Vaughan, Ontario, Canada
“When quantity is preferred over quality”
National Roller Coaster Day is celebrated on 16 August. It’s obvious that this holiday should be celebrated in an amusement park. And in the very best case, that park should have LOTS of roller coasters. That’s why we spent National Roller Coaster Day at Canada’s Wonderland in 2017. This isn’t just the largest park in the Canada, but it’s also home to an astonishing number of roller coasters. During our visit, the park had a total of 16 credits. I’m usually a dark ride and entertainment lover, but this park definitely woke up the coaster nerd in me. And although we didn’t manage to get all of the credits, my coaster counter got an enormous boost nonetheless.
It’s impressive to offer 16 roller coasters, but I’ll start with the bad news: a majority of these coasters isn’t special at all. Canada’s Wonderland is home to a shaky Vekoma SLC, an even more painful Zamperla flying coaster, a wild mouse, a boomerang and several mediocre wooden coasters… and that’s not even the entire list. Quantity seems to be very important at Canada’s Wonderland, that’s for sure.
Fortunately, there are a few exceptions. Let’s start with Leviathan, the most iconic coaster at Canada’s Wonderland. Thanks to its height of 93 metres and a top speed of 150 km/h, this is a true giant. Leviathan isn’t only tall and fast, but it’s incredibly smooth as well. The only thing I miss, is a decent track length. Leviathan measures nearly 1,700 metres and that isn’t short at all, but it really feels like they’re throwing away a ton of power at the end. Trains reach the final brake section at full speed and those brakes are installed about 30 metres above ground level. Why oh why didn’t they add an extra airtime hill and/or a helix here? Due to this disappointing final part, Leviathan didn’t become my favourite ride at Canada’s Wonderland.
Canada’s Wonderland is one of those typical Cedar Fair parks with more than one B&M Hyper Coaster. And in my opinion, the older and slightly smaller Behemoth is superior to Leviathan. While Leviathan feels a little too short and it lacks a decent ending, Behemoth offers a pretty long layout full of power. We get to ride Behemoth twice in the back seat and that’s truly a phenomenal experience. This coaster treats us with tons of airtime and the g-forces are quite intense. Behemoth is without a doubt my favourite ride at Canada’s Wonderland and it becomes even better in the dark.
Back Lot Stunt Coaster is a roller coaster which I’ve admired for many years. That’s because I liked The Italian Job and its famous Mini Cooper scene. The moment I realised that there was a roller coaster based on that particular movie scene, I got ecstatic. Unfortunately, the current state of the ride leaves much to be desired. Most theming elements were removed and there are literally zero special effects left. Bummer.
Arrow Dynamics isn’t that famous in Europe, but they have built many classic coasters in North America. One of them is Vortex. This suspended coaster’s first drop generates high speeds, which are maintained throughout the entire ride. Add some very tight turns and swinging gondolas and you get a quite intense ride experience. There are some minor bumps along the way, but it’s not annoying in my opinion. I didn’t expect it, but I actually liked Vortex very much.
Canada’s Wonderland is mainly a destination for thrill junkies. Families aren’t forgotten, though. With Planet Snoopy and KidZville, the park offers two large children’s areas. These are enormous playgrounds full of colourful decorations and many cute rides. One of the main draws is Boo Blasters on Boo Hill, an interactive dark ride. It’s not the greatest attraction of all time, but at least it’s better than the park’s other dark ride: Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. Honestly… I’m not sure whether this should be defined as a dark ride or as a roller coaster, but it’s not that special anyway. This ride (which has been built in the park’s eye-catching Wonder Mountain) is slow, decorations are too simple and most 3D-graphics are poor.
Canada’s Wonderland doesn’t only offer lots of roller coasters. There’s a huge amount of flat rides as well. There are classics (such as an Enterprise, a frisbee and a free fall tower) as well as more unique ride types. Skyhawk is such a less common ride: you board a single-seater plane, in which you try to make inversions by flipping the wings. You could consider this as Wonderland’s cardio workout, because it takes a serious effort to turn upside down. Another uncommon flat ride is Sledge Hammer. This impressive ride consists of six gigantic robot arms that are launched upwards with an ear-splitting sound. It looks extremely intense, but the level of thrill is actually pretty mediocre. Sledge Hammer offers some good airtime and a butterfly-in-the-stomach kind of feeling, but it’s much less nauseating than you’d expect it to be.
WORTH A VISIT?
Canada’s Wonderland is the largest and most-visited amusement park in the country. At first sight, that seems legit: with 16 roller coasters, it’s on par with well-known parks like Cedar Point and Six Flags Magic Mountain. However, there is one huge difference: the quality of those coasters. At Canada’s Wonderland, there are only two great coasters and a few good ones. However, a majority of the coasters wouldn’t be missed if they were removed. And that’s exactly the park’s weak point: high quantity versus mediocre quality. It seems as if this park was designed by an extremely enthusiastic Roller Coaster Tycoon gamer. This guy is constantly adding new rides and coasters, but he doesn’t like decoration or very unique attractions. Don’t get me wrong: I really don’t hate Canada’s Wonderland. The B&M coasters were great, the children’s area was beautiful and the park atmosphere was good. I just expected the park to be slightly more memorable.
GRANDE WORLD EXPOSITION
KIDZVILLE & PLANET SNOOPY
What’s your favourite coaster at Canada’s Wonderland? Which ride would you add to this park? And does Canada deserve more big amusement parks? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.