'Part of my childhood': Magnetic Hill mementoes scooped up at auction
There was plenty of nostalgia — and a few deals — at Magnetic Hill on Saturday.
People from all over the Maritimes got a chance to bid on some unique items from Wharf Village, the cluster of brightly-coloured buildings at the entrance to Magnetic Hill Park.
About 400 items — from an ice-cream maker to a giant stuffed moose to a pirate statue — were up for auction after the City of Moncton decided not to renew the Murphy family's lease on the property.
"It's a very sad day after 30 years and a lot of energy, a lot of hard work for the staff, myself, and my dad especially," said John Murphy.
It was also a bittersweet day for many people who have visited the area for years.
"Our son and daughter-in-law are having a child this year and he or she is not going to get to see it," said Annie Lepage. "So we were walking around thinking, 'aw, we're not going to get to push a stroller on this wharf for the next generation.'"
Andy Quinlan scooped up a pirate statue that had sentimental meaning to him.
"I used to always come here in high school and we'd hang out on the boardwalk here and get beavertails and ice creams and stuff," he said. "So the pirate, it's part of my childhood I guess and glad it's going to a good home."
While there was plenty of emotion to go around, some people were there simply to find a bargain.
Fifteen-year-old budding entrepreneur Harrison Duffy came over from P.E.I. for an ice-cream maker, but left with a slushee machine.
"I'm hoping to open a dairy bar next summer in my community," he said. "Came over looking to buy an ice cream machine, but it went for five times what I expected it to go for."
Wharf Village was built on a wooden pier to look like a traditional Maritimes fishing village.
Originally consisting of nine shops and restaurants, the years had taken a toll on the installations, with winter damage to the structure becoming more evident in recent years, and forcing closure of a portion of the wharf because of safety concerns.
Last summer, only five souvenir shops and the restaurant were still operational, with the BeaverTails and fudge shops having closed down.
This year, Moncton city council voted not to renew the lease when it ends on April 30. The owners have until the end of June to pack up everything and go.