The Empress is by far the most famous hotel in Victoria, possibly the most famous hotel in British Columbia. Along with its historic tea service and little boutiques with big price tags, the Empress hides an attraction so strange that it’s incredible. Billed as the “Greatest Little Show on Earth”, Miniature World is hidden in the side of the Empress and hosts a variety of small scale worlds ranging from important historical events to fantasy.
Opened by George Devlin in 1971, Miniature World has grown from nine exhibits, to more than 85 miniature dioramas and displays. It has for some strange reason become one of the most popular tourist sport and roadside attractions in downtown Victoria.
Among the many rooms filled with miniatures are Circus world, Space 2201, Frontier Land, Fantasy Land, The Fields of Glory, The World of Dollhouses, and King Arthur’s Camelot. The newest addition, The Legend of King Arthur’s Camelot was a 1,000-square-foot expansion that took three years to complete and cost more than $1 million.
One of the attractions holds the honor of being the smallest of its kind in the world. The World’s Smallest Operational Sawmill took 11 years to build and shows in tiny detail all the steps required to make tiny lumber from tiny logs. It should be noted that while the sawmill is a real operating model, it does not currently operate. The local fire department decided a while back, that the only thing Miniature World could not keep small would be the resulting fire if something should happen in the mill. There is also a good chance that workman’s compensation insurance for tiny lumberyard workers was too high to maintain profitability, but that’s purely conjecture.
Miniature World Facts
- Miniature World features the world’s smallest operational sawmill (not operating anymore because fire codes).
- Disproving the idea that bigger is better, Miniature World features more than 85 detailed scenes in tiny scale.
- Miniature World is located on the Humboldt Street side of the Empress Hotel
- It’s open every day (except Christmas) from 9am to 5pm, and until 9pm in the summertime.
- Miniature World was given a “Certificate of Excellence” Award by Trip Advisor, and rated as a “Gem Attraction” by the AAA.