Brian Clarke has turned his childhood love of Legos into a holiday attraction.
Interlocking brick by interlocking brick, he’s built Christmas Lego villages neighbours, friends and sometimes strangers in Scarborough’s Birch Cliff area clamour to see.
Clarke started assembling villages in his mother Joan Clarke’s apartment living room when he was five years old, shortly after the plastic Danish brick sets were first sold in Canada.
This year is the 50th construction - each one has been different - to go on display in that same living room.
“Sometimes I have a plan, sometimes I wing it,” Clarke, 55, whose latest creation is an amusement park, said last week.
“Tucked away in the corner,” covering about three square feet, is a reconstruction of his 1963 village. “All they had back then was red and white. No doors and not much variety,” said Clarke, laughing.
These days, Legos come in 50 colours, and Clarke, who has tried acquiring what collections he can, figures he has 170,000 pieces.
Know those big boxes that can hold 20 packages of printer paper? Clarke’s legos can fill 27 of those.
He doesn’t favour “kits,” those Lego sets issued to recreate moments in Hollywood movies and such. It would be more fun, Clarke said, to build an elephant out of blocks even if came out looking like a donkey.
His annual creations are built in November and put away in January. “This is not my whole life,” he said.
Some of his villages have recreated real places, some haven’t.
Clarke’s 2005 layout paid tribute to the 100th anniversary of Toronto’s Santa Claus Parade. In 2009, he built a plastic Whistler, B.C. in honour of the Winter Olympic events about to take place there in 2010.
“If you hand me a picture of Casa Loma, I can build it,” Clarke said.