Experience the most exciting places in Canada in miniature at Little Canada Toronto. Discover the magic behind the scenes with our in-depth look at Toronto’s most popular new attraction.
Any place that can make me feel like a kid again is a place that I tend to fall in love with instantly. B
ut when the experience is so intrinsically connected to the country I’m proud to call home, the city I was born in, and the towns, cities, and provinces I’ve visited and fallen in love with – it’s hard to put into words that emotional feeling of joy, happiness, curiosity, and excitement that I experience.
Well, essentially, what I guess I’m describing is my childhood.
But what does this have to do with Little Canada, and why should you visit? The unique miniature world that Little Canada, in downtown Toronto, has created is exactly what I described.
Packed with creative exhibits highlighting unique destinations within Canada, Little Canada stunningly recreates each of the location’s beauty and character, all in miniature. Their diverse, complicated, and detailed display will walk you through all of the major tourist destinations in Canada. Along the way, you’ll be invited to reflect on childhood moments and family trips of the past to find inspiration for your next vacation in Canada.
What Is Little Canada?
Little Canada is a tourist attraction in downtown Toronto. Tucked beneath the street across from Yonge and Dundas Square, the attraction features some of Canada’s most prominent tourist destinations shrunk down to miniature size.
Throughout its winding network of displays, visitors can find gorgeous recreations of places such as Halifax, Gros Morne National Park, Niagara Falls, and Quebec City. New attractions are constantly in the works as well. Some of the future Little Canada destinations include Little North, where you’ll find Iqaluit, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife, and Little West Coast, where Vancouver, Haida Gwaii, and Vernon will live.
These displays are all engaging and fun. Hidden amongst the details are countless dioramas depicting life in Canada as well as many hidden gems that, if you look closely enough, will give you a good laugh.
Current Little Canada Exhibits
While this miniature Canada continues to grow and develop, the exhibits already open are an incredible site to be seen. During your visit, you can tour 45,000 square feet of Little Canada, including destinations in Ontario, Quebec, and the East Coast.
The current exhibits include:
- Little Niagara: This exhibit includes not only a miniature Niagara Falls (which is a sight to see) but also the Niagara-on-the-Lake region. Keep your eyes open to see if you can spot the miniature chickens that come to life at the crack of dawn.
- Little Toronto: Capturing and depicting the hustle and bustle of Toronto was no easy feat, but Little Canada has done it incredibly! Fun fact: Even when shrunken down, the CN Tower is still too big to fit in the building. For this reason, it had to be built on a 1:160 scale.
- Little Golden Horseshoe: Little Golden Horseshoe covers much of the area west of Toronto, such as Hamilton and the surrounding area. One memorable and special part of this exhibit is the inclusion of the Highway of Heroes. The bridge in the display was named after Captain Nichola Goddard, the first Canadian woman to die in combat. The exhibit includes Goddard’s family in miniature, located by the plaque.
- Little Ottawa: View the Parliament Buildings in their miniature form while touring the capital city. Take in the Canadian celebrations, enjoy the fireworks, discover new places to explore in Ottawa, and celebrate this beautiful country.
- Petit Quebec: Visit the unique architecture of Quebec. Embrace the beauty of winter in Canada with a frosty winter wonderland scene. Catch some midnight skiing at Mont Tremblant, and you can even take in the Quebec Winter Carnival Night Parade.
- Little East Coast: Little East Coast is the newest exhibit at Little Canada. This exciting display covers much of the Canadian Maritimes, including Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, and a water-filled Bay of Fundy, including Fundy National Park.
Coming Soon to Little Canada
Brenninkmeijer and his team aren’t finished creating their miniature world yet! In fact, there are many more miniatures of Canada and its many locations yet to come. If your favourite Canadian destination hasn’t been miniaturized, it may already be in the works.
The following exhibits we were told are coming soon:
- Petit Montreal
- Little West Coast
- Little Prairies (Saskatchewan & Manitoba)
- Little North
Not only will these locations introduce new challenges with their iconic buildings and attractions, but the team is taking their realistic approach a step further. Little Northwest Territories is set to be in a fridge, allowing them to set the display’s temperature to that of a typical day up north.
How Did Little Canada Get Started?
The cities and landscapes of Canada in miniature. What would inspire the creation of such a unique and creative attraction?
While visiting Little Canada, I sat down with Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer. During our conversation, we discussed the project’s history, including what brought him to Canada from his birthplace in Europe and his inspiration for Little Canada.
His passion, child-like charm, and storytelling were so engaging that we didn’t notice the camera beeping and flashing during the interview, warning us that it was out of space. But we did capture a special look behind the scenes.
Brenninkmeijer came to Canada originally for a 2-year trip to learn about specialty retailing. While here, he and his family had the opportunity to learn all about Canada and the incredible things that life here offered, igniting a love and passion for all the wonderful things about Canada.
After much deliberation and encouragement by 2 of his mentors, Brenninkmeijer decided to take a leap of faith, quitting his job (which he realized wasn’t bringing him joy) and pursuing his dream – to create a miniature Canada inspired by Miniatur Wunderland, the world’s largest model railway located in Hamburg, Germany. He saw this as an opportunity to encourage curiosity and exploration of the country he had fallen in love with.
How Are The Little Canada Displays Made?
I also spoke with Director, Destinations Mark Domanski, who answered our questions about the creation process of the exhibits. He shared that every piece of Little Canada is created in-house. Some aspects are made by hand, while others incorporate 3D printing to build out the structures.
The team includes a wide variety of talented individuals with backgrounds ranging from civil engineering and architecture to theatre art and makeup. When the basic structures and displays are all in place, the Animated World Team uses movement, lights, and other elements to bring the world to life.
Join the Fun with the Littlization Station
As you walk through the various exhibits, you may wonder about the many people they have recreated in miniature form. How do they decide who will be present in their little world? The truth is that everyone has the opportunity to be a part of this creative display!
In the Littlization Station, visitors can create a miniature version of themselves, known as a Little Me. The creation process is free – just step into the dome for a scan. This involves taking a 360-degree picture to capture every element of yourself at that moment, including your hairstyle, the clothes you are wearing, and even the pose you have chosen to stand in.
After the scan is completed, you can log in to the Little Me portal to purchase your Little Me in a variety of different sizes, including a ¾” Little Me that is placed into Little Canada or a selection of sizes of Little Me that you can display at home from ¾” to 5”.
You can choose to have your Little Me in any current exhibit if one speaks to you, adding a personal touch. For example, did you attend a University in Toronto? Why not place your Little Me in Little Toronto to commemorate that time in your life? If you choose to have yourself join Little Canada, you will receive an emailed photo of your location in the display to share on social media.
What is the Scale of Little Canada?
Little Canada is built using the standard train model scale HO or H0, a scale of 1:87. However, it can be challenging to determine the exact measurements of the various buildings and attractions included in the displays.
Some locations, like the Parliament Buildings, will provide drawings that can be used to determine accurate measurements. But many places recreated in miniature form were done using online tools like Google Maps and Google Streetview to take measurements.
How Much is a Ticket for Little Canada?
Tickets to visit Little Canada in Toronto start at $36 + HST for adults, $28 + HST for seniors (65+) and students, and $22 + HST for children aged 4 to 12. Children 3 and under are free.
You can also purchase annual passports starting at $99 + HST for an individual or $249 + HST for a family if you intend on visiting multiple times. This also comes with unique benefits like priority timed bookings and exclusive behind-the-scenes previews of each new destination before they launch.
How Long Does It Take to Walk Through Little Canada?
The time it will take to walk through this unique attraction and see all the Canadian miniatures on display will vary depending on how long you take to examine the many tiny details. The average visitor takes approximately 90 minutes to journey through all the miniature locations.
Is Little Canada Suitable for Kids?
This isn’t an attraction for toddlers or babies, but it is an excellent place for children and their active imaginations. Each exhibit offers an incredible level of detail to explore, and visitors are also encouraged to search for Maurice the Moose, the mascot of Little Canada, hiding in each location within the miniature world. They also host many events and workshops with children in mind, including building your own miniature room or landscape.
Where Is Little Canada
Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, on Dundas St E, there are several ways to get to Little Canada, including public transportation, driving your own vehicle, or walking (if you are nearby the area).
The Little Canada hours of operation are 10 AM to 6 PM from fall to spring and 10 AM to 8 PM in the summer each day of the week. However, the last guest entry is 90 minutes before closing. These hours may change, especially when accommodating holidays or special events. We recommend checking the website while planning your trip.
If you are looking to take advantage of the public transportation options available in the city, we recommend the 505 Dundas Streetcar, which stops at Yonge St. Little Canada is located right on the northeast corner of the Dundas St/Yonge St intersection.
Alternatively, you can take Line 1, Yonge/University Line of the Toronto Subway to Dundas Station. From the Northbound platform, exit to 10 Dundas East.
Limited parking is available near Little Canada for those driving to the city. Directly across the street from our location, underneath the Yonge-Dundas Square (20 Dundas Square), you will see a Green P Parking lot. Check the signage to ensure you are familiar with parking hours, permit restrictions, and other important information.
For those unfamiliar with Toronto’s PATH, it is a pedestrian walkway that offers a safe place to move about the downtown core. Most of the PATH is located underground, but the downloadable map will make it easy to identify where you are and how to get to your desired location. Little Canada can be found in the G1 quadrant.
Experience Little Canada for Yourself
If you are looking for a fun way to spend a day with the family in Toronto, we can’t recommend Little Canada enough. When you pass through the doors, you will be transported all over the country from a mini downtown Toronto bustling with activity to a little Niagara Falls in all its wonder. It may even inspire your next family vacation! Find out all you need to know on their website.
Have you been to visit Little Canada? Do you have a favourite Canadian attraction that is similar to the unique wonder of Little Canada? Head over to the We Explore Canada Facebook Community and join the conversation! Share your favourite Canadian spots with our community of passionate travellers and find new locations to visit.
Christopher Rudder has spent over five years as a day and short trip expert, travel writer, skilled videographer/editor, and photographer for Rudderless Travel. A place that inspires those with limited to discover hidden gems while promoting diversity.
Using his day/short trip expertise and videography/editing talents, he launched Road Trip Ontario, which quickly became to number one source for Day Trips, Weekend Getaways & Road Trips within the province of Ontario. Together with his partner-in-crime (Gordana Grubor), he aims to explore all that Ontario has to offer while supporting local businesses.