The miniature surprise one long-time customer was gifted for the holidays

When Joyce Paul was working three jobs as a single mother in the early 90s to support her nine children, convenience was of the utmost importance.  

That is why Paul decided to move her banking from a credit union to her local TD Canada Trust in St. Albert, Alberta, to take advantage of the branch's service hours so that she would be able to pay her bills on time. Soon after making the switch; however, Paul found a community she wasn't expecting. 

"The staff was always willing to walk an extra mile whenever I had an issue," she said. "They taught me how to do online banking, and how to use the automatic teller machine. They spent so much time talking to me and showing me things that they probably showed me ten times already, while being patient and never making me feel dumb." 

Since then, Paul's connection to and appreciation for TD has grown so much that her daughter, Tammi Fink, decided to work with TD to do something special for her incredible mom. Paul (who is now 80 and now a grandmother) has been collecting miniature holiday buildings over the last 22 years to create a magical holiday village, so Fink reached out to TD to help surprise her mother with a miniature TD branch of her own.  

A little community of her own 

From a post office and a hockey rink, to a merry-go-round, candy shop and more—Paul has collected an extremely intricate and detailed holiday village over the last two decades that mirrors a typical Canadian town, including the beloved spaces she holds dearest. But something was missing. 

While her collection started with a few buildings under her Christmas tree it has since grown to cover six wide shelves from floor to ceiling —but Paul was still missing a TD Canada Trust branch building similar to the one in her town. So Fink got in touch with TD's Marketing team at the bank's corporate headquarters in Toronto to design and present a miniature branch for her mother to enjoy.

"When the miniature branch was presented to my mom, she video-called me and I knew by the way she was speaking, how excited she was," says Fink. 

"It was just so amazing. It felt like everything had finally come together and it was special that the bank went out of their way to do something for my mom specifically. I knew what it would mean for her and for our family  to give our mom this joy."

The miniature branch was hand painted and modelled after one of the most historic and well-recognized TD locations, the original Bleury Street and St. Catherine Branch in Montreal, Quebec. After being presented to Paul a few weeks before Christmas, it's now located in a special spot in Paul's collection between a miniature Graceland and a police station.  

"When I first saw the miniature branch, I started to cry. I couldn't pick it up, I was scared I was going to drop it I was so excited," said Paul. "I've been looking for a bank miniature for my village for a long, long time."

Paul adds that her growing miniature village is something that also bonds her to her many grandchildren, as they order new pieces together online and set it up as a family each year. 

"When my children and grandchildren ask me what I want for a gift, I just say 'my village.' I don't need anything more than that and time with them," said Paul.