Torontoist’s uncompromising investigative series on the dirtiness of the scale model of downtown Toronto in the City Hall rotunda has produced results. Last Friday, Noel White, owner of Monolith Architectural Models, a local model-making company, finished giving Tiny Toronto the cleaning it so badly needed. Our miniature city is safe, for now.
“Mostly it was money,” said White, of the foreign objects he pulled out of the model’s many tiny crevices while the cleaning was underway. “I’ve got a couple of foreign coins here too, even. I think there’s one from Hong Kong.”
White, who has worked in the architectural model-making industry for about six years, but whose company is brand new, spent five days last week meticulously cleaning the model, with a helper. They vacuumed out the multi-year accumulation of dust, then used fine paintbrushes and soapy water to clean each of Tiny Toronto’s buildings individually. “You have to be pretty patient for this kind of work,” said White.
The model is almost twenty years old, so even White’s professional cleaning services weren’t able to make it look factory fresh. But aside from some stains and some patches of crackling paint, Tiny Toronto is looking pretty good.
Tiny Toronto was initially constructed to assist city planners in drafting the 1991 official plan for the City of Toronto, and was never intended to become a long-term attraction for City Hall visitors. It was placed on view in the mid-nineties, and has since become a fixture in the rotunda and a starting point for tours of the city. The model became difficult to maintain after 9/11, when it was bolted to a solid, walled-off base in order to prevent people from hiding underneath.
Urban Design did not immediately respond to a request for an update on their future intentions for Tiny Toronto, but in previous interviews, they told us that they’re looking into ways of bringing the model up to date. They had also considered dismantling it, if someone couldn’t be found to take care of the cleaning―but Noel White stepped up.
Finally, for the record, White has definitive word on the identity of the mysterious brown beverage that someone spilled all over the Rogers Centre and the CN Tower (which was what prompted our original post on the model): “I think that was hot chocolate,” he said. “It was a pretty nauseating smell cleaning that up, let me tell you.”
All photos courtesy of Monolith Architectural Models, unless otherwise indicated.