Fairytale tree enchants Brampton neighborhood
Billy Watterson shows off the Haywoods Hollow, the tiny fairytale cottage he carved from a tree stump in front of his Brampton home.
Joshua Freeman, CP24.com
Published Tuesday, August 15, 2017 2:52PM EDT
If you’re walking down a quiet street in Brampton and you feel like you’ve accidentally wandered into a fairytale land, you may just be outside the home of Billy Waterson.
Watterson is the soft-spoken architect of a fairytale tree – dubbed Haywoods Hollow – that has recently enchanted neighbours and passersby.
Watterson’s history with the tree started about 12 years ago, when he carved a face out of knobby part of a Silver Maple that formed part of his fence and named the wooden bearded face “Mr. Dale,” after the Dale family who built the house in 1941.
Weathered by time and an ice storm, part of the Silver Maple had to be removed after it became unstable. However Waterson had an idea to save the stump.
“When the tree rotted out, I wanted to keep the face, so I started carving the house and it sort of took over,” he told CTV News Toronto. “I had my ideas. I made up pictures in my head of what I think it’s going to look like. It’s a little bit more elaborate than I expected.”
Now complete, the former stump resembles a miniature cottage that one could be easily mistaken for the home of a fairytale character. In addition to the bearded face from 12 years ago, it features a red doorway, roof with shingles, little windows, a light and a mailbox.
While Watterson built the little fairytale cottage, it has become something of a community project, with one neighbor contributing a door knocker, another offering little window shutters.
There was even a contest recently to name the little magic cottage.
“We got over 40 emails with different names,” Watterson said. “We got everything from Mr. Donald Stump to Old Man Winkley’s House.”
“Haywoods Hollow” eventually won out as the official name for the little cottage at number 17 ½.
Watterson said it took him about two months to transform the old stump and his neighbours watched the process with curiosity.
“It’s a community thing,” he says. “The people coming along, you see their smiles, and you see the children getting their pictures taken and it’s just been a great pleasure to watch people enjoying it.
“I didn’t expect to get this sort of attention but it has taken off, it’s taken a life of its own.”
In addition to adding a little joy to the neigbourhood, Watterson said he’s happy he was able to save the stump for another reason.
“I wanted to remember that it was there and acknowledge that the tree has actually been here longer than I have,” he said. “I think it’s a nice way to memorialize the tree by making it into something special, into something the community thinks is special.”
While his wife tells him that she’d like to see him turn similar attention to their actual house, he says she’s nevertheless on board as well.
“My wife wants to decorate it at Christmas and Halloween and the like and she’ll have fun with that and hopefully so will the community.”