How to Find a Fairy House
Keen eyes can spot a variety of fairy abodes secreted along the pathways in Palgrave and Dufferin Forests.
Looking for something magical to do with the young ones? Why not take a walk in the forest?
If you look closely, you might spot evidence of the fairies who inhabit our woodlands. Perhaps a little door set into a tree trunk, or a tiny house tucked into roots or perched on a stump.
Carol Southcombe saw her first fairy house last summer while rambling in the Palgrave Forest. When she showed her discovery to her two grandsons, their reactions didn’t disappoint. Jaxson, 8, imagined the tiny occupant of the house with vines around her body and a stick to hold up her hair. The wings on five-year-old Nathan’s magical fairy, also a girl, enabled her to fly.
The experience inspired Carol to build her own fairy house. “I was fortunate that my grandkids intuitively believed that humans had created the little houses to help the fairies along,” she says. “I know some kids believe the fairies create their own houses. It would have been very sad if I had been the one to shatter their illusions.”
With the approval of her grandchildren and Lynn Sinclair-Smith, who runs the Friendship Gardens at Headwaters Health Care Centre, Carol tucked her fairy house beside a shrub near the pediatric wing.
The Palgrave Forest is managed by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, and senior manager Doug Miller has given his blessing to the little houses – provided people respect the forests and don’t damage the trees or create safety issues. “If the thought of running into a fairy house while on a hike in the forest will get kids away from their computers and into the forests, I’m cool with it,” he says.
Deborah Robinson, a community mental health counsellor at Caledon’s Peace Ranch, a nonprofit mental health agency, says she and the fairies have been friends for a long time.
“Fairy mythology differs from culture to culture,” says Deb. “In North America, we seem to subscribe to the Disney version of fairy mythology, but my Scottish-English background enables me to explore a deeper connection to the fairy world.”
And Deb walks the walk. Tucked into a circle of large pines at Peace Ranch is a fairy-sized village created and tended by participants in the centre’s art program.
Deb is sure fairies are quite capable of creating their own homes, but she also believes they are delighted to find one waiting for them to inhabit. “A little magic and a sprinkling of fairy dust helps to find a smile,” she says.