A small-scale replica of Toronto made from LEGO.

The first and only LEGOLAND in Canada is in the densely populated, highly diverse, leading tourism destination of Toronto, Ontario

Guest blog by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport

March 2023 marked 10 years since LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto first opened its doors—and there’s a lot to celebrate.

From the start, this branded attraction welcomed more than a quarter of a million parents and children every year. That obviously changed with the pandemic, but post-COVID, the facility has had the fastest recovery of all of Merlin’s LEGOLAND Discovery Centres—and the numbers are very encouraging for 2023.

Geared to children ages 3-10 and their families, the sprawling playground-like space is 35,000 square feet, includes a factory tour that demonstrates how LEGO is made, a 4D cinema that rotates films throughout the day, 10 build and play areas, classes led by a master model builder, two LEGO-themed rides and special party rooms. There’s also a café and a shop.

Children building and sorting LEGO pieces.
Every year, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto attracts thousands of budding engineers.

The pièce de résistance is MINILAND, which features miniature replicas of many of Toronto’s landmarks, including the CN Tower, City Hall, the Hockey Hall of Fame, Pearson International Airport and Niagara Falls. It’s made from half a million LEGO bricks, has many moving parts and changes with the seasons.

LEGOLAND Discovery Centre is a subsidiary of Merlin Entertainments, Europe’s premier attractions operator. In 2012, the British-based company decided it wanted to establish a presence in Canada, specifically, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

“The company was well aware of the market,” says Rene Gurtner, the general manager for the Discovery Centre.

Situated in the densely populated, highly diverse “Golden Horseshoe,” the Greater Toronto Area is a leading tourism destination. For families with young children, a trip to LEGOLAND is high on the list of to-dos. A sophisticated transportation system that includes Pearson International Airport, a network of well-maintained roads and highways, and an efficient city subway ensures easy access to the Discovery Centre.

Parent and child blowing wind into the sails of their newly constructed LEGO sailboat.
There are 27 LEGOLAND Discovery Centres worldwide, and Toronto’s is the first and only one in Canada.

Getting qualified staff—which fluctuates between 40 and 90 people depending on the time of year—is also easy, says Gurtner, who has been with the company since it set up shop in Toronto. And the turnover rate is low. Most of LEGOLAND’s department heads have been there almost as long as Gurtner. And master model builder Noel Straatsma, a LEGO fanatic from the age of 5, is so pleased with his position that he aims to see out his entire career at Toronto’s LEGOLAND Discovery Centre.

“I love LEGO and I love inspiring kids,” he says. “All of us try to make sure they have the time of their life.”

The Discovery Centre relies on seasonal staff and, here too, the company has benefited from its location. It’s able to hire a diverse cross-section of students. For many, it’s their “first job ever,” and they tend to come back year after year. That’s a bonus for Merlin Entertainments as it makes a substantial investment in their initial training.

It all adds up to a profitable enterprise. Going forward, LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto is focused on continuing to attract new and return visitors by keeping the experience fresh and welcoming—and adding to it.

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