three kids. Many thanks to the volunteers at the hospital for this ray of sunshine.
For Halifax readers/visitors
Officially opened in October 2000, the Model Railway brings the world of transportation alive to all who visit the IWK. Located on the first floor, near the South Street entrance, Children’s Site, this Model Railway is run by volunteers from The Model Railway Association, Monday through Friday, 9 am – 11 am and Tuesday evenings 7 – 9 pm. Funded by the IWK Auxiliary and the CN Railway, this project is always changing with new style layouts, engines and interactive buttons. Be sure to drop by! (Source: IWK Health Centre Great Spots to Visit)