A step closer everyday

We are busy building new exhibits for Ottawa and Niagara as we continue to take Our Home & Miniature Land across Ontario, and eventually, Canada. With every step we get closer to our dream.


[Replica of St. Peter’s Basilica, photo courtesy of Miniatur Wunderland]

[Replica of St. Peter’s Basilica, photo courtesy of Miniatur Wunderland]

The Granddaddy of Miniatures

Our Home & Miniature Land might be new for North America, but the real Granddaddy for this sort of thing is Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany. Founded in 2000 and opened a year later, Miniatur Wunderland is the world’s largest model railway exhibit and a major tourist attraction. It’s the no. 1 attraction in Hamburg, which is Germany’s second largest city, and employs 270 people and draws over one million visitors a year. The exhibit includes 15,000 metres of model railway track in HO scale and is divided into nine sections. 

The newest section for Italy opened last September and comes with scale replicas of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colosseum which took two years to construct, as well as Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, South Tyrol and Tuscany. The Italy section has 30,000 figurines and 50,000 LED lights for a spectacular night-time effect.


[Artist’s rendition of subway station from TTC 1921-1946, City of Toronto Archives, TTC materials]

[Artist’s rendition of subway station from TTC 1921-1946, City of Toronto Archives, TTC materials]

Toronto’s Yonge Subway was Canada’s First

Canada’s first subway opened in Toronto after five years of construction on March 30, 1954. The new 7.4-kilometre line ran under Yonge Street from Union Station to Eglinton Avenue with trains operating at an average speed of 32 km/hour. With 12 stations in all, the subway replaced the Yonge streetcar line which had been the country’s first streetcar service. The order for 104 subway cars was placed with the Gloucester Railway Carriage and Wagon Company in England and the tab was $7.8 million, but that was only for the cars. The total budget for the subway, which had been established in a vote among residents in 1946, was $28 million. That figure would eventually grow to $66 million. Several extensions were later added and in time the city’s Yonge-University line became the second busiest rapid transit line in North America after the IRT Lexington Avenue Line in New York City. Today Toronto’s subway and RT (rapid transit) system is still growing with completion of the east-west line across Eglinton Avenue expected in 2021. At that time the system will have over 100 stops.


Personal Profile: Greg Shinnie

Greg Shinnie first heard about Our Home & Miniature Land at his local hobby store – the Credit Valley Railway Company Ltd. which has over 25,000 items in its 4,000-sq-ft Mississauga facility. So he made a point of contacting Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer and wanted to show him his work. He did. Jean-Louis was obviously impressed because he bought four dioramas from Greg, a diorama being a scene with 3D figures and in this case, of course, they were all miniature. But it didn’t end there. Greg was also offered a job to build an 1820 version of Fort York and he’s been working on that for the past year.

Making miniature scenes is nothing new for Greg who started building models when he was 5. His very first model was the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise from the TV series Star Trek. He says he’s always had a passion for miniatures, especially model trains, and you will often find him busy on his latest creation in his basement workshop.

Greg’s favourite book is The Lord of the Rings by J. R. Tolkien and his favourite movie is the James Stewart classic ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ directed by Frank Capra.

In the press: Canadian Architect

Article on OHML: New museum celebrates beauty of Ontario in an interactive, miniature way.

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Camille Wodka