Little Canada, the popularity of miniaturization shows no signs of shrinking.
Miniature works have existed for far longer than you might realize. In Egypt, dollhouses with furnishings and scenes depicting people and livestock have been discovered as far back as 3000 BC.
Almost everyone has experienced some form of miniatures first hand. Think back to children playing with dress up dolls, assembling Lego blocks and rolling tiny Matchbox cars in backyards. Regardless of our physical size, everyone is drawn to things that are tiny and cute. Most of us know someone who collects things like thimbles and souvenir spoons and some people even collect toy soldiers and tiny Star Wars people. Small things somehow makes us feel at ease, by enabling us to see a big world on a small scale; one we can visually wrap our heads around.
Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer’s, inspirations for a massive display were drawn from his visits to the 75,000 square foot Miniatur Wunderland in Germany. Thanks to his desire to recreate popular Canadian places and structures, Little Canada is now located inside this 45,000 square foot venue at Yonge and Dundas Streets in Toronto, Canada.
When you take a photo of a single structure and review it on your camera, you’d be surprised at how easily someone could be tricked into believing it’s the real thing. Many familiar towns are here; Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Quebec City are built and ready to amaze you. Over the next several years Little Canada will grow to include; Montreal, the Prairie Provinces, the Rockies and Canada’s East and West Coasts. On the day of this visit, miniatures builders were already at work constructing a cold temperature area for Little Northern Canada with a snowy winter theme.
Le Chateau Frontenac
Opened in 1893 Le Chateau Frontenac is recognized as one of the top grand hotels built during the era of luxury railroad travel. It’s claimed to be the most photographed hotel in the world, which might explain why visitors to Little Canada are so inclined to photograph this intricate recreation. Even the little tourists appear to agree by snapping their own pictures.
It’s been years since I visited Montmorency Falls in Quebec City. At 83 meters in height, Montmorency Falls are the tallest falls in the province of Quebec. A surprise to many people, may be the fact that these falls are taller than the 53 meter high Niagara Falls in Ontario.
In winter, when conditions permit, a dense mist drops at the base of the falls forming a huge mound of crystalized water and snow, locally referred to as the sugarloaf. Look closely at this scene; some people are exploring the sugarloaf while others to the right of the falls are climbing up an ice wall.
CN Tower and Rogers Centre
Just as in real life, Canada’s tallest landmark, the CN Tower stands next to the Rogers Centre. At the top of the CN Tower a group of brave people are walking along a ledge, simulating a tourist attraction called the Edge Walk. The elevators travel up and down the exterior and the CN Tower lights up as the city darkens.
Looking down into the 49,000 seat Rogers Centre you’re able to see the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team and fans hosting a visiting opponent. Fans can be heard as the team scores a game changing run. Then, wait and watch the roof on the Rogers Center close and reopen.
The Toronto Raptors basketball team are playing in the 2019 final that led to their first NBA championship in franchise history. If you look closely you might even see Drake cheering on the Raptors with a lint roller in hand. Mini Jumbotron screens continuously replay the game commemorating a great day the city will not soon forget.
Scotiabank Arena is also home to the Toronto Maple Leaf hockey team. The Maple Leafs were the featured mini players until the Raptors big win. The scene was then changed and all fan figures were repainted from Maple Leaf blue to Raptors red in celebration of the Raptors achievement.
In 1975, Parks Canada designated Union Station a National Historic Site because it was, and still is, the country’s finest example of a classical beaux-arts railway station. Union Station is the largest of the great urban train stations built during the early 20th century.
City of Toronto
St. Lawrence Market
Gooderham & Worts
This farmers market emporium has operated since 1803, when it cohabited with Toronto’s city hall. Redeveloped between the 1970s and 1990s after long neglect, the area’s mix of homes and businesses showcases urban regeneration. More than 120 retailers dispense everything from seafood to coffee.
The National Geographic book Food Journeys of a Lifetime
Recognized as a National Historic Site, Toronto’s Distillery Historic District contains over 40 Victorian buildings that document the city’s and the nation’s architectural and industrial heritage. Between the 1830s and 1890s, the firm of Gooderham & Worts grew from a small windmill in the wilderness to the largest distillery in the British Empire and, for a time, in the world.
The Canadian Encyclopedia
Highway of Heroes
When a Canadian soldier is killed in action, the remains are brought back by air transport to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in Ontario. From there, the remains are driven to the coroner’s office in Toronto for examination before being released to the families.
A portion of Highway 401 between Canadian Forces Base Trenton and the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto is called the “Highway of Heroes” in honour of our fallen soldiers. Along this corridor we give tribute to the sacrifices they have made.
Canada Day on Parliament Hill
After the sun has set on Canada Day, fireworks light up the sky behind Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada’s capital. Sounds of fireworks boom in the air and little citizens cheer in celebration.
Diversity and construction
Diversity was important in making each scene at Little Canada look like Canada. The 3/4 inch tall, prefabricated miniature people are stock items with clothing and skin tones then customized in house. On average, it takes 15 to 30 minutes to complete each person.
The entire little country is mostly built on the same HO scale, 1:87, meaning the real version is 87 times larger. Each locality you enter draws you in for a closer look. Cars, buses and trams move through streets obeying traffic light signals. Car horns can be heard from impatient drivers. Trains pull out of stations riding on HO gauge tracks across rivers and through tunnels.
Most of the buildings are made from 3D printed plastic and medium density fiberboard.
Daytrip destinations in my blog
My attention was drawn to destinations you may have read about in my earlier blog posts and then to details I remember seeing when I visited in real life. The smallest of details have been replicated.
You too can be part of Little Canada. Step into Littlization Station to have 140 cameras simultaneously capture your image to create a little you. What do you do for work; a crossing guard helping children get to school, a construction worker on top of a new skyscraper? You get to choose where your mini me will be placed. Wouldn’t that be amazing?