Glenn Waddingham populated his Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites model with everything from swimmers in the pool and guests on balconies to a co-worker walking to work with her signature super-sized drink

Making a realistic replica of the Chateau Victoria Hotel and Suites out of 62,000 Lego pieces is impressive in its own right.

But what truly sets Glenn Waddingham’s creation apart is the real people depicted at the heart of the Burdett Avenue hotel.

Waddingham, the hotel’s 52-year-old bellperson, populated the hotel with everything from guests on balconies and swimmers in the pool to someone making a marriage proposal, a window cleaner dangling off the side of the building and even a co-worker walking to work with her signature super-sized drink in hand.

It’s an homage to the people he works with, but the jewel in the crown, for him personally, was depicting his birth parents relaxing on the balcony of room 1602 — the best room of the hotel.

Waddingham, who was adopted, said when he reconnected with his birth parents, he invited them to stay at the hotel, where he first started working in 1991.

Now his parents, represented by two reclining mini figures side by side on a balcony, are long-term guests at the Lego hotel, which sits in a place of honour in the real hotel’s lobby.

Waddingham spent a year and a half of his spare time researching, measuring, taking pictures and building the intricate scale model.

A lifelong fan of Lego, Waddingham has a room full of bricks of all sizes and colours. What he doesn’t have, he buys from a company that claims to be the world’s largest online marketplace for Lego parts and mini figures.

It’s the go-to place should a builder need to acquire, for example, 10 million one-by-four Lego bricks or tiles for a project, or to buy or sell out-of-production pieces.

His project started small, with the construction of one level of the main hotel, but soon, he was consumed with what he calls his passion project.

“The building is architecturally very simple,” said Waddingham. “It’s all about understanding the pillars that hold up the building. Once I got the number of pillars right, the rest was easy.”

He would spend hours constructing the various sections of the hotel while listening to the radio.

While most people are familiar with Lego’s pre-designed offerings — a replica of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars or the Batmobile, for example — Waddingham’s approach is old school: he prefers to create his own intricate designs “true to the spirit of Lego.”

As the building took shape, he turned to the finer details. He spent a couple of weeks just on the fountain in front of the hotel, recreating a bronze sculpture of the building’s late owner sitting on the ledge with his dog, with his wife looking on.

The standard Lego head has a smiling face, said Waddingham, but he wanted something different. “I wanted to find one — one with a pair of glasses — that looked like her. I went through 200 different heads to find the one I wanted,” he said. He also managed to find a dog that closely represented the one in the real sculpture.

The five-globe street lamp that sits in front of the real hotel was another mini-project that involved creativity and the repurposing of available pieces in ways for which they were never intended.

No detail is left out: At the front of the model, there is a bent-over stop sign. According to Waddingham, the real sign is a constant casualty of errant motorists.

He said a Rogers Communications representative was impressed that Waddingham portrayed the company’s most recent 5G cellular tower antenna on the roof accurately, right down to the colour.

Even the colours of the motors for the hotel’s elevators — and the uniform of the maintenance person servicing them — are correct.

Look on the roof and you will see Waddingham himself with a camera — a nod to all the time he spent taking pictures of different details of the hotel, about 1,100 in all.

Asked if he would accept a commission to construct another building, Waddingham demurred.

“This has been my passion project. It would be cost-prohibitive, I think, for anyone to pay me $20,000 or so to do something of this scale,” he said.

As he worked on the project, he shared progress reports with only one co-worker. His employers were surprised and delighted when he finally unveiled the finished product to them.

Mark Paul, director of sales and marketing for the hotel, called the project heartfelt and said it speaks to the personality of the hotel and those who work there. “It has really resonated with the public ever since we gave it pride of place in the lobby. It’s a good feeling.”

[email protected]

>>> To comment on this article, write a letter to the editor: [email protected]

Related Posts