Every time I fly over Canada, I’m overwhelmed by the majesty of our country’s natural beauty. The mighty Rockies, the golden Prairies, the idyllic Maritimes, the breathtaking beauty of our national parks and the twinkling lights of our mighty cities look so much more impressive from 36,000 feet.
I wish every Torontonian could experience what I’ve seen.
Well, soon they will — without ever leaving Toronto or boarding a plane.
Thanks to a company called Pursuit, Torontonians and visitors to Canada’s largest city will be able to get a bird’s eye view of our country’s wonders on a giant flight simulator aptly named “FlyOver Canada.” Unfortunately, though, they’ll have to wait until 2022, because that’s when the doors to Toronto’s FlyOver Canada will officially open. Construction begins near the base of the CN Tower in 2020.
The flagship FlyOver Canada ride opened in Vancouver in 2013 to great success. Pursuit, owners of the FlyOver brand, recently won the right to build a Toronto version — between the Rogers Centre and Ripley’s Aquarium — on property owned by the Canada Lands Company, the Crown corporation that oversees the federal government’s real estate holdings.
Above: The new FlyOver Canada thrill ride will be located near the CN Tower.
Vancouver’s FlyerOver Canada has attracted more than three million visitors from 40 different countries since opening in 2013 and Toronto’s version promises to be even more successful, thanks to the city’s huge draw from bordering U.S. states like New York and Michigan. Pursuit also intends to build similar FlyOver experiences in Las Vegas (opening in 2021) and Reykjavik, Iceland.
“FlyOver Canada in Toronto will showcase the beautiful landscapes and iconic vistas across the country, while highlighting the diversity of Canada and its people,” said Pursuit’s president David Barry in a press release.
The state-of-the-art ride “utilizes advanced audiovisual technology to reveal some of Canada’s most awe-inspiring sights in a way that guests have never experienced before,” according to a press release announcing Pursuit’s Toronto expansion.
Up to 60 guests at any one time will be seated, their feet dangling, before a 23m x 17.5m spherical screen as the 3D film whisks them Peter Pan style on an exhilarating eight-minute journey across Canada. In the blink of an eye, guests will travel more than 6,000km and get to experience some incredible special effects — wind, mist, scents and lots of motion — along the way. Riders get to glide over snow-capped mountains, feel the spray of Niagara Falls and almost touch the trees in alpine forests.
A few years ago I got to experience a similar ride at Orlando’s Disney World. It whisked me over the vineyards, coastline and cities of California and the sensation was something I won’t soon forget. Disney uses the same technology for its highly successful Avatar ride. With Canada as the backdrop, though, Pursuit’s Toronto attraction promises to be even more spectacular and uplifting.
After being launched, FlyOver Canada riders will get to see and experience:
• Schooners gently bobbing on the choppy waters off Canada’s east coast;
• Giant icebergs floating in Newfoundland’s Iceberg Alley;
• Dawn breaking over Hudson’s Bay;
• Breathtaking fjords of Gros Morne National Park;
• Watch kayakers navigate the water’s of Quebec’s Riviere Rouge;
• A dip into the thundering waters of Niagara Falls;
• Nighttime Toronto light up like a Christmas tree;
• Glide over the pointed peaks of Banff’s Craggy Mountain;
• Cheer on heli-skiers as they swoosh down B.C.’s snowy runs;
•And witness the jaw-dropping Northern Lights.
The FlyOver Canada Toronto will be able to host private events and while the entrance fee has not yet been set, the Vancouver experience costs $31.50.
For more information, please visit https://www.flyovercanada.com/toronto/