tracy ealdama toronto

This artist makes miniatures of iconic Toronto businesses

The pink gradient walls of BBs Diner may be no more, but the beloved Filipino brunch spot still exists, only in miniature form.

There's now an itty bitty version of the old restaurant on Lippincott in this world, handcrafted by artist Tracy Ealdama

Using a plastic cap for the exhaust fan, small wooden squares, and paint, the miniatures artist has recreated a mouse house version of the now-closed business, which has since been replaced by Happy Burger

It's not the only Toronto institution that Ealdama has immortalized out of coffee stirrers and cardstock paper through her business Urthlings.

The self-taught artist, a former Toronto resident who now lives in B.C., started her career making a miniature rendition of Kim's Convenience just two years ago. 

tracy ealdama toronto

Former Toronto resident Tracy Ealdama has been making miniatures for the last two years.

Ealdama says that binging the popular show based around Moss Park's longtime variety store inspired her art.

"Out of nowhere, I said I wanted to try and recreate the iconic storefront," she says. 

tracy ealdama toronto

Ealdama takes commissions from anyone trying to immortalize a building or business in mini form.

Today, Ealdama takes commissions from clients like toy photographers, chefs, store owners—anyone who wants to honour a building with a mini version of it. 

"Some reach out to me to create a memorable space that holds dear to them, like a childhood house they grew up in, or a favorite store/brand they absolutely love, or even a neighbourhood bodega they frequented - for nostalgic reasons." 

tracy ealdama toronto

Johnny's Hamburger is just one iconic Toronto business Ealdama has recreated.

Ealdama loves to use styrene strips, BBQ skewers, heavy card stock, wooden coffee stir sticks, LED lights, cardstock and foam board to build mini versions of spots like Scarborough's 53-year-old burger joint, Johnny's

tracy ealdama toronto

Details of miniature accessories outside of Ealdama's tiny Nobrega's Variety.

Other Toronto classics include a now-demolished Mr. Sub, a hog dog stand outside of Finch subway station, clothing store Legends League, or Nobrega's Variety in Beaconsfield Village.

It usually takes about three to five weeks to complete one miniature, says Ealdama, typically done in the evenings after homeschooling her kids. 

tracy ealdama toronto

Ealdama's weathering process is what brings her miniatures to life.

Her favourite part is "weathering": using mica powder, pastels, and other pigments to the real-life texture to her work.

"These are the finishing touches I enjoy the most as it is not only fun to see my work come alive, but it also simply reminds me of the honour I've been given to create something that means so much to someone."  

Lead photo by

Tracy Ealdama


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