The True North strong and teeny

Canada covers 10 million square kilometres. Meet the scale-model builder who’s squeezing it all into a single warehouse
By Matthew O'Mara - Published on August 10, 2017

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Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer was awe-inspired when he visited Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg. The model railway exhibition brought him back to his childhood, when he used to build models of his own. He wanted to do something similar in Canada (which he’s called home since 1999), so in 2011 he quit his job and got to work.

He assembled a team of craftspeople and, in 2014, began construction on “Our Home and Miniature Land.” Since then, he’s contributed $4 million of his own money to fund the project, and his team has put in more than 60,000 hours of work building it. So far, they’ve completed Toronto and Hamilton; Ottawa is their next big project, with Parliament Hill as the grand centre piece. The team will spend close to a year building Canada's capital ­­before moving on to the next locale.

Brenninkmeijer intends to open “Our Home and Miniature Land” to the public in 2019 and is currently shopping around for an exhibition space. He hopes it will become Canada's next big tourist attraction — ­and that it will inspire in visitors the same awe Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg did in him.

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