At the IN Store we are constantly searching for inspiration from varied, unique, and unfamiliar sources. When we got involved with Jean-Louis Brenninkmejier of Our Home & Miniature Land, we knew we had to tell you all about it!
What is Miniature Land?
Our Home & Miniature Land is Jean-Louis’ passion project. When he quit his job in 2011 in search of something that nourished his soul, Brenninkmejier began to delve into the world of miniature models. Inspired by Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, he reached out to multiple model railway clubs around the GTA and Hamilton to get the wheels turning on his vision. This outreach lead to his partnership with Dave MacLean, who at the time was the president of the Model Railroad Club of Toronto. With the goal of creating an interactive miniature model of Canada where you can travel from coast to coast to coast in one afternoon, the two began assembling a skilled team of people that could make this vision a reality.
Photo by Jen Masters
How we got involved
Each year, the George Brown College School of Design offers a course called Studio Lab in which students are given the opportunity to work on real projects with real clients in a mentored learning environment. In 2016, the course was mentored by our IN Store boss ladies Lori and Jen when Jean-Louis reached out. He was searching for someone to design a logo, brand identity, and billboard for the Trans Canada Express train, a key feature in the Miniature Land exhibit. Over a duration of 2 months, 12 School of Design students worked on this challenge for Brenninkmejier. Student Manar Hossein’s design was chosen in the end! The train is fully functional and as it speeds around the model it features Hossein’s winning Brand Identity.
Manar Hossein's train design
Currently, Jean-Louis and his team have built miniature versions of Hamilton, the GTA, and Toronto, with moving subways, streetcars, cyclists and more. They’ve even built a 4-foot tall CN Tower! The team has also recently completed miniature Ottawa and are beginning the production of miniature Niagara. Their end goal is to have all of Canada built as a miniature landscape that spans from the Rockies to the Maritimes. Brenninkmejier is on the hunt for a permanent location for his attraction in downtown Toronto for the public to enjoy. There’s even been talk that there could be a body scanner so that a miniature model YOU can be placed in the attraction. How cool is that!? We can’t wait until the project is complete!
Visit miniatureland.ca for more information about the progression of the project!