Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of visiting a unique new experience called, Little Canada. If you are not familiar with the place, it is exactly that; a little version of Canada (or parts thereof). Located at 10 Dundas Street East (at Dundas Square), in Toronto, the venue is currently housed on two massive floors, underground.
It was quite amazing. Basically, it is a miniature village, which encompasses parts of Canada. The project is ongoing, with new areas constantly being added. When you arrive, you are greeted with a map and directions, and off you go.
The first area I visited was Niagara Falls. The venue encompasses the latest technology and techniques. Powerful Niagara, which is about 15 metres (45 feet) wide, is a video simulation, which looks so real. It makes you want to touch the water.
You then travel through the touristy area of the Falls, as well as Niagara on the Lake. The entire town seems to come to life as you view the well-known buildings. The cable car at the gorge is fantastic, and looks so real, as it moves quietly above the raging rapids.
Continuing along, my next stop was downtown Brantford, and Stelco in Hamilton. Having driven along these areas dozens of times, visualizing the actual as I watched the miniatures was amazing. Next, I came upon the ‘Marilyn’ towers in Mississauga, and finally downtown Toronto.
The Scotia Bank Arena had the top cut off to see inside. City Hall, Union Station and many of the downtown buildings were so lifelike. I should also mention, each area is seen in daylight for nine minutes, and then at night for six minutes (complete with full lighting).
Continuing on, the next destination was Ottawa. The parliament buildings, Byward Market, the Supreme Court and many other landmarks, were brought to life with cars and buses moving along streets, GO trains zipping over the rails, and hundreds of small, moving parts everywhere.
Quebec is the latest addition with the Chateau Frontenac towers over the city and an area, soon to be opened, will be the home of little east coast Canada.
When you finish your adventure, you step into a 360-degree camera where they take your image. They will then reproduce a miniature, scaled version of you (for a fee), and place you in the location of your choice, within the complex. They even send you a photo, so you can show your friends where you are standing.
The entire visit takes about 90 minutes, but there is no time limit. You can stay as long as you want and even enjoy lunch in their snack bar. It is a great way to spend an afternoon. You can take the Go Train, or park at the Eaton Centre, and include a shopping experience in your visit.
Once I receive my photo in the venue, I will share it so you can all run down, and take a look at mini me.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.