Canada’s Wonderland Park History

Today we focus on the history of our local park, Canada’s Wonderland. Since we’re only a few short weeks from the 2012 season, let’s take a quick look back at the history of the park (sourced from the Canada’s Wonderland site):

The Park, that entertains millions annually, first opened for guests in 1981.

Following an extensive site selection process by the Park’s developers, Maple (Vaughan) was finally chosen as the ideal location, due to its close proximity to Toronto and 400 series highways.

Initial construction of the Park commenced in April, 1979. During construction, Canadian companies partnered on the preliminary design and engineering of this massive project that involved 12 architectural and engineering firms and over 700 trades people. The Park sits on a 379 acre plot, 300 of which are currently developed.

Wonderland Concept Artwork

Two years later, on May 23, 1981, Canada’s Wonderland was officially opened by then Premier of Ontario, William Davis, during a spectacular ceremony that included 10,000 helium balloons, 13 parachutists, 350 white doves, a pipe band and 4 children representing the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, and Great Lakes regions of Canada.

1986 Park Brochure

In 1993, Canada’s Wonderland was acquired by Paramount Communications Inc., becoming part of its Paramount Parks division. Shortly thereafter, Canada’s Wonderland became Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, reflecting the Park’s new association with Paramount Parks.

Paramount Canada's Wonderland Logo

On 14 May 2006, it was announced that Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. was interested in acquiring Canada’s Wonderland. The acquisition was completed on 30 June 2006. As a result, in early January 2007 the Park referred back to its original name, “Canada’s Wonderland”.

Cedar Fair’s dedication to providing the best in family entertainment and guest service has kept guests coming back year after year. Today, with eleven amusement parks, six water parks, and one indoor water park, Cedar Fair is one of the largest and most successful amusement park operators in the world.

Each season, Canada’s Wonderland has introduced new attractions and features, investing an additional $250 million since the Park first opened.

In 1983, Wonderland built the Kingswood Music Theatre, a state of the art 15,000 seat amphitheatre that has played host to many of music’s major artists. Currently, Kingswood hosts more than 20 Cultural Festivals each season, featuring world renowned acts from across the globe.

In 1992, Canada’s Wonderland became two parks in one with the addition of Splash Works, a 20 acre water park. Splash Works boasts Canada’s largest outdoor wavepool and over two million gallons of heated water attractions, including 18 speed slides and interactive water features.

And most notably, throughout the Park’s first quarter century of operation, Wonderland has introduced some of North America’s most popular ride attractions, including such favourites as Fligth Deck, The Fly, Drop Tower, The Bat, SkyRider, Vortex, Psyclone and Silver Streak. Behemoth®, which premiered in 2008, sets the stage for thrills with a climb to a height of 230 ft (70.1M), followed by an adrenaline pumping 75 degree drop with speeds reaching 125 kilometers per hour in 3.9 seconds, and a track length of over 5,300 ft (1,616M).

Aerial view of the park in 2011

In 2011, the park continued to add to its extensive roster of rides with the addition of WindSeeker, a 32-person swing ride that ascends 301 feet (91.7M) and spreads it’s metal arms, swinging riders at a 45-degree angle at speeds up to 50 kilometers per hour.

New this summer at Canada’s Wonderland is one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world; Leviathan. Riders will climb to a record breaking 306ft (97.7M) followed by and exhilarating 80 degree drop, reaching speeds of 148 kilometers per hour. Leviathan with be the Park’s 16th coaster and now positions Canada’s Wonderland as one of the top coaster destinations in the world!

Also premiering this summer is Dinosaurs Alive! – a seven acre dinosaur park, with more than 40 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. This Jurassic themed environment will feature fun and educational exhibits including an interactive dig site!

With over 200 attractions, 69 rides, Splash Works, great live shows and more, Canada’s Wonderland is the perfect summer destination!

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