Urban renewal is on the agenda for a miniature metropolis on the Sunshine Coast.
The Lego city painstakingly constructed by Madeira Park resident Chriistine Nash over six years will be demolished in September. Nash, who welcomes visitors by appointment to her sprawling indoor layout, announced two weeks ago that her brickwork buildings will be reduced to rubble at summer’s end.
Once Nash finds a larger facility to house her collection, she will reconstruct the skyscrapers, bustling waterfront, and spaceport from scratch.
“I’ve ordered about six of those GoPro cameras,” Nash said, “and I’m going to set those up in different places. And then I’m going to fire tennis balls at the buildings. I’m going to destroy the whole thing and then put [the footage] on YouTube.”
Nash suffered a workplace accident seven years ago that required major reconstructive surgery. During her treatment and recovery, she recollected a hobby from her U.K. childhood.
“Lego became a labour of love,” she said. “It actually became my therapy. Once I got out of hospital I was in a wheelchair for two years and I had to learn how to walk again. I started buying Lego, and made a few single-story buildings.”
By purchasing kits and secondhand bins of assorted components, Nash’s collection quickly grew to an estimated five million bricks. Her creative focus is on metropolitan features. “I only collect city Lego, basically,” she said. “So all the other stuff I get, like Star Wars kits, I just give away to kids.”
Within Nash’s city limits are reproductions of Vancouver’s City Hall and its waterfront grain terminals. As a tribute to the perennial prank played by engineering undergraduates at the University of British Columbia, a Volkswagen Beetle dangles from a bridge span.
Civic landmarks from other cities — real and imaginary — appear among the cluster of structures housed in an outbuilding at Nash’s home. Distinctive Danish architecture and the Ghostbusters fire station are situated in view of London’s Tower Bridge. A fairground and functioning Ferris wheel appear inches from a Harbour Air float plane, bobbing at its plastic berth.
Nash is currently working on a replica of the International Space Station, affixing solar panels to a Lego truss as wide as her outstretched arms. The Saturn V rocket looms nearby.
“Lego basically saved my life,” said Nash. “Otherwise, I don’t think I’d probably be here. I’ve been in some very dark places. But seeing kids’ faces when they come in here, I just love that — they bring so much joy.”
Nash previously volunteered to lead Lego construction programs for children at the Sechelt Public Library. Before the COVID-19 pandemic she was preparing school outreach programs and planning to work with seniors, using small-scale construction projects to improve their dexterity.
Half of the monetary donations Nash collects from visitors are contributed to the SPCA, Food Bank, and fire rescue departments. The remainder is invested in expanding her collection. Between 50 to 100 people visit each month, most frequently during the Easter holiday, and Nash is often contacted by other Lego enthusiasts looking for obscure bricks or figurines.
Prior to the mid-September demolition, viewings of Chriistine’s Lego City can be arranged by contact Nash via Facebook Messenger (“Lego Chriistine”) or by emailing email@example.com. Watch a video preview of Nash’s collection by visiting the @coastreporter account on Instagram.