Why settle for fireworks on Canada Day when you could scale Niagara Falls and soar over the Rocky Mountains?
The best view at Vancouver’s Canada Place celebrations this Wednesday will actually be indoors. FlyOver Canada, the coolest 4D simulated aerial attraction this side of Walt Disney World, is hosting a Canada Day Fireworks Party that gives you a birds-eye view of the entire country while dangling from a swooping chairlift.
The party within a party begins at 8 p.m. A $50 ticket gives you unlimited access to the flight ride, a poutine-and-burger feast supplied by Vera’s Burger Shack and a front-row seat for the 10:30 p.m. fireworks display over Coal Harbour on their outdoor “flight deck” at the end of the Canada Place Pier.
Now, we’re not usually huge fans of touristy theme-park attractions. But we decided to give FlyOver Canada a preview whirl and can honestly say that this eight-minute thrill ride is a mind-blowing trip. It won’t just make you proud to call yourself a Canuck, it will reprioritize your bucket list. Hello, gorgeous Prairies. Where have you been all my life?
The 30-minute experience starts off kind of hokey, with a short preshow in a standup theatre. Five modern Heritage Minutes-style stories are projected onto the surrounding walls, replete with ninja rock climbers and a mawkish grandfather-granddaughter kite-flying scene. The film quickly becomes annoying, not just because the sightlines are terrible, but because of head-scratching oddities such as a street hockey scene with kids all wearing Vancouver Canucks jerseys in a neighbourhood that was obviously shot somewhere in Eastern Canada. Those tourists won’t know the difference.
From there, attendants sporting Calgary Stampede hats will lead you into the “boarding zone,” where you must stand in line on little circles just like Grade One students on a field trip and watch an orientation video that exploits every Canadian cliché in the book, from fur-capped lumberjacks to toothless hockey players.
Then the fun begins. Everyone gets a front-row seat in the converted IMAX theatre with its 20-metre spherical screen. Put your flip flops in the pouch under the seat and buckle up, because this ride really does dip, swing and fly.
As the lights go down, the seats surge forward into a black abyss. “Woo hoo!” everyone squeals, gripping the armrests tight.
The sun rises at the crack of dawn as we sail over a northern icepack in Hudson Bay. Just as suddenly, we swing hard to the side, tilt back and drift alongside a green-glowing, 10,000-year-old iceberg off the coast of Labrador, pull up alongside a schooner in Newfoundland and dip down a rollercoaster of a cliff in Gros Morne National Park.
“This is awesome!” the little girl beside me cries. “It is!” I shout back, trying not to knock her out as I spread my arms to fly. (Sorry, kid.)
In the blink of an eye, we splash through the Riviere Rouge rapids feeling the special effects water on our cheeks and glide down the Coast Mountains next to heliskiers with the wind rushing through our hair.
The only bummer is that the ride ends way too soon. We wander out giggling. Good thing we didn’t smoke up first. That truly was a trip in itself.
Would you try FlyOver Canada? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below, or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.