Griffintown's tiny train enthusiast seeks new home for turn of the century English landscape
Published Sunday, January 13, 2019 2:02PM EST
Last Updated Monday, January 14, 2019 7:58AM EST
Joseph Swift has been building his own world for over three decades in a Griffintown basement.
Once his lifelong passion, Swift says he’s ready to part with it. Problem is, he’s having trouble finding a new home for the expansive miniature train set.
The landscape is supposed to be a slice of 1901 England - complete with three villages connected by two trains – based partly on real homes overseas.
The set in its entirety was dubbed "Bumble Bay" by its creator.
Everything within the set was constructed with incredible precision: tiny fake meat hanging in the butcher’s window, miniscule figurines, and brick-by-brick recreations of homes.
Swift's even maintained a complete census of the multiple villages that make up the train set - 990 "residents" live there, and 108 transients are just passing through.
“There have been many days he just disappeared into the basement,” Christina Gideon, Swift’s wife, explained. “Everybody who comes down here just can’t imagine the detail, and they spend hours standing and looking.”
As Swift gets older, however, he’s compelled to move the precious collection out of the basement and into the public eye.
“I don’t have a bucket list, I don’t care about jumping out of airplanes or anything like that – I wanted people to see this,” he said.
After 30 years of building up this collection, Swift says he wants to pass it on to the next generation.
“I emailed the Children’s Hospital thinking maybe they had room for it somewhere, but they’re not that interested because the kids aren’t that interested,” he said. “They want video games, they don’t want railroads.”
He’s hoping a museum or model train club will take on what he calls “his legacy.”
“That’s everything I want to be remembered for,” Swift added.