Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Little Canada miniatures come to life with Christie projectors

Christie projectors are helping tell the story of Canada — in miniature. Little Canada is the newest attraction in Toronto, delighting visitors with a trip across the country, including landmarks, sights and sounds, all under one roof. Carbon Arc Projects, which specializes in the curation of virtual and in-person experiences, selected Christie GS Series 1DLP and Captiva projectors to illuminate landmarks throughout the attraction.

Located in the heart of downtown Toronto, Little Canada covers 45,000 square feet of indoor space across two floors and recreates popular locations and landmarks at 1:87 scale — the same size as model railways — with five destinations including Little Niagara, Little Toronto, Little Ottawa and Petit Quebec. Little Canada is a detailed miniature world brought to life by 21st century technology, which took over 180,000 hours to build, and an homage to Canada by its creators.

Photo courtesy of Christie.

“We received a call in 2018 from Blink Multimedia, the content creator, about a new project that was taking shape,” says Sean Hooper, partner, Carbon Arc Projects. “And we knew this was going to be a project unlike any other we’d ever done. We were excited to work on Toronto’s biggest little attraction. The first, big destination we worked on was Little Niagara and the Maid of the Mist, then Little Ottawa.”

Carbon Arc Projects selected Christie Captiva and DWU630-GS 1DLP laser projectors for the attraction. “We made the recommendation for Christie projectors because we were looking for a professional short throw projector in the low to medium brightness range. Christie was one of the only vendors with a product that met these requirements, with a laser light source, that could be sourced locally,” says Hooper. The projectors are integrated with the playback system, which is centrally controlled, and includes power schedules for the projectors as the attraction moves through a 15-minute loop, all while making the Little Niagara Falls look as iconic and life-like as possible — no waterworks whatsoever.

Photo courtesy of Christie.

With the projectors installed, the biggest challenge for Carbon Arc Projects and Little Canada was projecting onto Niagara Falls. “We have these beautiful projections on the Falls, and those are static. But we had to figure out how to incorporate the Maid of the Mist boat so that it wasn’t just a flood of water projected onto it,” says a spokesperson from Little Canada. “The boat has been so intricately made with fine details and little people, and we didn’t want those details washed away. We brought the problem to our projection partners to find a creative solution.”

“We timed out the boat position,” says Hooper. “The boat follows a predictable route, and from there created a mask in the content to help the boat stand out.” The miniature Maid of the Mist is designed to replicate the speed of the real boat, slowing down as it gets closer to the dock and gaining speed as it goes downstream.

Next up: Little Ottawa. Little Canada’s display operates on a 15-minute day-to-night cycle, and upon sunset thousands of tiny lights illuminate, including a simulated fireworks display and a commemorative video projection mimicking the Canada Day celebrations that take place in Ottawa each year. Carbon Arc Projects worked with Blink Multimedia to develop a projection mapping show on Little Ottawa’s Parliament Buildings.

“It’s amazing to see the level of accuracy and creativity at work here,” adds Kyle Killing, partner, Carbon Arc Projects. “There’s been an incredible amount of time and attention that went into to the space, and you find something new in there each time you go through the exhibit. The amount of planning that went into creating this experience is tremendous.”

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