When four-year-old Jacob Baggott saw a photo of flames rising out of one of Heritage Acres’ buildings, he was horrified.
“Did everyone get out safe?” he asked his mom Ali Baggott. “Did Claude get out safe? Are the trains okay?”
Claude Jolivet is Jacob’s favourite conductor at the Saanichton acreage celebrating Vancouver Island heritage, and trains are his greatest passion.
“From a young age, he’s always had this desire to try and figure out how things work and trains have just been something that have fascinated him,” Ali said.
So, when the Gordon Head resident saw the damage that had been done to the place that housed these magical creations during the March 17 fire, he insisted that something had to be done. With his fifth birthday on Monday, he asked his mom if he could empty his piggy bank and give Heritage Acres all his birthday money.
|Jacob Baggott and Claude Jolivet at Heritage Acres. (Courtesy of Ali Baggott)|
Ali laughed, wondering where he came up with the idea that there was a bunch of birthday money sitting around, but suggested that Jacob’s friends could donate a toonie or five-dollar bill instead of getting him gifts this year.
She started a GoFundMe with the initial goal of raising $250, but within 24 hours they had already surpassed $1,000. As of Saturday morning, the total sits at $3,805.
Insurance should cover the cost of repairs, but Heritage Acres runs on donations and Ali said she knows it’s money they’ll use well regardless. The family attraction has been closed during the pandemic.
“This is also a nod to them about how many families over the last decades they have touched,” Ali said. She remembers attending Jolivet’s daughter’s fourth birthday party there. “I thought it would be really cool for them to see how many people in the community value them.”
Ali kept the GoFundMe open until Jacob’s birthday on March 22 with plans to deliver the donation to Jolivet later in the week.