The Empress is the most famous hotel in Victoria, maybe in all of British Columbia. It has a long and storied history, full of everything a grand hotel needs—elegance, high tea, a touch of royalty, and a healthy dose of scandal.
There are a few more reasons to come to the Empress, ones that no other hotel has, such as scores of miniature dioramas, the world’s smallest operational sawmill, and some of the largest doll houses on Earth.
Miniature World consists of over 85 exquisitely detailed scenes in tiny scale, including castles, a full-on circus, an imagining of Camelot, a Dickensian Londontowne, a cosmic interpretation of the year 2201, and the Great Canadian Railway. To counteract all the minis, there is a collection of doll houses, one of which is among the world’s largest. (How one determines where a “doll house” ends and a “playhouse” begins is an open question).
George Devlin opened the museum in 1971, and the creators continue to expand their assortment of strange, diminutive landscapes.
Know Before You Go
Miniature World is around the Humboldt Street side of the famous Empress Hotel on Victoria Harbour. It's open every day (except Christmas) from 9am to 5pm, and until 9pm in the summertime. Admission is $16 for adults, $10 for youths, and $8 for kids (all price are + G.S.T.)