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Mysterious 'gnome home' inspires community to make B.C. park magical

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VIEW ROYAL, B.C. -

After four decades of living next to a dog park, Pat says what happened to the tree stump was a first.

“We wondered what happened,” she says.

All the people here this day were wondering who turned a stump into a 'gnome home.'

“Who knows?” one woman laughed. “Maybe it was a gnome.”

Perhaps. But it was definitely — all the dog walkers at the park today said — “a mystery.”

A mystery until now.

“I was thinking I got to do something with that stump,” Carmell Nesbitt recalls thinking.

She, and her husband Tony, could see the dying tree from her living room window, before it was cut to a stump, and remained untouched for months.

“It was kind of bothering me that it was there,” Carmell says more than half a dozen stumps had been left in the park.

“I just wanted to make something happy with it,” Carmell says. “And see what would happen.”

So she asked Tony if he could make a miniature roof and some tiny windows.

“It wasn’t something I wanted to do,” Tony says. “But I did it.”

He did it, because the couple credits 45 years of being happily married with always find fun things to do together.

“We try to make each other laugh every day,” Carmell smiles.

And perhaps — if they secretly constructed a gnome home in the park at night — they could have a coffee in their living room and see people smile from afar every morning.

And they did. Tony says dozens of people of all ages would congregate around their creation.

“And I thought, ‘Well, I guess it wasn’t such a bad idea,” Tony smiles.

Then Carmell came up with an even better idea — decorate the home for Halloween, Christmas, and now Valentine’s Day. She never imaged her gnome home would spark a gnome village.

“I think good deeds perpetuate themselves,” Alli Jones recalls being excited when she first saw the gnome home and then inspired.

She and her husband Jason Tucker made one of the sad stumps smile, by attaching eyes, nose and a grinning mouth to it.

Their neighbour's children, Norah and Laurel Whiteside, united for a magical makeover, adding bright decorations and whimsical characters to another stump.

Other members of the community added creative touches to more stumps, and now almost every tree that was chopped had been transformed with some sort of cheer.

“It puts a smile on your face,” a regular dog walker says.

“I think it’s really nice for the neighbourhood,” another smiles.

“It reminds me of my childhood,” a senior laughs. “[Happy] stories about elves and fairies!”

And now it’s no mystery, that Carmell’s reminded this community that no matter what happens, you can always find a way to make it feel like there’s no place like gnome.

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