Gnome Homes can be found at the base of several trees in Neck Point Park as well as along the Yew Loop walking trail in the Morrell Nature Sanctuary on Vancouver Island in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. Signs on the trail request hiker to neither damage nor disturb the residents of these tiny forest homes.
So how did the gnomes set up a colony at Morrell Nature Sanctuary and the surrounding regions of Neck Point Park and Cathedral Grove Park?
Well, according to Charles Pickard, a retired engineering project manager and nature artist/craftsman, years ago 15 male gnomes from a clan in England’s Black Country, arrived in Nanaimo in 1854 as stowaways aboard the Princess Royal.
Years later, the reclusive, nocturnal inhabitants of these local Gnome colonies contacted Pickard to build new entrances to their dwellings in the woods because many of their original homes had fallen into disrepair. And those new entrances are what visitors to the area are seeing.
In Europe, gnomes build their homes with twigs, moss and pebbles. Pickard, however, uses cedar wood from a local mill operator to fashion wooden frames and doors for the entrances of the Canadian gnome homes. Pickard learned about gnome lore when he worked overseas and a friend gave him a book about the 1,000 year history of gnomes in Europe.
One of the Gnome doors built by Pickard bares the message: “Give a Little, Take a Little.” The message encourages visitors hiking the nature trails to open the door and take or leave offerings, such as coins, shells, little action figurines, buttons or whatever one might think the gnomes would like.
During the Christmas season, the gnome doors are decorated with the appropriate seasonal fittings.
Visitors seeking to buy gnome doors to install on their own property can purchase them from Charlie Pickard’s website.
c/o Charlie Pickard
Morrell Nature Sanctuary
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada