Category Archives: Minto

 Scale Models 101 with Myles Burke 

Have you ever wondered about the scale models you see in our sales centres? How they are made to be so detailed and accurate? The intricate design of these models that makes them look true-to-life is amazing. We wanted to learn more about how these models are developed and the team behind them, so we sat down with Mike Burke, co-founder of Myles Burke Architectural Models, to learn more about his career as a scale model builder and the process of building scale models.  

Minto Westside Scale Model

How did you get into building scale models?

Mike Burke:  I went to school for architecture at Ryerson University. We would routinely build models for our presentations, usually out of card, paper etc. I’d stay up all night working on my renderings and drawings, and then at about 7am, I’d start building the model for a 10am class. I have to admit, most of the time they left a little something to be desired.

I remember one day I was walking through the architecture building and sitting on display by the library was a professionally built model of a condominium building (probably donated to the school or something). I was beyond impressed at the detail and craftsmanship, and I couldn’t figure out exactly how one would go about building such a thing.

A couple years later, through a friend of a friend, somehow I got a job at a professional model shop. (Coincidentally, the shop was located on the same block that will become Minto Westside). I had no idea what I was doing at first, but I was absolutely in love with it and devoted all of my energy to learning the craft. After 5 years, I had gained enough knowledge and confidence to go off and start Myles Burke Architectural Models Inc with partner David Myles. (That was in 2006).

What is the process for taking a concept for a building and creating the scale model? 

MB: At the beginning of a project, we’ll get together with the architect and the client to exchange information, and hash out the vision for the scale model. Sometimes the model is to be a literal translation of the architectural drawings; sometimes it’s more interpretative, more of a concept.

Next we build a mock up. This is where we take invisible ideas, descriptions and expectations and give them form. This is a very important step as there are as many opinions as there are stake holders. Everyone needs to agree on exactly what we are going to build. Unlike a rendering for example, once we build something, we can’t change it… you can’t unglue something, and you can’t change the colour of the precast.

After the mock up is approved, we begin production. We will draw each model component, each floor, each window mullion, each balcony slab, etc., in a CAD program. Most of these are then cut out of a plastic or wood by a laser. There are hundreds and even thousands of parts to any given model.


All of these parts are then fit, adjusted and assembled by our team of builders. This part of the process is the most tedious and time consuming taking up about 75% of the budgeted time. Each piece is painted individually, and then stuck on the model permanently.

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Last but not least is the landscaping. From the paving patterns to the colours of the flowers, we try to be as accurate as possible. Furniture also adds quite of bit life to the model.

How long does it take to build a model?

MB: An average model will take somewhere around 450 hours, but there are some that have taken more than 2000. Our staff totals 15, and in some cases, all of us will work on one project. Usually though, we’ll have 5 – 10 different projects running at the same time and we’ll have 1 – 3 people on each particular job.

What types of materials do you use?

MB: We typically use plastic to build our models. Plastic is (relatively) inexpensive, widely available and it’s easily cut, sanded, glued and painted. We also use quite a bit of wood, both for structural elements and finish elements. Of course we use a bunch of different types of solvents and adhesives, probably every type you can think of and then even more that you can’t.


What’s a typical size of a model?

MB: It’s not uncommon for us to build models over 8′ tall. The tallest model that we’ve built was about 13′ high. Also, we’re working on a project now that will have a base 12′ x 15′, it takes up quite a bit of floor space!


Do you have a favourite scale model?

MB: It’s tough for me to pick a single model that I like best, but one that comes to mind is  the 1:160 model of the Rogers Centre for Our Home and Miniature Land ( It was quite a challenge to figure out how to build the operable roof, and to see it in action is pretty exciting. It was probably a once in a career type project.


Interested in viewing our scale models? Visit our Sales Centres or the Minto Condo Store to see them for yourself!

Family Day in Toronto

It’s family day this weekend in Toronto and even with all this snow there’s a lot to do to keep warm and have fun with the whole family. Here are a few events around the city that we’re most looking forward to:


Family Day Fun Fest

clownOver 30,000 square feet of Downsview Park will be transformed into a massive indoor fun zone for the Family Day Weekend. Come and enjoy rides, jumping castles, interactive games, food, and strolling entertainers all weekend long.






Foodies will love this celebration of Canadian comfort foods this weekend! Warm up in the Distillery District with food trucks serving soups, stews, sauces, curries, gravies, and more. The Distillery District shops and restaurants will also feature fitness and dance activities to help keep you warm.




Family Day at the AGO


On February 16th, kids take over the AGO! The gallery will be filled with music and art-making inspired by the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibit Now’s the Time . Try beat boxing and breakdancing, “Tag” art-making, big floor games, and family yoga.




Marlies at the Air Canada Centre


Watch the Toronto Marlies take on the Binghamton Senators on Family Day! The first 8,000 attendees will receive Marlies mittens. Legoland will be there with their “Master  Builder” and providing give-aways and more.




The Great Canadian Chill

Great Canadian Chill

On Feburary 16th, be a part of the polar bear dips in Dundas Square to help raise awareness and funds to support the research and treatment of pediatric cancer. Come participate in a dip or just come cheer on the dippers!  Also check out the ice sculpting, food trucks, and kid’s zone.

Minto’s Commitment to Quality and Sustainability

Minto Sustainability

Minto has always had a strong commitment to quality. In 2009 we took this one step further by committing to providing third-party inspection and certification on every home we build. And because we know a third party will be inspecting everything we build, we spend time testing the homes ourselves at various stages of the building process. That way if we find any issues along the way, we can make changes as we build so that the home is built properly from the start.

This testing and inspecting process is led by our fearless Sustainability Team.  Like a research and development program, our Sustainability team is continually taking results of tests and feeding them into the designs of our projects, so that we’re constantly improving on everything we build. “The time it takes to build a home is short compared to the length that it is lived in, and so we want to ensure that it performs well over a long period of time, as it is intended to do” says Wells Baker, our Director of Conservation and Sustainable Design.

For a home owner, having your Minto home built with such quality has benefits. Since Minto always strives to be superior to building code, we are always ahead of the game as codes get better. “It ensures that when we build a home today, it is still built to code years from now, which retains the value in your home” explains Derek Hickson, our Manager of Sustainable Developments.

With a home that surpasses code, Minto ensures that everything we build is energy efficient, comfortable, and healthy for living. One leak in a home can impact the whole living experience, causing condensation, mold, and consequentially, health issues for those living there. Learn more about the benefits of our sustainable homes here.

Check out our video below to see how we test on things like a home’s “envelope”. The envelope needs to be built correctly right from the start, because unlike painting walls or installing new cabinetry, the house’s envelope can’t easily be changed once it’s built. Testing the envelope is just another way that Minto ensures that your home is built to the highest of standards!

Find out more about the benefits of Minto’s green features.

Goodbye 2014, t’was a great year!

Wow! Can you believe 2014 is almost over and that the New Year is just a few days away? It’s been a wonderful and eventful year at Minto, and we’re really excited for everything we have lined up for 2015. But first, let’s take a look at some of our biggest milestones and accomplishments of 2014:

Minto by the Numbers 2014

We couldn’t have reached all these awesome milestones without our purchasers and our great team – so, thank you!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Giving Back with the United Way

Giving back to the community is important to us, and that’s why we’ve chosen to support the United Way again this year. Many of you are probably familiar with the not-for-profit organization, as they operate many programs and initiatives around the world in hopes to help others improve their lives and better communities. From helping impoverished neighbourhoods to creating opportunities for youth, the United Way is constantly helping the community at large. Continue reading Giving Back with the United Way

Breakfast with the Builder

Over the past several weeks, we’ve been hosting breakfasts/evenings at Southshore (Etobicoke) and WaterGarden (Thornhill), where our residents have the opportunity to chat with the MasterCare Team, Green Team and the Construction Team. It’s been the perfect way to get representatives from Minto in the same room as the homeowners in case they have any questions or comments about their exciting purchase.

Besides answering any questions that our residents have, our teams also dole out green living tips, important information about their suite or house, discuss warranty issues and other things that we feel are important to talk about.

Our most recent event was last night at WaterGarden, where we hosted the evening in WaterGarden’s beautiful party room. Check out the pics – we believe it was a great success!

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We urge any of our homeowners to ask questions as they see fit – email your questions to, and we’ll forward them to the team so that you have an answer at the next Breakfast with the Builder in your community.