British Columbia

62,000 Lego bricks over 525 hours: A bellman's unique love letter to his hotel

Glenn Waddingham, who has worked as a bellman at Chateau Victoria Hotel for nearly three decades, took on an ambitious project to recreate the hotel using over 62,000 Lego bricks and figurines while he was out of work during the pandemic.

Glenn Waddingham's detailed model of the Chateau Victoria Hotel includes staff, guests

The facade of the Chateau Victoria Hotel. Glenn Waddingham, who has worked at the hotel for nearly 30 years, recreated it using more than 62,000 Lego bricks and figurines. It's now on display at the real hotel's lobby. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

When Victoria hotel bellman Glenn Waddingham was out of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, he decided to create a massive and detailed Lego model to the show how much he loves his work — and workplace.

After nearly three decades of service, he found himself with a lot of time on his hands early in the pandemic when travel restrictions emptied hotels across the world in 2020. So Waddingham recreated the downtown Chateau Victoria Hotel with more than 62,000 Lego bricks and figurines — including managers, kids with ice cream cones and a seagull on the roof

It took him a total of 525 hours, working on it even as the hotel returned to normal. When he completed the project last month, the hotel's general manager agreed to display it in a glass case in the lobby where it's been since June 8.

He says he initially thought the project was too ambitious: "I can't build the hotel — it's a big building," he said. "Then one day I thought, 'why not?' "

Glenn Waddingham spent more than 500 hours recreating the Chateau Victoria Hotel using Lego. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Waddingham spent eight hours a day recreating hotel scenes — including managers talking to staff, guests sunbathing on balconies and a mom pushing a luggage cart with her young daughter sitting on it.

But his favourite piece is a bent stop sign in front of the hotel, something his colleagues have often joked about.

"Our real stop sign gets run over every week or every two weeks," he said.

Waddingham says his coworkers often joke about the stop sign located near the hotel, which is run over by cars from time to time. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

Surprise to colleagues and guests

Marketing manager Chantelle Dean says many hotel employees didn't know about Waddingham's Lego project until he brought it to the hotel.

"It was quite a surprise for us to see it all in the end and discover it in its final stages," she said.

Dean says guests really enjoy exploring the hotel in an intimate way by looking at the scenes recreated in Waddingham's work — and so does her 10-year-old daughter.

"She was quite impressed and perhaps inspired to create something similar on her own," she said.

The real Chateau Victoria Hotel in downtown Victoria. (Chateau Victoria Hotel)

Waddingham says he loves not telling guests he's the creator of the Lego model and listening to what they say about it.

"It's fun just hearing people discover all of it by themselves." 

WATCH | Glenn Waddingham surprises guests and coworkers with a Lego model of Chateau Victoria Hotel:

Victoria bellman recreates hotel with Lego bricks and figurines

3 months ago
Duration 2:14
Glenn Waddingham spent over 500 hours building a replica of Chateau Victoria.

With files from Mike McArthur

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