One of the world’s largest theme park operators is bringing its first Legoland Discovery Centre to Canada, investing $12-million to open the attraction in the Vaughan Mills shopping centre just north of Toronto.
Merlin Entertainments – which has 14 attractions in North America including a Legoland theme parks in Florida and California and a giant aquarium in Minneapolis’s Mall of the Americas – said it will open the indoor playground next spring.
It has plans to open two other Canadian sites in other cities, though it didn’t say where.
The centres feature play areas targeted to three to 10 year olds. There are movie screens, “brick pools,” play areas and rides. Each centre also gets a “Miniland” exhibit, which typically consists of a Lego reproduction of the city’s skyline – presumably the curators will focus on Toronto’s skyline, not Vaughan (where the highest structures aren’t found downtown, but at Canada’s Wonderland.)
“Our experience has shown that bringing together an exciting mix of retail, dining, and quality leisure attractions like the LDC, creates a whole new element to a family shopping day,” said Glenn Earlam, managing director of Merlin’s Midway Attractions Operating Group.
The mall, owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge, will lease 34,000 of space to Merlin for the attraction. Construction will start in the summer, and the “Lego models for this Vaughan Mills location will be made in Merlin’s specialist studios around the world and shipped in during the construction phase.”
The indoor playground isn’t to be confused with Lego’s own stores, which operate in several countries. Two stores have opened in Canada within the last year, in Calgary and Toronto. There is also a Lego store in Vancouver.