In the midst of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the management at the Elitch Gardens amusement park in Denver, Colorado decided to open for business. Elitch’s had previously closed its doors to visitors for two months from October 1918 in order to provide a safe environment for staff and their families. However, the park was still left with less-than-satisfied customers. The pandemic had reduced the usual number of visitors to a fraction of what it normally was, which meant there was less foot traffic and a much smaller customer base to draw from. To make matters worse, the park was forced to close early much of the time because the staff had become ill.

Planning a vacation to a theme park is a great way to get away from it all, but it can be a little stressful depending on the time of year you visit. You might go to the park on a busy day and not have a chance to ride all the rides you want, or you may get stuck in a long line and have to cut your visit short. One of the biggest challenges, however, is planning your trip when an attraction has yet to open. This is a big problem for any attraction owner, but it is especially challenging for parks that are located in areas affected by a pandemic.

Opening an attraction during a pandemic is not for everyone, as John Phillipson, vice president and general manager of Little Canada, has learned.

The attraction reconstructs Canadian landmarks and cityscapes in miniature.


We had difficulties, that’s for sure. For us, the only way to stay open during a pandemic was to make the safety of our team a top priority, he said. This means working from home where possible and a strengthened safety plan for work in the field that exceeds provincial standards.

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Like many companies, we face the uncertainty of a work stoppage and must ask ourselves how we can protect our employees – the number one answer is: Masks. – And when the market is ready for the opening of Little Canada, he added.

According to Phillipson, the company has been able to overcome these challenges in large part due to the dedication and perseverance of its employees.

This is an incredibly resilient and determined group of people who have adapted to the necessary constraints, such as. B. work at home, work in small spaces, and measures of social distance, Phillipson said. Our team really facilitated the process and made it possible for us to do what we did.

He noted that Little Canada will appeal to almost all types of visitors. We want this experience to appeal to people of all ages – anyone with a sense of wonder and curiosity who wants to learn something new about Canada.

Phillipson described Little Canada as a miniature world of the 21st century. The first of the twentieth century, with a 15-minute day in which the sun sets and rises every 15 minutes, in locations that initially included Little Niagara, Little Toronto, Little Golden Horseshoe, Little Ottawa and Little Quebec.

Little Toronto. (Photo via Little Canada)

He said visitors can not only see Canada in miniature, but live and become literate there. Visitors will have the chance to enter the literacy station, get scanned and 3D print their own little self. They can then choose one of the many places where their Little Self will live forever.

Little Ottawa. (Photo via Little Canada)

Phillipson expects the attraction to open this summer, but the exact date has not yet been determined. We have not yet announced an opening date. We really want to evaluate where we stand on COVID-19 and the restrictions that have been put in place, he said. We want to make sure that we act responsibly and give people the chance to have a great, but above all safe experience.

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