Canada's Wonderland

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Canada's Wonderland
Canada's Wonderland logo
SloganThrills Connect
LocationVaughan, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates43°50′30″N 79°32′35″W / 43.84167°N 79.54306°W / 43.84167; -79.54306Coordinates: 43°50′30″N 79°32′35″W / 43.84167°N 79.54306°W / 43.84167; -79.54306
OwnerCedar Fair Entertainment Company
General ManagerNorm Pirtovshek[1]
Opened23 May 1981 (1981-05-23)
Previous namesParamount Canada's Wonderland (1993–2006)
Operating seasonMay–October
Visitors per annum3,760,000 in 2017[2]
Area134 hectares (330 acres)
Roller coasters17
Water rides11

Canada's Wonderland is a 134-hectare (330-acre) theme park located in Vaughan, Ontario, a suburb approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) north of Downtown Toronto. Opened in 1981 by the Taft Broadcasting Company and The Great-West Life Assurance Company as the first major theme park in Canada, it remains the country's largest.[3][4] The park, currently owned by Cedar Fair, has been the most visited seasonal amusement park in North America for several consecutive years.[5] As a seasonal park, Canada's Wonderland is open daily from May to September, with weekend openings in late April, October and early November. With seventeen roller coasters, Canada's Wonderland is ranked second in the world by number of roller coasters, after Six Flags Magic Mountain (19 coasters) and tied with Cedar Point (17 coasters). The 134-hectare (330-acre) park includes a 8-hectare (20-acre) water park named Splash Works. The park holds Halloween Haunt, a Halloween-themed event, each fall, as well as special events throughout the season, including various food festivals, as well as "Celebration Canada", a month-long Canada Day festival, among others. Beginning in 2019, the park will launch WinterFest, a holiday-themed event that will extend the park's operating season to late December.

The park was known as Paramount Canada's Wonderland when it was owned by Paramount Parks from 1993 to 2006. Following Cedar Fair's purchase of the park in 2006, "Paramount" was dropped from the name. In 2017, it was the most visited seasonal amusement park in North America as well as the second most visited Cedar Fair amusement park, behind Knott's Berry Farm in California with an estimated 3.76 million visitors.[2]

Park history[edit]


When Canada's Wonderland was planned the region lacked a seasonal amusement park. Toronto had previously hosted two amusement parks which had roller-coasters, Sunnyside Amusement Park in the west end and Scarboro Beach Amusement Park in the east, but both were closed in the 1950s to build the Gardiner Expressway and housing developments, respectively. [6]


In 1972, the Taft Broadcasting Company, headed by Kelly Robinson, first proposed building a 134-hectare (330-acre)[7] theme park in the then small village of Maple, part of Vaughan, Ontario. Several other possible locations in Ontario were considered, including Niagara Falls, Cambridge, and Milton, but Maple was finally selected because of its proximity to the City of Toronto and the 400-series of highways.[8]

Others had seriously considered the Greater Toronto Area as a spot to build a theme park, among them the Conklin family (whose Conklin Shows ran various midways around North America, including Toronto's Canadian National Exhibition midway). Walt Disney also considered the idea before choosing Florida for Walt Disney World, rejecting Toronto mainly because of the seasonal climate would make the operating season too short to be profitable.[9]

Construction of the park was opposed on multiple fronts. Many cultural institutions in Toronto such as Ontario Place, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the operators of the Canadian National Exhibition felt that the Toronto market was not large enough to support more competition. Other groups that fought the building of Wonderland included a Vaughan residential association called SAVE, which thought the increased traffic would reduce property values. People in the region were concerned that the new park would be similar in aesthetics to a carnival or midway.[10][dubious ] Some of the concessions the company made included a landscaped berm around the park to reduce noise and modifying the appearance of the large parking lot. Taft was concerned about opposition and flew a group of opponents and regional councilors to Mason, Ohio (near Cincinnati) to show them the positive impact of one of its theme parks on the local community.

Canada's Wonderland was also responsible for changing the master development plan for the province of Ontario. The provincial government wanted to increase residential and commercial development to the east of Toronto in the Regional Municipality of Durham, which includes Pickering and Oshawa, while keeping the lands to the north of Toronto agricultural, as a Greenbelt. The Wonderland promoters were able to convince the province to amend the planning policy for the region, and the park secured infrastructure improvements, including a highway overpass and sewage systems, that were expanded and built out to the site. This infrastructure paved the way for increased development throughout the region.[10][dubious ]

During the park's development, it was decided that Wonder Mountain would serve as its centerpiece, as opposed to the replica Eiffel Towers found in its sister parks.

Concerns were also raised about the cultural implications of allowing an American theme park to open in Canada. Many felt that it would be a "Trojan Horse" for American culture. To counter the criticism, Taft planned to open Frontier Canada, a part of the park devoted to Canada's history. Early park maps show the area encompassing what is now Splash Works, White Water Canyon, the F/X Theatre and the southern part of Kidzville. Taft also proposed including a steam passenger train. While Frontier Canada was not realized until 2019, several original themes remain in the area. Unlike its sister parks, Kings Island and Kings Dominion, it was decided early that the centrepiece of the park would not be a replica of Paris's famous Eiffel Tower. Instead, the park's designers chose to build a massive mountain, known as Wonder Mountain, situated at the top of International Street. Wonder Mountain featured a huge waterfall and interior pathways that led visitors to a look-out point. Other planned elements that were never built include a hotel and conference centre, which was to have been constructed north of the park.[10][dubious ]

Construction and opening[edit]

On 13 June 1979, Ontario Premier Bill Davis depressed the plunger on an electronic detonating device at St. Lawrence Hall in downtown Toronto, triggering an explosion on the site. Construction began immediately and continued on to early 1981. Canadian companies were partners on the preliminary design and engineering of the project. Construction of the mountain alone involved a dozen local companies under Cincinnati engineer Curtis D. Summers.[11]

Canada's Wonderland was opened to the public in May 1981.

Two years later on 23 May 1981, Davis and Taft Broadcasting President Dudley Taft officially opened Canada's Wonderland to the public. The spectacular opening ceremony included 10,000 helium balloons, 13 parachutists, 350 white doves, and a pipe band. Four children, representing the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, and Great Lakes regions of Canada, each poured a vial of water from their home regions into the park's fountain. Hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky also appeared as a special guest, helping to raise the Canadian flag. 12,000 guests were welcomed into the park for the first time.[10] The park cost $120 million ($323 million in 2018 dollars) to build.[3]

Kings Entertainment and Paramount era[edit]

During the 1980s, Canada's Wonderland and the Loblaws supermarket chain mounted a cross-marketing campaign. Loblaws issued "Wonder dollars" based on customers' purchases, which were redeemable at Canada's Wonderland at par with the Canadian dollar on weekdays. The obverse of the coin featured Wonder Mountain, while the reverse featured the Loblaws logo.[12]

Kings Entertainment Company operated the park during the 1980s and early 1990s.[10] The park's former connection to Hanna-Barbera Productions lessened after Paramount Pictures raised its stake from 20% to full ownership of the park in 1993 and renamed it Paramount Canada's Wonderland. After Viacom bought Paramount in 1994, a successful attempt was made to bring families back to the park by attracting children with original Nickelodeon cartoon characters that were familiar to a new generation.[10]

The Black Hole is a water slide built during the first expansion of Splash Works in 1996.

Many changes occurred in the next decade. In 1996, Splash Works expanded, with a new water slide, a wave pool and a new child-friendly water playground (The Black Hole, White Water Bay and The Pump House). In 1998, the park expanded by adding KidZville, which was mainly designed for infants and children. In 1999, Splash Works expanded for the second time, with the addition of raft rides: The Plunge and Super Soaker.[13]

In 2001, a new themed area called Zoom Zone was added within the KidZville section. Three new attractions were built in that area: Silver Streak (a family roller coaster), Blast Off (a "frog hopper"), and Jumpin' Jet.[13] In 2002, the park unveiled Action Zone, a new themed area replacing the Exposition of 1890, which at the time contained already existing rides and added the Psyclone ride.

Splash Works also received its third and most current upgrade, with the addition of a child water playground area called Splash Island and the removal of Pipeline.[13]

On 11 May 2003, with the park packed with people for Mother's Day, two guests were involved in a fight at the front gates of the park, which led to a shooting death. It was thought to have followed a prior dispute involving the two over a drug exchange, according to York Regional Police. The park has since added metal detectors at the front gate, with additional security.[14]

In 2005, the park introduced Fearfest, a Halloween-themed event featuring haunted house attractions.

In 2005, the park introduced Fearfest, a Halloween event featuring various haunted house attractions in different themed areas. Though the section for smaller children was closed off, the park continued running many of the thrill rides during the event, such as the Thunder Run, in which patrons ride a mining type train through a mountain. During the Halloween season, it is re-themed as the "Haunted" Thunder Run, with a darker tunnel and more strobe lights, fog machines, and black-light lit scenes featuring the "skeletons" of miners.[15]

In 2006, the park introduced Spooktacular, a child-oriented Halloween event. The event included children's rides, costume contests and a treasure hunt. Spooktacular was open on weekends during the daytime, while Fearfest remained open at night.[16]

Cedar Fair era[edit]

On 14 May 2006, Cedar Fair Entertainment Company announced it was interested in acquiring the five Paramount theme parks, including Canada's Wonderland. The acquisition completed on 30 June 2006.[17]

Entrance to the park featuring its original name. The park reverted to its original name in 2007, after it was acquired by Cedar Fair.

In early January 2007, Cedar Fair began to drop the name "Paramount" from all of the former Paramount properties it acquired, as a result, the park has reverted to its original name of Canada's Wonderland. The 2007 season was a transition year throughout the park and included renaming the movie-themed rides since Cedar Fair did not hold the rights to Paramount film properties. By the start of the 2008 season, all Paramount logos and similar references had been removed.[13] In August 2007, Cedar Fair announced that Fearfest would become Halloween Haunt to remain consistent with most other Cedar Fair parks,[15] and that Spooktacular would be discontinued. In its place, the park extended its regular operating season until the last weekend in October. Halloween Haunt runs in the late evenings on October weekends.

On 4 May 2008, Canada's Wonderland opened a Bolliger & Mabillard hypercoaster called Behemoth, which held the record for the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada, standing at 70 metres (230 ft) and reaching speeds of 124 kilometres per hour (77 mph).[18][19][20]

On 19 July 2009, stunt performer Nik Wallenda walked on a tight rope from the pond area of Medieval Faire to Wonder Mountain.[21]

In 2011, Canada's Wonderland opened a 91.8-metre-tall (301 ft) WindSeeker, making it the tallest ride in the park until Leviathan opened in 2012.[22][23] The park also announced the addition of the Starlight Spectacular show, which started on 25 June 2011 and ended on Labour Day, 3 September 2011.[23][24] It was a nightly 'light and sound show' designed to celebrate the park's 30th anniversary; it was shown at 10 pm EST every night on International Street.[23] Canada's Wonderland stated that the total cost for the show was approximately $1 million,[25] with 16 million different colours and 300,000 LED lights.[23] While the show took place at the front of the park (International Street), the highlight was on Wonder Mountain, with many 3D images and colours.[25]

The tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada, Leviathan, was opened at the park in 2012.

In 2012, Leviathan, a Bolliger & Mabillard Hypercoaster (also classified as a gigacoaster) opened, surpassing the Canadian records set by Behemoth in 2008, becoming the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada.[6][26] Norm Pirtovshek, general manager of Canada's Wonderland, said that the Leviathan as a new attraction would help to spread out visitors. It was also described as part of a "roller coaster renaissance" where theme parks distinguished itself by introducing bigger and faster rides to attract guests. In addition to Leviathan, Canada's Wonderland also opened the Dinosaurs Alive! walk-through dinosaur exhibit.[27]

On 27 May 2012, for the first time in the park's history, Canada's Wonderland hosted a one-kilometre, 5-kilometre, and 10-kilometre run to raise money for the planned Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital that will be built on land once owned by Canada's Wonderland north of Major Mackenzie Drive.[28]

On 30 August 2013, Canada's Wonderland announced that Wonder Mountain's Guardian would open inside Wonder Mountain in May 2014. The attraction is an 4-D interactive dark ride from Montreal-based Triotech.[29] Park management also announced that SkyRider would close Labour Day, 2014.[30]

In October 2014, a man was fatally stabbed at Halloween Haunt.[31][32] SkyRider was removed at the end of the 2014 season and relocated to Cavallino Matto in Tuscany, Italy, as Freestyle in 2015.

Near the close of the 2015 season, Canada's Wonderland announced that two new flat rides would be added in 2016 — Skyhawk (a Gerstlauer Sky Roller) and Flying Eagles (a Larson International Flying Scooters).[33][34][35] Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimett also confirmed in December 2015 that virtual reality (VR) headsets would be added to Thunder Run in 2016. Available to riders for an additional upcharge fee, the experience is co-developed with Mack Rides, a German amusement ride company. The VR headgear is a type of head-mounted display that animates the entire field of vision to produce a 360-degree 3D experience.[36][37]

On 26 August 2016, Canada's Wonderland announced that a new flat ride would be added in the 2017 season: Soaring Timbers (a Mondial Inferno). The ride is stated to be the first of its kind in North America. The park also announced a Splash Works expansion for 2017 in the form of Muskoka Plunge, a 18-metre (60 ft) tall waterslide complex featuring four "trap-door" speed slides.

On 16 August 2017, Canada's Wonderland announced the addition of Flying Canoes for the 2018 season. Flying Canoes is an interactive family ride that will allow riders to control their journey of flight in two-person canoes that rotate speedily around a circuit. They also announced the addition of Lumberjack for 2018. Lumberjack is a thrill ride that will take guests soaring to heights of 23 metres (75 ft) on two swinging axe pendulums, propelling them into a looping 360-degree experience. In addition to these two attractions, the park announced an expansion to the Splash Island pool (located in Splash Works), which would double the size of the pool and include new interactive water features. The area was renamed to Lakeside Lagoon following these upgrades.

On 15 August 2018, Canada's Wonderland announced Yukon Striker, a B&M Dive Coaster. The ride will open to the public at the beginning of the 2019 season. The ride will feature a 75-metre-drop (245 ft) into an underwater tunnel in the centre of the Vortex helix. The ride will have a top speed of 130 km/h. Upon opening, the ride will be the tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster in the world and will feature four inversions, more than any other dive coaster, including the first vertical loop on a Dive Coaster.[38] They also announced the opening of Frontier Canada, a gold-rush-themed attraction area that will include Yukon Striker, Mighty Canadian Minebuster, Lumberjack, Soaring Timbers, Flying Canoes, Vortex, Timberwolf Falls and White Water Canyon. Canada's Wonderland also announced Winterfest, an immersive holiday-themed event.[39] In addition, Wonderland announced that Dinosaurs Alive! would be closing on 28 October 2018.

On 4 February 2019, Canada's Wonderland announced that Orbiter will not be opening for the 2019 season and has been removed.


Thrill rating (out of 5)
  1 (low)   2 (mild)   3 (moderate)   4 (high)   5 (aggressive)

Roller coasters[edit]

Expand table to see roller coaster information:


The park has several themed areas.[46] The five original sections include International Street, Medieval Faire, Grande World Exposition of 1890 (now known as Action Zone), International Festival, and the Happyland of Hanna-Barbera (divided into more than one kids area since 1998).[3] The current areas include the original sections stated above, White Water Canyon (1984), Splash Works (1992), and three children's areas: Kidzville (1998), Zoom Zone (2001) and Planet Snoopy (2010). In 2019, the park will introduce a new themed area, "Frontier Canada", a gold-rush themed section ] originally planned for the park's original opening in 1981, but was postponed due to financial issues.[47]

International Street[edit]

International Street is Canada's Wonderland entry area, and is lined with shops, restaurants.

International Street is the park's entry area, similar to the Main Street, U.S.A. sections of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Using a format borrowed from Kings Island and Kings Dominion, both sides of the street are lined with shops, including souvenir shops, clothing stores, restaurants, and candy stores. Wonder Mountain, the park's centrepiece, appears at the end of the street. In the early decades of the park's history, stores sold high-quality imported goods themed to the buildings, and restaurants sold non-standard foods for a North American theme park, such as shrimp, paella, and smoked sausage.[48]

The buildings are named the Latin, Scandinavian, Mediterranean, and Alpine Buildings.[3]

International Street has been claimed to fame by a number of shows such as

Projectors for Starlight Spectacular, a nightly light and sound show that takes place on International Street.
Shows Presented On International Street from 1981–Present
Show Year Opened Year Closed Description
Snoopy's Symphony Of Water 2014 N/A On an hourly/semi-hourly basis Snoopy Conducts the royal fountain in a dazzling spectacle, the park uses the dancing fountain from the nighttime spectacular Starlight Spectacular
Victoria Falls High Divers 1981 N/A Professional Divers perform acrobatic dives off a 18 metres (60 ft) platform from Wonder Mountain's Victoria Falls into the pool below
Starlight Spectacular 2011 N/A Starlight Spectacular is a nightly light and sound show that takes place on Canada's Wonderland's International Street at approximately 10:00 pm EST. The show was introduced to the park for the 2011 season as well to celebrate Canada's Wonderland's 30th birthday. Now known as "Starlight: Northern Reflections".
The Eruption 1998 2001 A nighttime Pyrotechnic Show with 12 metres (40 ft) flames smoke ash geysers and even more special effects, the park removed this show as it became very expensive to produce due to the park using liquid propane for large flame effects with minimal smoke. The show consisted of 3, 5-10 minute segments consisting of a 20/30 minute show, while the show lasted it drew large crowds to the front of the park. One of the most notable shows on International Street besides Starlight Spectacular the "new version" of eruption using modern day technology now available
Electric Circus (Annual) 1998 2001 Electric Circus (also known as EC) is a Canadian live dance music television program that aired on MuchMusic and Citytv from September 16, 1988 to December 12, 2003. The name originated from a nightclub that once existed at Citytv's first studio at 99 Queen Street East in Toronto. The show came to the park annually until 2001 when MuchMusic discontinued their partnership with Canada's Wonderland

International Festival[edit]

International Festival is an area that includes rides and midway games.

International Festival is located in the northeast section of the park. It includes rides and midway games and a mild Alpen theme.

Shockwave is a Top Scan ride in the International Festival section.
Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description
The Fly[49] 1999 Mack Rides A Wild Mouse roller coaster added as the eleventh roller coaster in the park. The ride begins with a 15 m (49 ft) drop, then returns up followed by a series of sharp turns, drops, then brakes.
Klockwerks[50] 1981 HUSS One of the original rides from when the park opened in 1981. Moved to its current location in 2001 after the introduction of Shockwave. Was originally known as Klockwurker (1981-1991).
Krachenwagen[51] 1981 Lusse Bros. A traditional bumper-car ride. Model: Auto Skooter.
Shockwave[52] 2001 Mondial A Mondial Top Scan that is located on the former site of Klockwerks before the attraction was relocated within the park. The ride spins around on an angle while guests (restrained on the seats) are spun around at almost every possible angle the ride operates on.
Thunder Run[53] 1981 Mack Rides A powered Mack Rides Blauer Enzian production model that was located in a different section of the park when the park first opened in 1981. In 1986, the ride was relocated to Wonder Mountain and the name changed to its current title. The ride uses a drive motor with a rubber wheel in the front of the train to drive it around the track, rather than a traditional lift.[42] Thunder Run makes two passes through Wonder Mountain at the centre of the park.
Wonder Mountain's Guardian[54] 2014 Triotech/ART Engineering A 4D interactive dark ride roller coaster located inside Wonder Mountain.

White Water Canyon[edit]

This area serves as an expansion to International Festival and was introduced with the addition of White Water Canyon (an Intamin River Rapids). The area features a woodland theme and is home to the parks water rides, as well as the Action Theatre. The area was also once home to a trampoline pad. This area will be replaced with Frontier Canada in 2019.

The Roadside Deli, near the entrance of the Action Theatre at the White Water Canyon section of Canada's Wonderland.
Ride Year opened Manufacturer Description Rating[55]
Action Theatre 1994 Iwerks Entertainment Action Theatre is a large "NON MOTION" Theatre, Previously and Originally Opening with Days Of Thunder or (DOT), Action Theatre Continued to present 4D Shows until 2012 when it was replaced with The Dinosaurs 4D movie becoming an uncharged attraction. At this point Canada's Wonderland Continues to use Action theatre South and Action Theatre North was Closed and now used as a Haunt Attraction During the park's Haunt season. The queue line was reduced with the introduction of Flying Canoes.In 2018, it comprises a 3D theater which houses the new Dinosaurs Alive! 3D movie which was introduced in 2012 (This movie uses a pay-per-use system). 4

Action Zone[edit]

Flags on display at the Action Zone. The area was originally themed to resemble an old world's fair.

Action Zone was originally The Grande World Exposition of 1890 and is one of the original four themed areas at Wonderland. It was made to resemble an old world's fair, with expositions from different countries, focusing on African and Asian themes.[3] The restaurants and washrooms were formerly true to the exposition theme. One of the restaurants was called Ginza Gardens (now The Backlot Cafe) and had a Japanese theme and a Japanese façade. There is also an arcade area (Crystal Palace Arcade) within this section of the park. The Mighty Canadian Minebuster, one of the original four roller coasters, is on the outskirts of the Action Zone and was intended to be the centrepiece of the never-built Frontier Canada.[56]

In 2002, Action Zone was created as a new themed area within the Grande World Exposition of 1890.[13] However, the entire area was later renamed Action Zone.

Behemoth is a large steel hypercoaster located in the Action Zone section of the park.
Situated in the Action Zone, the Sledge Hammer is the only ride of its kind presently operating in the world.
Ride Year Opened Manufacturer Description
Antique Carrousel 1981 Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters A carousel that was originally located in Palisades Park, New Jersey. The ride features 64 original hand-carved horses; the lead horse's name is Caesar. The carousel model number is PTC #84.[57]
Backlot Stunt Coaster 2005 Premier Rides A family LIM-launched roller coaster based on the chase sequence of the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. Riders launch into a parking garage, dodge police cars, and are attacked by a helicopter, which ignites fire all around riders before hitting a second launch section, sending riders into pitch black darkness. Was originally known as The Italian Job: Stunt Track (2005–2007).
Behemoth 2008 Bolliger & Mabillard A steel hypercoaster built by Bolliger & Mabillard, and the park's fifteenth roller coaster, beginning operation in May 2008. It is currently the second tallest and second fastest roller coaster in Canada, with a maximum height of 70 metres (230 feet) and a maximum speed of 124 km/h (77 mph). Rather than the standard, four-seat-across setup common in most B&M roller coasters, Behemoth features a new, "prototype" seating arrangement that has four seats arranged in a "V" formation.
Flight Deck 1995 Vekoma Canada's first inverted roller coaster and the ninth coaster added to the park. Was originally known as Top Gun (1995–2007).
Psyclone 2002 Mondial The 1-minute and 54-second ride features 40 seats facing outwards that rotate from a central pendulum as the ride reaches its maximum arc angle of 120 degrees.
Skyhawk 2016 Gerstlauer A Gerstlauer Sky Roller. Riders control their flight as their car spins in a circle 41 m (135 ft) in the air. It is the first ride of its kind in North America.
Sledge Hammer 2003 HUSS A HUSS Giant Jumper prototype. Currently the only ride of its kind in the world.
SlingShot[58] 2015 Funtime A pay-per-use slingshot launching riders nearly 91.5 m (300 ft) in the air.
Swing of the Century 1981 Zierer A Zierer Wave Swinger 36 model swing ride that rotates with a wave motion lifting riders up to 9 metres (30 ft) in the air. Was originally known as Swing of Siam (1981-1989).
Time Warp 2004 Zamperla A steel flying roller coaster. It was the thirteenth roller coaster added to the park, and Canada's first "Flying Coaster." Riders lie flat on their stomachs in a car suspended from overhead, in order to take in the experience face-first. The ride has two heartline rolls but no vertical inversions. Was originally known as Tomb Raider: The Ride (2004-2007).
WindSeeker 2011 Mondial A Tower swinger ride featuring two-person swings that slowly rotate and ascend the 91.8-metre (301 ft) tower until reaching the top where speeds increase up to 48 kilometres per hour (30 mph).[59]
Xtreme Skyflyer 1996 Skycoaster, Inc. Pay-per-use Double Skycoaster with a dive of 46.7 metres (153 ft). Currently Canada's largest free-fall swing.

Medieval Faire[edit]

The Medieval Faire is a section of the park where the setting, and most of its rides are medieval themed.

The Medieval Faire section of the park has a medieval European theme in both the setting and the rides. However, rides such as Drop Tower: Scream Zone and Speed City Raceway have no medieval theme. The two original roller coasters, Wild Beast and Dragon Fire had pseudo-Elizabethan English spellings (Wilde Beast and Dragon Fyre) before 1997. The stores, midway games and restaurants follow the medieval theme, as does the castle theatre (Wonderland Theatre, originally Canterbury Theatre and Paramount Theatre during Paramount's ownership) and a pirate show (originally opened with the park as Sea Sceptre and later replaced with Kinet-X Dive Show) in the middle of Arthur's Baye. Wonderland Theatre hosted ice shows from 2006 to 2011 and hosted Cirque Ambiente in the summer of 2012 and 2013.

Entrance to the Leviathan, a gigacoaster in the Medieval Faire.
Ride Year Opened Manufacturer Description
The Bat 1987 Vekoma A Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster. It was the seventh roller coaster added to the park. The Bat's train was originally from the park's Dragon Fire coaster. During the 2008 season The Bat's supports were painted orange.[60] The coaster returned to its original colour scheme (Red Track and Black Supports) in celebration for its 30th anniversary during the 2017 season.
Dragon Fyre 1981 Arrow Dynamics A steel custom looping roller coaster, featuring four inversions. It is one of the five roller coasters that debuted with the park in 1981. It contains a pair counter-clockwise corkscrews, the only currently operating coaster from Arrow Dynamics to feature this element. One of the three original trains is now used for The Bat. Was originally known as Dragon Fire between the 1997 and 2018 seasons.
Drop Tower: Scream Zone 1997 Intamin A drop tower ride. All the former Paramount Parks have a ride similar to this with different heights. Was originally known as 'Drop Zone: Stunt Tower' (1997–2007). One of three Intamin rides in Canada's Wonderland.
Leviathan 2012 Bolliger & Mabillard Bolliger & Mabillard's first installation of a gigacoaster, Leviathan, is the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada. It became the park's sixteenth roller coaster and ranks high among the tallest roller coasters in the world.
Night Mares 1981 HUSS Riders are lifted 15 metres (49 ft) in the air while spinning from a horizontal to vertical position, giving riders a mix of weightlessness and high g-forces. It currently one of last known operating rides of its kind in the world. Was originally known as Wilde Knight Mares (1981–1997).
Viking's Rage 1981 HUSS A HUSS swinging ship ride. Was known as The Rage between the 1997 and 2018 seasons, but the name was quietly reverted to Viking's Rage in early 2019.
Riptide 2000 Mondial A Mondial Splashover Top Spin. Was originally known as Cliffhanger (2000–2007).
Speed City Raceway 1997 J&J Amusements Go karts; pay-per-use
Spinovator 1981 Heinrich Mack GMBH & Co A Mack Calypso Teacups ride. Was originally known as Quixote's Kettles (1981–1997).
Wild Beast 1981 Curtis D. Summers/Taft Broadcasting A wooden roller coaster. It is one of the four roller coasters that debuted with the park in 1981. It is modeled after the Wildcat coaster at Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati, Ohio. Was originally known as Wilde Beaste (1981-1997).

Frontier Canada[edit]

Frontier Canada is a new area for 2019 that brings together all Canadian themed rides at Canada's Wonderland.[61] It is known as White Water Canyon from 1984 to 2018. The area is said to be modelled after a boom town found during the time of the Klondike Gold Rush, with most of its inspiration coming from Dawson City.

White Water Canyon is one of several rides planned to be added to Frontier Canada, a new section of the park slated to open in 2019.
Ride Year Opened Manufacturer Description
Yukon Striker 2019 Bolliger & Mabillard A B&M Dive Machine that will open to the public during the 2019 season. This dive coaster will have four inversions, a height of 68 metres (225 ft) with a drop height of 75 metres (245 ft), a top speed of 130 kilometres per hour (81 mph), and a track length of 1,105 metres (3,625 ft), making it the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in the world. The ride will also feature the first vertical loop for a dive coaster.
Mighty Canadian Minebuster 1981 Curtis D. Summers/Taft Broadcasting A wooden roller coaster. It is one of the four roller coasters that debuted with the park in 1981, and is one of three wooden coasters at Canada's Wonderland modelled after a roller coaster at Coney Island amusement park in Cincinnati, Ohio (The Shooting Star). It is also the longest single-tracked wooden coaster in Canada, with a track length of 1,166.8 m (3,828 ft).
Timberwolf Falls 1989 Hopkins Rides A "shoot the chutes" flume-style water ride. Riders plunge down a 15 metres (50 ft) drop into a pool of water that soaks riders.
White Water Canyon 1984 Intamin A river rapids style water ride. Riders traverse through a wooded forest with rapids, drops, waterfalls and other water effects. The ride was the first new attraction added to the park after its initial opening in 1981. One of three Intamin rides in Canada's Wonderland.
Flying Canoes 2018 Preston & Barbieri A canoe-themed interactive family ride. Flying Canoes will allow riders to control their journey of flight in two-person canoes. The ride has replaced Launch Pad.
Vortex[62] 1991 Arrow Dynamics A steel suspended roller coaster, similar to The Bat (formerly Flight Deck) at Kings Island (not to be confused with Wonderland's The Bat, which is of a different design). It was Canada's first suspended roller coaster when opened, and was the eighth roller coaster added to Canada's Wonderland. It shares Wonder Mountain with both Thunder Run and Wonder Mountain's Guardian for its lift and first drop, but the majority of the ride takes place over the open water behind the mountain, classifying the ride as a terrain roller coaster. It is also the tallest and fastest currently operating suspended coaster in the world, sharing its speed record with Ninja (Six Flags Magic Mountain).
Soaring Timbers 2017 Mondial A Mondial Inferno located across from Vortex.[62] The ride is stated as being the first of its kind in North America. Soaring Timbers features two free-rotating gondolas that rotate at a 45 degree angle, reaching heights of 20 metres (65 ft).
Lumberjack 2018 Zamperla A Hawk 48 that is located beside Soaring Timbers. The ride takes guests on two swinging pendulums, propelling them into the sky with their feet dangling through 360 degree loops, reaching heights of 23 metres (75 ft). The ride vehicles are themed to axes, and brings visual as well as aesthetic changes to the area consisting of a Canadian theme.

Children's areas[edit]

Planet Snoopy, based on the comic strip Peanuts, is one of two children's areas in the park.

The children's areas in Canada's Wonderland all began as The Happyland of Hanna-Barbera. The three areas were themed as Yogi's Woods, Scoobyville, and Bedrock; the first was converted to Smurf Village in 1984 and the last also had a marine mammal show held at the Bedrock Aquarium. In 1993, the Smurf area transitioned to Kids Kingdom, which became Kidzville in 1998. In 2003, Bedrock became Nickelodeon Central; Bedrock Aquarium and its marine mammal show closed down as well. Planet Snoopy, based on the comic strip Peanuts, replaced Nickelodeon Central for the 2010 season, standardizing the park with the rest of the Cedar Fair chain. A fourth themed area is Zoom Zone. Quite small, it is part of Kidzville. Created in 2001 with the debut of Silver Streak, it also contains the small rides Blast Off, and Jumpin' Jet. One of the Kidzville rides, and originally a Kids Kingdom ride, Jumbo Bumps, was removed to make way for these three rides and the new section. Starting in 2004, Zoom Zone was no longer shown on park maps as an independent section. However, since Cedar Fair's takeover, each of the three rides mentions it is in Zoom Zone, and park signage continues to use the name.[8]

The first ride accident in the park's history occurred on 23 August 2003, when the Jimmy Neutron Brainwasher (later renamed Woodstock Whirlybirds due to Cedar Fair's contract with Peanuts) fell apart. Three children were sent to hospital as a precautionary measure.[63]

Children's rides[edit]

Opened in 2003, The Pumpkin Patch is a ride located in the Planet Snoopy section of the park.

The rides in KidZville and Planet Snoopy, the two children's areas at Canada's Wonderland, are:[64]

Ride Manufacturer Location Year Opened
Blast Off S&S Worldwide KidZville 2001
Flying Eagles Larson International KidZville 2016
Frequent Flyers Bradley & Kaye KidZville 1981
Jokey's Jalopies Bradley & Kaye KidZville 1981
Jumpin' Jet Zamperla KidZville 2001
KidZville Station Mack Rides KidZville 1981
Maple Park Treehouse (formerly Candy Factory and Kids Kingdom) KidZville 1993
Silver Streak Vekoma KidZville 2001
Sugar Shack (formerly Flavourator) Zamperla KidZville 1998
Swing Time Zamperla KidZville 1998
Taxi Jam E&F Miler Industries KidZville 1998
Treetop Adventure (formerly Chopper Chase) Caripro Amusement Technology KidZville 1998
Boo Blasters on Boo Hill Sally Corporation Planet Snoopy 2000
Character Carrousel Chance Rides Planet Snoopy 1981
Dinosaurs Alive! Dinosaurs Unearthed Planet Snoopy 2012
Ghoster Coaster Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters Planet Snoopy 1981
Joe Cool's Dodgem School Lusse Brothers Incorporated Planet Snoopy 1981
Lucy's Tugboat Zamperla Planet Snoopy 2010
Peanuts 500 Zamperla Planet Snoopy 2010
The Pumpkin Patch SBF Visa Group Planet Snoopy 2003
Sally's Love Buggies Eureka Planet Snoopy 2003
Snoopy vs Red Baron Herschell Planet Snoopy 1981
Snoopy's Revolution Zamperla Planet Snoopy 2010
Snoopy's Space Race Intamin Planet Snoopy 1981
Swan Lake Bradley & Kaye Planet Snoopy 1981
Woodstock Whirlybirds SBF Visa Group Planet Snoopy 2003

Splash Works[edit]

Opened in 1992, Splash Works is a 8-hectare (20-acre) water park located within Canada's Wonderland.

Opened in 1992, Splash Works is a 8-hectare (20-acre) water park. The water park is home to Whitewater Bay, the largest outdoor wave pool in Canada,[65] and 16 water slides. It is included with the price of admission to Canada's Wonderland and is open during the summer months.

Ride Year Opened Manufacturer Description
Barracuda Blaster 2002 ProSlide Technology A bowl ride slide that leads into the Lazy River.
The Black Hole 1996 ProSlide Technology Two four-story enclosed water slides.
Lazy River 1992 Water Technology A 400 metres (1,310 ft) lazy river.
Muskoka Plunge 2017 SplashTacular A 18-metre-tall (60 ft) waterslide complex featuring four "trap-door" style speed slides.
The Plunge 1999 ProSlide Technology A three-seater raft ride featuring free-fall plunges in three drops totalling 15.3 metres (50 ft).
The Pump House 1999 Specialized Component Supply Co. A children's play area.
Riptide Racer 2002 ProSlide Technology Multi-lane racer water slide
Splash Island Waterways ProSlide Technology A tube slide for adults and children.
Splash Station 2015 A children's interactive play area that features two serpentine water slides, jet sprays, a large tipping bucket, and water guns. Moved from Ontario Place.
Super Soaker 1999 ProSlide Technology A family raft water slide.
Typhoon 2015 ProSlide Technology Two partially enclosed tube slides with funnels located where Wipe Out was once located. Moved from Ontario Place.
Whirl Winds 1992 ProSlide Technology Two open-air water slides.
White Water Bay 1996 Aquatic Amusements Associates Ltd. A wave pool. The largest wave pool in Canada.
Lakeside Lagoon 2018 N/A A kid's splash area featuring a zero depth pool, new children's slides and a Canadian theme. Replaced the Splash Island Kid's Pool.

Fast Lane and Fast Lane Plus[edit]

Fast Lane is Canada's Wonderland's 'two line' system since 2012, which is also implemented at other Cedar Fair parks. For a cost of $45 (in addition to normal admission charges), visitors receive a wrist band that enables them to bypass the 'normal-wait' line and enter the 'Fast Lane'. Opting for this benefit essentially allows purchasers to cut in at the front of the line on 21 of the most popular attractions without waiting. In 2013, the park introduced Fast Lane Plus, which allowed purchasers to bypass the lines of three additional attractions that standard Fast Lane users would otherwise not have access for an additional $10. An unspecified limited amount of both types of passes are sold each day.[66]

As of March 2019:[67]

Fast Lane Fast Lane Plus
Backlot Stunt Coaster Shockwave Behemoth
Drop Tower Skyhawk Leviathan
Flight Deck Sledge Hammer Yukon Striker
Klockwerks Swing of the Century
Krachenwagen Timberwolf Falls
Lumberjack Time Warp
Mighty Canadian Minebuster The Rage
Night Mares Vortex
Psyclone Wild Beast
Riptide WindSeeker
Soaring Timbers

Boarding pass for guests with disabilities[edit]

Similar privileges are given to guests with mobility issues and guests within the autism spectrum, though such guests must be accompanied with one other person at least 18 years of age (most often the support worker) for the entire duration of the ride and enter the ride at a designated time based on the length of the queue. Guests with these disabilities receive paper boarding passes in which ride operators mark the designated times these guests can enter a ride without queuing. Often, these guests enter either at the ride's exit or through the Fast Lane queue. Lazy River is the only attraction in Splash Works that accepts boarding passes.[68]


Today, Canada's Wonderland has over 200 attractions (including games), with over 60 thrill rides. The park holds a number of Canadian records, among them the most roller coasters, with 16.[69] A 17th coaster is being constructed for the 2019 season. The park encompasses eight themed areas on 134 hectares (330 acres) of land, with an artificial mountain as the central feature. In the southwestern quadrant, a 8 hectares (20 acres) waterpark called Splash Works has over 7,570,000 litres (2,000,000 US gal) of heated water, Canada's largest outdoor wave pool, measuring 3,300 square metres (36,000 sq ft), a lazy river, and 16 water slides.[8]

In 1983, Canada's Wonderland added the Kingswood Music Theatre, a 15,000 seat amphitheatre that has hosted many concerts. After the Molson Amphitheatre opened on the grounds of Ontario Place in 1995, cultural festivals at the theatre became less prominent.[8]

Major attractions by year[edit]

Current name in (parentheses) *Additions to Splash Works are italicized

Dragon Fire debuted in 1981, when the park first opened.
  • 1981: Park opens with:
Antique Carrousel, Balloon Race (Frequent Flyers), Bayern's Curve, Bedrock Dock "now operates at Carowinds as "Snoopy's Yacht Club", Blauer Enzian (Thunder Run-Opened in Wonder Mountain 1986),Dragon Fyre, Flintstone's Flyboys, Ghoster Coaster, Great Whale of China "now operates at Carowinds as "PEANUTS Pirates", Happy Landing (Swan Lake), Hot Rock Raceway, Klockwerks, Krachenwagen, Mighty Canadian Minebuster, Pharaoh's Eye, Wilde Beast (Wild Beast), Quixote's Kettles (Spinovator), Scooby Choo (KidZville Station), Shiva's Fury (The Fury), Sol-Loco (Orbiter), Swings of the Century, Wilde Knightmares (Night Mares), Viking's Rage, Wonder Tour, and Zumba Flume.
Opened in 1986, Thunder Run is a powered roller coaster that travels through Wonder Mountain.
  • 1986: Thunder Run (formerly Blauer Enzian)
  • 1987: The Bat
  • 1988: Racing Rivers
  • 1989: Timberwolf Falls
  • 1990: Jet Scream
  • 1991: Vortex
  • 1992: Splash Works: Whirl Winds, Body Blast, Splash Island Kiddy Slides
  • 1993: Kid's Kingdom play area (later renovated and renamed Candy Factory)
  • 1994: "Days of Thunder" – Motion Simulator Movie Ride (Action Theatre – Currently Playing "Monsters of the Deep 3D")
Top Gun (later renamed Flight Deck) was opened at the park in 1996.
  • 1995: Top Gun (Flight Deck)
  • 1996: Xtreme Skyflyer, Speed City Raceway; Splash Works: Wave Pool (White Water Bay), The Pump House, Black Hole
  • 1997: Drop Zone: Stunt Tower (later renamed Drop Tower: Scream Zone)
  • 1998: KidZville, James Bond – "License To Thrill" (feature at Action Theatre), Taxi Jam, The Edge Climbing Wall
  • 1999: The Fly; Splash Works: Super Soaker and The Plunge; "Dino Island II: Escape from Dino Island 3D" (feature at Action Theatre)
  • 2000: Cliffhanger (Later renamed Riptide), Scooby-Doo's Haunted Mansion (Boo Blasters on Boo Hill)
  • 2001: Shockwave; Zoom Zone (new kids area) including: Silver Streak, Blast Off and Jumping Jet; "Stan Lee's 7th Portal 3D" (feature at the Action Theatre)
  • 2002: Psyclone; Splash Works: Riptide Racer, Barracuda Blaster and Kids Sprayground
  • 2003: Sledge Hammer, Nickelodeon Central (replacing Bedrock), "Warrior of the Dawn" (in Action Theatre), "SpongeBob SquarePants 3-D" (feature in Action Theatre), Launch Pad (trampolines; requires separate fee)
  • 2004: Tomb Raider: The Ride (later renamed Time Warp); The return of "Days of Thunder" (feature at Action Theatre)
  • 2005: Italian Job: Stunt Track (later renamed Backlot Stunt Coaster)
  • 2006: "The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbara" (feature at the Action Theatre), Nickelodeon Celebration Parade, Hollywood Stunt Spectacular
  • 2007: Coasters 50s Diner, International Marketplace Buffet, Picnic Pavilion
  • 2008: Behemoth
  • 2010: Planet Snoopy
WindSeeker was opened in 2011.
  • 2011: WindSeeker, Starlight Spectacular
  • 2012: Leviathan, Dinosaurs Alive!,[27] Starlight Spectacular, "Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia 3D" (feature at the Action Theatre),[70] Fast Lane
  • 2013: "Monsters of the Deep 3D" (feature at the Action Theatre)[71]
  • 2014: Wonder Mountain's Guardian[72]
  • 2015: SlingShot, Splash Works: Typhoon and Splash Station, VIP Cabanas
  • 2016: Flying Eagles and Skyhawk, "Robinson Crusoe 3D" (feature at the Action Theatre), "Stars of the Peking Acrobats" (show at Wonderland Theatre), VR on Thunder Run
  • 2017: Soaring Timbers, "Our Canada" (feature at the Action Theatre), Cirque Canadien (show at Canterbury Theatre), Splash Works: Muskoka Plunge
  • 2018: Lumberjack, Flying Canoes, Splash Works: Lakeside Lagoon
  • 2019: Yukon Striker, Frontier Canada and Winterfest


Aerial view of the park in May 2011. The park is surrounded by urban development.

Canada's Wonderland is east of Highway 400 between Rutherford Road (Exit 33) and Major Mackenzie Drive (Exit 35), 13 km (8.1 mi) north of Highway 401, 6 km (3.7 mi) north of Highway 407 and 64 km (40 mi) south of Barrie. It is bounded by Highway 400 to the west, Jane Street to the east, Major Mackenzie Drive to the north and an access road approximately 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) north of Rutherford Road to the south. Originally when the park opened, its surroundings were largely rural, however, the suburban sprawl since the mid-2000s has resulted in it being surrounded by housing and shopping plazas on all sides. The park has two public entrances and one entrance for staff, deliveries, and buses.

Canada's Wonderland is located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) north of Vaughan Mills and 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) north of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station of the Toronto subway system.


The park, from its opening in 1981, was known as Canada's Wonderland. In 1994, when Paramount Pictures (later Viacom) purchased the property, the name of the park changed to include the word Paramount, a practice Paramount Parks implemented with all of its parks in 1993. Prior to that, none of the Paramount-owned parks included Paramount in the name.

In 2003, Viacom updated the logo of Paramount Parks, and all its theme parks, including Wonderland, to include an updated Paramount logo, even though the logo for Paramount Pictures, the film studio, remained unchanged.

In 2006, CBS Corporation (split from Viacom in 2005) sold all of its theme park properties to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which in turn, dropped the Paramount prefixes from all five parks (and thus reverted to their original names), and adopted a Cedar Fair logo and typeface.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]