oh how small canada

There is no sign of peace on the streets of Toronto.
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of: regina sepele

There is no sign of peace on the streets of Toronto. © Resene Sepele

Niagara Falls, CN Tower and Ski Mountains: In Toronto in miniature, the country is shrinking—and so are the guests, if necessary.

When it is night in Toronto, the city looks even more beautiful. No trace of peace, car headlights shining on the wide streets around Union Station, the main train station, twinkling skyscrapers and the background noise of trains rattling, cars queuing and horns are as realistic as they are That’s the neon sign and small details of the air vents, just below the manhole cover. And above all, the CN Tower towers unmistakably, now at the latest it’s clear we’re in Toronto.

The night lasts exactly six minutes, then the lights turn on again. In Little Canada, not only has the country shrunk to a 1:87 scale, the day is over in just nine minutes. A room for an excursion boat, enough time onward to depart for Niagara Falls. It’s worth it for guests who don’t have time for this, a must-do on a short trip to Toronto. Here you can get at least a small picture of the attractions where you are as close to the water as possible, including the constant roar of the river and the screams of seagulls.

But even though the visuals seem too real thanks to the technically complex animation – the miniature country attraction, which opened in downtown Toronto a year ago, has less in tourists’ observation of what the Ahhornland has to offer than the famous buildings and landscapes. Have to do In an almost crazy love of detail – and in the eyes of its creator, who spent more than ten years of his life and several million dollars in making his dream come true. Jean-Louis Breininkmeijer, a descendant of the C&A dynasty, born in the Netherlands and raised in London, worked in the family business for many years until the job that took him to Canada eventually seemed too boring.

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At age 50, the story goes, the father of four children, who settled west of Toronto in Oakville, recalls his childhood passion for model trains, which he packed in boxes and moved to Canada. And when a year later he became so infected that he was taken to the miniature wonderland in Hamburg, believed to be the world’s largest model railway system, the man, fascinated by the little things, began to think big: the idea of ​​something in Canada. Building like this could not let him go. He’s looking for mates, after all he’s not the only man who loves model railroading, and he finds Dave McLean, civil engineer and president of the Model Railroad Club of Toronto.

Everyone quickly agrees that the focus should be on the country’s famous buildings and landscapes, not the trains. Movement is still provided. In addition to trains, ships rock, cyclists are on the move and about 300 cars make their rounds autonomously, having to stop behind the scenes at regular intervals to charge. In the control center, the employees keep an eye on the traffic on the high wall full of monitors. Because traffic jams happen from time to time, just like in real life, locomotives derail or boats spin out of control. Then the giants intervene with sticks and tools before the eyes of the audience and put the little world back in order. It is also fun to watch such rescue maneuvers.

Breininkmeijer is said to have spent ten hours in the miniature world in Hamburg. Today the elegant and perfect looking man, whose fickle passion one cannot expect, can be found almost every day at his exhibitions, loves to talk to guests and tirelessly give explanations.

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Anyone who wants to discover all the details – like scenes from novels and movies at the luxury hotel Chateau Laurier in Little Ottawa or the little man in leather trousers who tirelessly swings his hammer to tap a beer keg for Oktoberfest Which, together with the beer carriages, mini drindles and brass bands in the Toronto area, shouldn’t be missed – Little can also spend a lot of time in Canada.

Although the exhibition currently covers only five destinations. There are six more to come in the coming years until the entire 45,000 square meter performance area is populated: the Prairies, The Rockies, The Coast, Montreal and Little North. There are already polar bears in the still bare room, some white mountains and many notes in the showcase. It’s cold there too. After all, experience should attract as many senses as possible.

About 50 professionals work on Little Canada’s development, including amateur dollhouse makers, architects, electricians, mechatronics engineers and artists. While existing model kits were initially modified and adapted, most objects are now created using 3D printers. 200,000 working hours are said to have been spent for the construction so far. The investment is estimated at $24 million, with about 200 donors participating. More than 10,000 mini-trees green the landscape, producing spiky branches and structuring lawns six millimeters high from short fibers is a science in itself. Tens of thousands of little people populate the country. They are depicted in all walks of life, including wheelchairs, and in all skin colors to reflect the cultural diversity of the Canadian population.

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And it also grows in Little Canada. As a special gag, guests can immortalize themselves in the little world. This is called “littleization” and anyone who enters a futuristic 3D capsule for this purpose and lets himself be scanned with whistling sound by 128 cameras will find the spaceship Enterprise, only a small world. In beaming it takes about two weeks. At least 60 dollars. From photographs of poses created in the cabin, a small plaster human has been made in 3D printing, supposedly a clearly recognizable image, which may then be traced to Little Canada.

Perhaps even near the Houses of Parliament in Little Ottawa, one of the jewels of the show is its 20,000 painted bricks, over which Canada Day is celebrated with animated fireworks every 15 minutes. It happens that people spontaneously clap, move or even sing the national anthem. Bosses also like such emotional outbursts. Parliament Hill is one of the favorite places of Jean-Louis Breininkmeijer, who has since acquired Canadian citizenship.

Disclaimer: Research supported by Destination Toronto.

Jean-Louis Breininkmeijer has made a great dream come true with miniature landscapes.
Jean-Louis Breininkmeijer has made a great dream come true with miniature landscapes. © Little Canada
On a 1:87 scale, guests can discover Mini Canada in multiple rooms.
On a 1:87 scale, guests can discover Mini Canada in multiple rooms. © Resene Sepele
Canada's abundant wildlife also finds its place.
Canada’s abundant wildlife also finds its place. © Little Canada
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