Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village
Cullen Gardens & Miniature Village was a popular tourist attraction in Whitby, Ontario, Canada. Officially opened in May 1980 by founder Len Cullen and his wife, Connie, the Gardens were a major tourist attraction in Whitby for 25 years.
Features and attractions
Cullen Gardens combined the natural beauty of floral displays and gardens, along with a unique southern Ontario-themed miniature village. The miniature village included many houses and trains that would travel around and between the houses. Other features included radio-controlled miniature boats. It was an entertaining attraction for both children and adults. In 1983 the Miniature Village served as the filming location for an episode of the Canadian television series The Littlest Hobo, entitled "Small Pleasures" (season 4, episode 16).
Festival of Lights
During the Winter holiday season, Cullen Gardens was host to the Festival of Lights, which featured huge displays of Christmas lights throughout the grounds, often decorating large topiaries.
Closure and redevelopment
On 1 January 2006, Cullen Gardens and Miniature Village closed. The land, however, has since been purchased by the Town of Whitby, to remain in the public domain as a municipal park. There has been speculation that the property may link up with the Heber Downs conservation area. At the time of its closure, the park was co-owned by Sue Cullen-Green and Bryan Green.
The miniature Village no longer exists at the site and the model buildings were sold to the nearby City of Oshawa for $234,000. Oshawa later put them up for sale again rather than opening an attraction of its own, citing budgetary austerity. The golf course formerly attached to Cullen Gardens continues to operate.
In November 2011, the Town entered into a purchase and sale agreement with Auberge et Spa Le Nordik Inc. of Chelsea, Quebec. Le Nordik bought the main building and 3 hectares of land. They intend to use the main building and outdoor area to build a year round heat therapy spa with two restaurants, a retail boutique and a small conference area. The remaining land was designated as open space and parkland, known as Cullen Central Park. The deal closed in 2013 and the spa was supposed to open in 2015.
- MarkCullen.com: Cullen Gardens Archived January 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Oshawa will sell miniature village" October 17, 2007. TheStar.com - Toronto Edition, Retrieved July 15, 2008.
- "Niagara Parks Commission Floral Showhouse". Niagarafrontier.com. May 3, 2014. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
- "Cullen revival imminent with Whitby spa development" June 27, 2013. As of September 2014, a park dedicated to fallen Canadian soldiers is now being constructed in Cullen Gardens. It was supposed to be done by November 2014. Whitby This Week, Retrieved August 15, 2013.
- Another paradise lost
- Conversation with Cullen Gardens Area Master Plan Coordinator, City of Whitby, July 15, 2008.
- Friends of Cullen Central Park
- Oshawa will sell miniature village October 17, 2007. Retrieved July 15, 2008
- Town of Whitby Purchase of Cullen Gardens Property