When Nicholas Desjardins visits his local Home Depot store before Halloween, he walks straight past the seasonal décor aisle and stops in the hardware section to pick up nails for his pneumatic nail gun. He’s not interested in any of the inflatable Halloween lawn decorations for sale; he has a different vision for his property.
In his mind’s eye, he sees a dragon. A really big one.
Nick lives at the corner of Peterson Court and Baycrest Road in Heart Lake. For the past three years, he has been building a massive dragon feature which the neighbours eagerly anticipate every year. “I love it.” says local resident Liz Sable, “I look forward to it. It’s neat to see something growing like that and knowing its from somebody’s imagination.”
Nick admits some people are not as enthusiastic about the creation as he is. City officials, responding to a complaint, have appeared at the home to inspect the dragon; “The City came yesterday.. Somebody did call,” he says. “They were impressed. They came by to look at the structure to see if it was well built, and when they left they said ‘Have a Happy Halloween.’ ”
The dragon is built of wood harvested from shipping pallets and two-by-fours reaching over twelve feet high. The pieces are arranged in a complex geometry that builds out the shape of the fabulous creature with details added for great effect. The construction, Nick assures, is completely safe and self-supporting. “I’m a builder and an engineer. There’s no blueprint whatsoever. It’s all in my head. It’s art.”
The dragon is designed to be lit at night, and Nick says that he will leave it up for a few more days so that residents can pass by and enjoy it. “I do this for the kids; they love it.”
If you do visit Nick’s dragon, please drop off a can of food or a non-perishable food item. All food received will be donated to the Heart Lake Community Food Cupboard.