Patricia didn’t see Santa on her trip. She didn’t go that far north. When she stopped the cameraman and me on the street, she had just returned from Iceland. She said the country has fascinated her since Grade five, when she did a school project on it. That’s when she discovered that 80 per cent of its population believes in fairies. Although she’s travelled to Iceland a few times, Patricia has never met a fairy. At least never met one there.
And that’s why she called to us as we were heading somewhere else – she wanted us to see her new neighbours. The three of us walked together under a canopy of oaks until we saw it. There, at the base of a tree – a little door. A red door, no higher than a hand, was built into the bottom of the tree. Its frame and awning were green. Its door knocker was a brass-like lion. Its handle seemed to be crafted from hand-painted porcelain. The newest residence on Pilot Street appeared to be built for fairies.
“I haven’t seen that door before,” proclaimed a woman wandering by, wondering why the videographer was kneeled on the ground pointing his camera at a tree. “I walk my dog by here all the time and I’ve never seen that door.”
We asked the full-sized man who lived across from the diminutive door if he knew anything. He shrugged.
And then we started asking people passing by if they had seen any fairies. Everybody answered yes. The woman with the dog said she sees them at night checking on her garden. A man who lives two houses down from the door said he and his wife know the fairies well.
“They’re great. Pleasant couple.” A woman driving by in an SUV described them as “sweet.” And the man raking leaves nearby said he was doing it for the fairies. “I’m cleaning them away from the gutter because their house is quite low down and we don’t want any flooding.”
The door may be new. But the creatures living on the other side of it are apparently not. We knocked on the door. Nobody answered.
The cameraman started taking pictures of the door, the gravel pathway leading up to it, and the surrounding garden. I wondered why the fairies had picked this short street in James Bay, and then noticed what book-ended it: at one end, the supernatural beauty of the ocean, at the other, the youthful exuberance of kids playing at school – and in between – adults filled with wonder.
Adam Sawatsky is co-host of CTV News Vancouver Island at Five. On weekends, he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.