Windsor man’s Legoland dream shattered when he was denied entry
Published Tuesday, July 9, 2013 5:07PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 10, 2013 2:08PM EDT
A 63-year-old Windsor man's long-time dream of visiting a Legoland Discovery Centre was shattered over the weekend.
After travelling nearly four hours to the centre near Toronto, John St-Onge says he was turned away at the front entrance because he didn't have a child with him. The incident has left him feeling embarrassed and discriminated against.
“It's an awful feeling to have that done,” says St-Onge. “I was kind of left out, feeling like 'what the heck' about it. Why am I being discriminated? Why, what are their reasons?"
The self-described “Lego fanatic” introduced his kids to Lego 28 years ago and every year since he's added to their collection.
As his kids grew up and found other things to do, he kept with it, rebuilding each of their Lego sets and adding to his as well.
His set depicting the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars has about 5,000 pieces and took him about three months to build. Overall, St-Onge now has 72 sets or 50,000 pieces of Lego.
“I'm a Lego fanatic," he says.
He's always wanted to visit Lego headquarters in Denmark, but due to health problems, including cancer, he says it hasn't been possible. After picking up a flyer for the Vaughan Mills location, he and his daughter Nicole decided to make that trip happen. But he says it didn't go as planned.
“We got turned around at the door," says St-Onge.
The reason - no adults are permitted into Legoland without a child.
“We asked to speak to a manager, didn't get us the manager and they said, ‘it’s our policy, nothing we can do,’”says Nicole St-Onge. “We put heads down and walked off.”
The rule is listed on the Vaughan Mills Legoland website, though not on the home page. It also applies to all Legoland locations.
John St-Onge admits he's not tech savvy and didn't check the website ahead of time. His daughter says she had a hard time finding it, after they got home. They also point out the rule isn't stated anywhere on the flyer.
“I've never seen my dad walk out of a Lego store not purchasing something,” says Nicole St-Onge. “That was a little sad."
Lara Hannaford, marketing manager at the Vaughan Mills Legoland, told CTVNews.ca it is unfortunate that John left disappointed and wasn't able to speak with a manager.
Ideally, Hannaford said she would have met John at the door and brought him through the centre as her guest.
However, she defended the policy that requires adults to be accompanied by children, saying "it is a child attraction so we do have this in place to protect the families and children that visit."
Hannaford pointed out that Legoland does have adults-only nights once a month, for grown-up fans of the iconic building blocks. She also said the rules are posted at the location, and are in fact on the flyer as well.
While St-Onge understands the reasons for such a rule, he's still disappointed. His daughter says the company should recognize Lego is for the young and young at heart.
“Lego is for all ages, for everyone. To turn away the biggest fans at the door who travelled.. I was shocked, then a little embarrassed. Sometimes rules are made to be broken,” says Nicole St-Onge.
With files from CTVNews.ca
Self-proclaimed "Lego fanatic" John St-Onge poses with his set depicting the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (Sacha Long / CTV Windsor)
Self-proclaimed "Lego fanatic" John St-Onge shows some of his work in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday, July 9, 2013. (Sacha Long / CTV Windsor)
If you are on the scene of breaking news and capture it with your mobile device, share your pictures or video with MyNews.