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Miniature fishing village hobby offers glimpse into the past

By Jaymie White

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

– with files from René J. Roy

ISLE AUX MORTS — When taking in the sights around Little Paradise Park, there is a little gem that, if you see it, you won’t soon forget.

Dorman Carroll, originally from Margaree, has spent the last few years constructing and collecting pieces for his miniature fishing village, nestled around a small pond.

“I said to my wife, five years ago, ‘I’m gonna put a little fishing village up on my land.’ She said, ‘Nah,’ and I said, ‘Yes I am.’ I started off with a smaller one and then last year I decided to make it bigger because I had more boats,” said Carroll.

The village hearkens back to a simpler time, exactly what Carroll wanted when he put it together.

“I went back in the old days, the old-fashioned stages. I had the boats. My sister, Mary, gave me three and I bought two,” said Carroll. “They (the sheds) are about 20 inches high. I’ve got two there, and I’ve got a little Carl’s Fish Plant.”

So far the village consists of seven buildings, six boats, and a large lighthouse, another gift to Carroll.

“My brother-in-law, Jim, my friend, he built that for me.”

Carroll said the idea to construct this village just came into his head one day as a sort of hobby, and since then it has continued to grow.

“I had a lot of people come taking pictures. I’ve been at it now for three or four years.”

Carroll doesn’t play poker, he doesn’t knit, and this is how he enjoys spending his free time.

“It costs a bit of money, but my own money. It’s just a hobby.”

Carroll doesn’t charge admission for people to come by and take a look, and he is more than happy for people to stop for a visit.

“If they want to come and take a picture, they can. At night it all lights up. I got it all with solar panels for the little lights.”

While he received many of the boats as gifts, Carroll constructed each of the buildings with his own two hands and he said each takes him about a day to complete.

“I do them up old fashioned, with little barn doors on them, and the little doors open on them.”

He also does all of the painting on the pieces, which is the hardest part because it’s so meticulous and there are so many fine details. Despite the difficulty, woodworking is something that Carroll has done all of his life.

“I was a carpenter with Clifford Sheaves Construction for 25 years.”

When the weather is bad, Carroll makes sure to pick up the village so it doesn’t get damaged.

“I got my boats put in my shed now, where I’m going to St. John’s and there is going to be a lot of rain. The water will build up,” said Carroll. “I take it all in and put it in my sheds in the winter. The platform and the rocks, I leave that all there.”

His wife enjoys the village as much as Carroll does.

“She loves it. She called me crazy for doing it, but she helped put a few lights out.”

Carroll said the majority of the people who come to see the village are people who already know it’s there, and there tend to be not many tourists dropping by simply because they may not know about it.

“I only put it on Facebook. When I get it done, I like to put it on Facebook, and when I put it up there, I get 50-odd comments.”

He doesn’t have current plans to expand his village again next year, but that could change if he gets more boats. Overall, Carroll estimates that the village cost him a couple of thousand dollars to complete, but he doesn’t regret it for a second.

“I enjoy it. I love it,” said Carroll.

He offered some directions for anyone who wants to visit his miniature fishing village.

“You see Little Paradise Park on your left? Well you take that right. You’ll see two steel poles, one on each side, and you take the first right, then you take the first left. If anyone wants to go out there, I’ve got a sign, Dorman and Alma’s. Just driving along you won’t see anything. There’s privacy in there.”

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