Hilda Walsh has a small city in her Toronto basement.
Partially blind, her husband Ivor worked for more than 20 years on a detailed, miniature replica of his favourite Boston streetcar line.
Now she is left wondering what to do with it.
Writer/director/producer: Naomi Hocura
I first saw Ivor’s miniature Boston trolley layout on a cellphone video that a real estate agent sent a colleague of mine. She was requesting a quote to take photos to help Hilda sell the layout, in anticipation of selling the house, and invited him to come by to see it in person. Needless to say, I went with him.
Blown away by Ivor’s layout, I ended up being even more charmed by Hilda’s stories and connection to the tiny buildings and people that filled her entire basement. I was curious about what it must have been like being so close to someone with a hobby as engrossing as Ivor’s. I could relate – my husband collects records – and Hilda and Ivor’s mutual support of each other’s passions was inspiring.
At the time, my mother was going through my grandfather’s possessions as an executor of his will and it was a concurrent theme in our conversations: what happens to all of these prized objects when we pass?
Through this film I wanted to explore the theme of memory and the objects that act as monuments when we’re gone. In this case that object happens to be an incredible piece of craftsmanship.
While Hilda ended up deciding not to sell her home at the time, the sale is imminent. The layout, while a vehicle for Ivor’s spirit, will be a large obstacle for Hilda when she moves onto the next chapter in her life.
I hope this film can act as a document of Ivor’s layout when it too is no longer here.
About Naomi Hocura
Naomi Hocura tells stories about hard-working people.
She has melded her background in creative writing and film studies, and her extensive travels and experience as a photography producer into a track toward one thing: documentary storytelling.
In 2015 she completed Tiny Tracks, her first short documentary, and is now in production on a project that explores gender and work, focusing on six people who work with their hands in unconventional careers.
Naomi lives in a red-brick schoolhouse in the country with her husband and daughter.