Shrinking Canada, one landmark at a time

The creators of an exhibit called Our Home and Miniature Land are turning their sights on Ottawa and some its most recognizable landmarks.

Tiny replicas of Ottawa statues, buildings to be added to growing exhibit

Stephen Burke has been busy scanning famous Ottawa monuments. The scans will be used to produce miniature 3D replicas as part of a national exhibition. 1:15

Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer is on a mission to shrink this country, one landmark at a time.

Now he's turning his attention to Ottawa and some of this city's most recognizable monuments.

Brenninkmeijer is the brain behind Our Home and Miniature Land, an exhibit-in-the-making that aims to portray this huge country in tiny detail with the help of advanced 3D printing techniques.

Jean-Louis Brenninkmeijer is the founder of Our Home and Miniature Land. (Photo courtesy of Miniatureland.ca)
Brenninkmeijer got his big idea when he visited the Miniatur Wunderland exhibition in Hamburg, Germany. 

To date he's poured more than $2 million of his own savings into the project, but Brenninkmeijer said it's not about the money.

"This project is more than just a business idea," says Brenninkmeijer. "It's an opportunity to build a legacy of Canada."

Statues miniaturized

Stephen Burke, a 3D-printing specialist, examining his scans of the Oscar Peterson statue.

Brenninkmeijer and his team have already miniaturized Toronto and other parts of Ontario, and are now turning their sights on Ottawa.

Stephen Burke, a 3D printing specialist working with Brenninkmeijer, has already completed high-resolution scans of the Famous Five statue on Parliament Hill and the Oscar Peterson statue at the corner of Elgin and Albert Streets, outside the National Arts Centre.

Burke's high-resolution scans will be used to produce 3D replicas of the statues about five centimetres tall. First he must amalgamate the images on his computer, then refine them for accuracy. The final image is then printed out of acrylic plastic, giving the models a translucent, glass-like finish before they're coloured.

The miniatures are then shipped to Toronto where they'll be added to the exhibit, set to open to the public at the end of 2018.

A miniature replica of the CN Tower and Rogers Centre is part of Our Home and Miniature Land. (Facebook)

Terry Fox, Parliament next

In addition to the Famous Five and Oscar Peterson statues, Brenninkmeijer plans to miniaturize the Terry Fox statue on Wellington Street, the Ottawa sign currently on display in the ByWard Market, and the National War Memorial.

Of course no model of Ottawa is complete with the Parliament Buildings, so Brenninkmeijer and his team are studying official drawings and photographs to build a replica of those, too.

For now, Brenninkmeijer is offering sneak peaks of the exhibit, which includes moving trains and miniature inhabitants, to some lucky visitors.

"We like to entertain everyone who comes through and sees it," Brenninkmeijer said. "But we want them to walk out having learned something about Canada that they otherwise wouldn't have learned."

Stephen Burke is seen here preparing to scan the Famous Five statue on Parliament Hill.