Hidden underground at Dundas Square in Toronto is Little Canada, a miniature representation of Canadian landmarks, all presented with a whimsical sense of humor. Not only are the scenes beautifully rendered the details are incredible with each one-inch figurine uniquely made.
Look out for the snowmobiler who stopped too suddenly in Quebec City, the building debris that landed on top of a car (with the one-inch tall owner holding his head and dismay), and the three cyclists who are the real source of power behind the Niagara hydroelectric station. Accurate miniature landmarks are mixed with entertaining vignettes throughout.
A crowd favorite is the Château Laurier Hotel in the Ottawa section. One of the classic CP hotels complete with Gothic architecture and cars pulling up to check in, the side of the hotel is cut away and every room has a different story. Film buffs will want to look out for the final scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shawshank Redemption, and the hallway from The Shining.
All the scenes cycle through day and night so, for example, in Ottawa you get to see the fireworks over Parliament Hill on Canada Day and in Mont St. Anne you see the night skiers with the slopes lit up. In addition to the exhibit, you can see the workshop where they are working on the figurines and you get an appreciation of the artistry. They also show the electronics behind the scenes, controlling the vehicles or the cyclists.
Finally, they have something called a “Littleization Station” where you can get figurines made of yourself in a variety of sizes from one inch up. These are not your average Lego figures—they’re beautifully detailed from the facial expression down to the buttons on your clothing. You stand in a small chamber surrounded by cameras where they take your picture from all angles and create a 3-D rendering which they can then sculpt in true color.
Know Before You Go
The exhibit is both adult and child-friendly with a step for shorter kids to get a better view. Parking is available on-site. It is also accessible via the subway at Dundas station.
In inclement weather, it can be accessed by the PATH (an underground walkway system in the core of Toronto) so there's no need to step outside. There is an accessible entrance at 319 Yonge St.