On the northern outskirts of Toronto, just as the city turns from bustling metropolis to busy suburbia to peaceful countryside, and surrounded on one side by highways and on the other by trees and farms, sits the biggest theme park in all of Canada: Canada’s Wonderland.
Canada’s Wonderland; a land of joy and happiness, where the happy laughter of children is interspersed with the roar of roller coasters and the thrilled shrieks of their riders. Where artificial rivers and artificial jungles give visitors shady strolls, and riders of the White Water Canyon ride get soaked in man-made rapids. Where the world’s longest lazy-river meets Canada’s biggest waterpark, and where thousands of hungry guests lap up the cuisine of a hundred different countries on artificial “International Street”. Welcome to Canada’s Wonderland!
Canada’s Wonderland was first opened on May 23rd, 1981. Ontario Premier Bill Davis cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony while 10,000 helium balloons floated up past a team of 13 skydivers, and a Canadian landmark was born. At $120 million, the park was the most expensive theme park in Canada at the time. Originally owned by Kings Entertainment Group and Loblaw’s grocery store chain, Canada’s Wonderland consisted of about 20 attractions, including 4 large roller coasters and 2 water rides.
Wonderland was originally associated with Hanna Barbara, which invested in the construction of a kid’s zone with peewee-sized rides all geared around the Flintstones, Scooby Doo and other Hanna Barbara staples. In 1994 Paramount bought a 20% stake in Wonderland, giving them majority control over the park, and the name “Paramount” was added to the park. Paramount invested heavily in the park and in the 12-year period between 1994 and 2006 no less than 30 new attractions and a world-class water park were added. In 2006, however, Paramount began to shed its lineup of them parks, and Cedar Fair Entertainment acquired Canada’s Wonderland.
Between 2006 and 2008 the name “Paramount” was dropped from everything in the park and several of the major roller coasters Paramount had built were renamed. Cedar Fair also brought a new strategy to the park. Whereas Paramount tried to build one major attraction every year, Cedar Fair has decided to build one massive record-breaking roller coaster every few years. In 2008 the world’s biggest “hypercoaster” was opened, named “Behemoth”. The record-busting monster was put to rest in 2012 with the opening of the even bigger “Leviathan”, currently the longest and fastest roller coaster in the world (although Cedar Fair is presently looking at building a park in London and outdoing itself with roller coasters there).
Canada’s Wonderland receives more than a million visitors every year. Average ticket prices are $30 per adult, although partnerships with local businesses often reduce that price (for instance, buy Wonderland tickets at any 7-11 in Ontario for $24). Seasons passes offer significant discounts for families who live near the Greater Toronto Area, and for the large sub-culture of Wonderland enthusiasts (there are Wonderland fan clubs and roller coaster afficiondo groups who spend every waking hour at Wonderland).
In 1992 the Water Works waterpark was opened, and included the tallest waterslides and the biggest wavepool in Canada. In 1994 Paramount built the world’s longest “lazy river” to circle the waterpark, where people can float down a man-made river in an inner tube, through different types of man-made terrain such as jungle and desert. Water Works, and every other attraction in the park, is included with the price of admission.
With more than 200 attractions, including 60 “thrill” rides (roller coasters and other adrenaline-pounding rides), on 330 acres of Toronto suburban land, 2 million gallons of water and a 20,000-seat amphitheatre for big-ticket concerts, Canada’s Wonderland, the biggest theme park in Canada, is the true land of fun, thrills and wonder.
Timberwolf Falls has to be felt to be understood. The people watching usually end-up wetter than the riders. Just watch this video to see for yourself!
Built in 1995, Flight Deck (originally Top Gun) was revolutionary for the way riders hung suspended from under the tracks. Check it out!
The Wild Beast is one of the original four and also one of the North America’s oldest wooden roller coasters. The ride is so rickety and violent that jarring bruises and mild concussions are part of the fun. In fact, the Wild Beast feels so shaky and unstable that one truly feels they could die at any moment when they are riding it, making it a true thrill-seekers roller coaster!
Dragon Fire, the original high-speed coaster and an old-time favourite of every visitor: