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Summerland senior constructs intricate Lego models

Chris van Haastregt’s love of Lego began 10 years ago and since then he has assembled numerous models

Chris van Haastregt has an elaborate Lego creation of the Disneyland castle, complete with Disney icons Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy Duck, on display in his room.

“It’s my best piece ever,” van Haastregt says of this Lego creation.

While Lego models may be commonplace, what makes this one unusual is that van Haastregt, 93, is a retiree and a resident at Summerland Seniors Village.

His love of Lego began 10 years ago, after his step-grandson was in a bad accident and suffered severe brain damage as a result. One visitor brought a small Lego helicopter kit, which van Haastregt and his step-grandson assembled.

“From that time, I got interested in Lego myself,” van Haastregt said. He has put together nine or 10 large Lego models since that time, including a merry-go-round, a ferris wheel, a truck, a tow truck and a model of Buckingham Palace.

His latest creation, a Disney castle with more than 2,000 pieces, was a Christmas gift from his family. He spent three weeks putting it together and it now sits on a small table in the living room of his suite.

Some of his creations have been on display in the lobby of the seniors village, but van Haastregt has concerns when people use their canes to point out the intricate details to each other.

As to why van Haastregt continues to build the creations, “you have to have something to do,” he said. “I’ve got to keep my brain working.”

Matt Lapointe, recreation director at Summerland Seniors Village, said in addition to the Lego creations, some residents at the care facility have hobbies such as train sets, a knitting club and more.

“The amount of talent is amazing,” he said.

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JOHN ARENDT LEGO CREATION Chris van Haastregt’s Lego model of the Disneyland castle has plenty of detail. The model has more than 2,000 pieces and took three weeks to assemble.
JOHN ARENDT FINISHING TOUCHES Chris van Haastregt puts the final pieces onto his Lego model. Over the past 10 years, van Haastregt has assembled nine or 10 Lego models and displays.

John Arendt

About the Author: John Arendt

John Arendt has worked as a journalist for more than 30 years. He has a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism degree from Ryerson Polytechnical Institute.
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