I attended an event preview of FlyOver Canada’s Christmas Plaza and presentation as a media guest. Nevertheless, all opinions in the following post are my own.
No matter how much you love the place you live in, there will always be parts of it that visitors are better informed about than you. I was reminded of that one summer several years ago, when my Ontario-born partner and I decided to take a touristy staycation, and then again in 2011, when Tourism Vancouver ran a promotion for locals in celebration of Vancouver’s 125th anniversary.
Canada Place is one of the parts of Vancouver where locals are far outnumbered by visitors. So it’s nice that the businesses in the district are working together this Christmas to get the locals down there. The Winter Waterfront District includes a tree lighting celebration on December 6th, holiday lights, Christmas at Canada Place, and Christmas at FlyOver Canada.
Though FlyOver Canada has been open since June of this year, I’ve only had a vague awareness of what it’s all about. So, when I actually experienced it, I was going in without any preconceptions. The pre-show reminded me of the pavilions at Expo ’86 (yes, I was there), four walls of beautifully shot scenes meant to gear up the audience for the main event. In between, we were led into a staging area, where the safety video introduced the holiday theme. The ride itself isn’t jarring, but I don’t think I was the only one who felt like they were suspended in mid-air, cruising over mountains and valleys. Even though I knew that in reality we were on a platform in front of an enormous concave screen, I found myself hanging onto the seat grips at some points as though I was really flying. The multi-sensory aspects of the experience are mostly successful, especially when the audience is spritzed with a little mist as the film takes us through areas of high cloud. And the holiday add-on, which asks the audience to help Santa find his missing reindeer, thrilled the kids at the performance I attended.
Overall, I was impressed by the experience and a little embarrassed that I didn’t know more about it before. They’ve also made the most of their setting atop Canada Place, creating an outdoor festival area with food stands, performances, and ice sculpture displays. It’s a great way to cap off a visit to Christmas at Canada Place, but be sure to buy your tickets online – there’s a discount, which adds up for families. There’s also a holiday deal that’s worth checking out, which includes treats from the outdoor vendors. And be sure to enjoy the views – they’re some of the best downtown.