'Journey of discovery in miniature': A mini Ottawa goes on display this summer

Are you curious to see what Ottawa looks like from above? The city will be on display, in miniature form, in a new attraction in Toronto.

"Little Canada," is set to open this summer in downtown Toronto, and will feature five areas of Canada to start, including Canada’s Capital.

"This is an attraction, taking guests on a journey of discovery in miniature of Canada," says founder and President Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer.

At opening, visitors will see miniature and at scale versions of Niagara Falls, Toronto, areas of the Golden Horseshoe,  Quebec City in the winter, and, of course, Ottawa.

"It’s the capital of Canada; and, if I was to think of opening without it, we would be missing something quite crucial," says Brenninkmeijer.

Little Ottawa features the Parliament building, which is set on Canada Day and is filled with many details.

"Especially on Parliament Hill, we have hundreds of miniature people that we have created; and, we have a lot of detail celebrating Canada Day," says Visual Arts Specialist Nur Nuri.

You can also see a replica of the Chateau Laurier, which has a side wall missing to show the details inside. Each room is decorated and there is an event in the main ballroom.

"We basically can turn everything into something, in our world," says Nuri.

The ByWard Market, including the market building, is also on display.

"To represent our capital was incredibly important for us here at Little Canada; because, we want to give everyone a taste of Canada, just so that everyone gets to enjoy everything that we have to offer  and Ottawa is definitely a wonderful place to do that," says Nuri.

She says that even the street signs are identical to what you’d find in Ottawa.

"We have a lot of streetscape details; we tried to get everything exact, especially on the street."

The project has been in the making for about a decade, says Brenninkmeijer.  He moved to Canada in 1999, and was inspired to share his love for Canada through miniature when he visited "Miniature Wunderland" in Hamburg, Germany.

"I walked out, and said, 'this is what I want to do for Canada.'"

"Little Canada," is located in the tourist area at Yonge and Dundas, and Brenninkmeijer says they plan to open this summer with COVID-19 safety protocols in place. They will host a "guided guest experience," in small groups to start.

They plan to add to other parts of Canada to the display, and guests will be able to see a 'building area,' as staff are busy creating the next section.

"Perhaps the most inspiring piece for me is that you walk out afterwards, and you’ve learned something about Canada you did not know before."