Tuffy P recently visited Little Canada with a friend of ours, and came back to proclaim it “Toronto’s best kept secret”. This morning I had to drop my car off at my mechanics for a brake job, so I walked down to the subway and then took transit to Little Canada, which is located at Yonge and Dundas, in the heart of downtown Toronto.
From their website: Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer, an immigrant to Canada, began learning all of the wonderful things about Canada when he would help his children with their school projects. He loved experiencing the wonder of his new country through their eyes.
Inspired by a visit to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, Jean-Louis began to develop a vision for a similar miniature world in Canada. In 2011, encouraged by two of his mentors to follow his heart and pursue his passion, Jean-Louis quit his job and turned his full attention to fulfilling his dream of building a miniature Canada.
Recognizing the need to partner with like-minded individuals who could help bring his vision to life, Jean-Louis sent out emails to various model railway clubs in the GTA and Hamilton area.
One of the responses he received was from Dave MacLean, a University of Toronto-educated civil engineer and two-term president of The Model Railroad Club of Toronto. More importantly, Dave had been a model enthusiast since the age of three, and had built dozens of model railroads for private, institutional and corporate clients.
The two quickly realized their shared passion and vision, and the rest is history. Today, with a team of talented individuals, experts in their respective field, and thousands of working hours, their dream is coming to life.
Here are a few pics I snapped during my visit. Little Canada is loads of fun and full of crazy amounts of detail. Many of the vehicles as well as the trains are in motion. I watched the skydome open and a ballgame start, with video on a jumbo-tron. I stayed in each area through a night/day cycle. Lights come on at night and the activity changes. At the Chateau Laurier, you can see what’s going on in each of the rooms. At the border, some guy’s car has over-heated. As well, there are several moose hidden within the layouts like a scavenger hunt.
A visit to Little Canada costs just over $30 with tax. For that, you get a fantastic visual treat. There are lots of guides around who can answer questions, and they are very knowledgeable. There’s even a cafe onsite. Finally, you can get “miniaturized” and later order an action figure of yourself. You can even insert yourself into one of the layouts. Expect to spend 1-2 hours wandering the exhibits.