Santa’s Heart of Glass

Occasionally Santa’s elves need help from artists and makers in the neighbouring community. Such was the case at Santa’s Village in Bracebridge in October 2020. Handsome double doors for the renovated gift shop needed the expertise of a stained-glass artist to fill a single glass panel in each door and a transom window holding three panels above. Santa’s helpers simply did not have the expertise to handle the task. 

Knowing of the work of Washago artist Maureen Haines, the park’s management reached out to her with a request. Would she be interested in designing and creating inserts for the doors?

“I felt the whole process would be daunting as I’d never taken on a commercial job of this size and scope, but I embraced the challenge,” Haines says. She received the architectural specifications and worked up sketches based on a North Pole theme. After sharing a few variations and making modifications, everyone agreed on the final design.

“As I worked on the panels, I became more comfortable with the work, until I ran into supply issues due to COVID.” Haines had trouble sourcing the glass bevels and colours she needed online. Then, at the end of January 2021, she ran out of the blue glass for the sky. “I became increasingly anxious about completing my portion of the project before the custom-made doors arrived from the United States. At one point, even the doors were held up at the border.” After waiting more than three weeks for delivery of the needed glass, she decided she needed to go directly to the supplier in Georgetown to pick up the final supplies. By May 13, Barrie Glass and Mirror received the completed panels to be thermal-paned. This process took close to three weeks. Finally on May 31, the panels arrived at Santa’s Village and were installed the same day, just in time for the official opening on June 11.

The images for the transom window show Santa and his sleigh flying away from his north pole home towards the moon in a brilliant, ultramarine sky, with verdant green pine trees filling the door panels. Haines captured the key details of Santa and the North Pole. She included all the reindeer, Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen and, of course, Rudolph, with his glowing red nose in the lead.

Maureen Haines unveils her works of stained glass at Santa’s Village.

When asked how she felt seeing the doors installed, Haines said: “I was amazed. I’d met the challenge and was happy and relieved that the owners were pleased.”

It’s rumoured even the workshop elves love the windows!

Haines’ stained glass designs are available for purchase a Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery, 95 Muskoka Road, Bracebridge and Arts of the Albion, 100 Muskoka Road North, Gravenhurst. For more custom and repair work, contact Maureen directly at Log Cabin Glass Studio, 3281 Green River Drive, Washago. Phone: 705-330-2556 Email:

About the Author: Muskoka writer and visual artist Wendie Donabie paints pictures with words and flavours her creations  with alliteration, similes and metaphors. When words won’t do the job, she turns to her easel and paints what stirs her heart and soul – most often her love of the natural world. Wendie has published work in magazines and in poetry and literary collections. At this time, she is working on a murder mystery set in a forested resort area somewhere in North America. Wendie is co-founder of Muskoka Authors Association, operates Heron’s Nest Studio Gallery and is one of the organizers of  ARTrail Muskoka. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram and

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