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Retired P.E.I. farmer recreates local community in basement-sized model

Retired P.E.I. farmer recreates local community in basement-sized model

Peter Bulger estimates he’s invested 250 hours into the project

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

A retired dairy farmer from Prince Edward Island has scaled his local farm community down small enough to fit into his basement.

Peter Bulger estimates he’s put about 250 hours into replicating Foxley River, P.E.I. The display includes roads, buildings and the dairy farm he owned from 1975 until his retirement in 2014.

Bulger’s father and grandfather owned the dairy farm before him. The barn was the first building he constructed in the model.

“I was there for my whole childhood and into my 60s,” he told today. “It brought back a lot of good memories to build the farm.”

The idea to start the project came to him after attending toy railroad conferences.

“I loved the displays they had with their villages and trains going through,” the 62-year-old told today. “But we never had a railroad in this community, so I wanted to do something that reflected where I live.”

The model community sits on five sheets of plywood, which spans about 160 square feet, he said. The plywood is painted blue, green and brown to simulate the town’s rivers, fields and roads.

A model of Peter Bulger's family farm
Photo: Pat Martel/CBC

The miniature farm community also includes 65 cows, two silos, a manure spreader filled with chocolate chips and various pieces of equipment, which gave Bulger a chance to play with some of his childhood toys.

“It was nice to bring out some of the toys I had as a child,” he said. “Many of the others I bought online.”

And attention to detail is one of Bulger’s strengths when it comes to his farm

He lives about a kilometre away from his former home farm, so when he notices activity on the farm or within the community, he makes sure the mini community follows suit.

“I sold the farm to a couple from Nova Scotia and I talk to them pretty regularly about what’s going on at the farm,” he said. “There’s an old-fashioned culvert being replaced in front of my house, so there’s a toy backhoe and things like that on the model.”

With the model community as big as it is, Bulger doesn’t see him acquiring any other “parcels” of land.

“I can always add detail to it, but if it got any bigger I’d have to buy a bigger house,” he said.

Top photo: Peter Bulger
Photo: Pat Martel/CBC

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