By Tristan Marks
No need to book a flight to Paris, France. A Grimsby man is building the iconic Notre Dame Cathedral right here in town brick by brick.
Lego brick by Lego brick, that is. Jaimie Roser, owner and purveyor of Grimsby’s Brick Shack, a store for all things Lego, is putting his skills to the test building a scale model of the cathedral out of a 63,000 brick kit.
As of the time of writing, Roser has just about finished the front of the set, which he said weighs 78 lbs. on its own. That was just by the end of the first booklet of instructions for the massive undertaking, which was about 350 pages long. This was only the first booklet of ten.
He explained the reason for buying this monumental set in particular came from him and his wife’s love of travelling.
“We’ve actually been there [to the Cathedral],” said Roser. “One day I saw an instructions set on sale by an Italian fellow and I thought it would be a great display for the store.”
The Brick Shack recently finished renovating and expanding its storefront, which is a good thing because Roser is going to need that space for this project.
The Notre Dame will join a number of other Lego sets on display throughout the shop- some which came with instructions and some created by visitors using an assortment of bricks in the store’s Brick Bar.
“We have our Brick Bar here for what we in the hobby call ‘mocs’- ‘make your own creations’,” Roser said.
This Brick Bar is one of the attractions that draws people from around Ontario to the Brick Shack. Kids and adults alike can use the assortment of Lego bricks to design and build what they want, or even purchase what they need from it for their home projects.
“People spend hours at the Brick Bar,” Roser said
Of course, with a lot of hands potentially going into the bar, the store has some extra policies to keep itself COVID-safe. Firstly, Roser makes sure to sanitize every new load of bricks he buys for the store.
“I have a washing machine at home that’s just for bricks,” he explained. “I run them through and sanitize them before I bring them to the shop.”
Additionally, Roser requires that any customer who wants to make use of the Brick Bar wear safety gloves, which he provides.
Roser also keeps the Brick Shack stocked with discontinued sets, which also draws a lot of adult collectors. In fact, most of his customers- as many as 80 per cent- are adults looking to collect the rare, the discontinued and the vintage. Many of those adults who come in display the same glee and look of wonder that kids do.
It is for this reason Roser decided to take on the Notre Dame Lego project.
“I want to show people that Lego isn’t just for kids,” Roser said.