Here's what Toronto can expect from the soon-to-open FlyOver Canada attraction
Toronto is set to welcome a new world-class tourist attraction in 2024 with the planned opening of FlyOver Canada at the base of the CN Tower.
The flying "4D" theatre simulator ride will take riders on a 6,000-kilometre virtual journey across the country, suspended in front of a 23-metre spherical screen as they're blasted with sounds, sights, smells and even mist effects in what amounts to a sense-bombarding spectacle.
But what is it actually like to ride it?
Construction has yet to begin for the show building, designed to evoke Canada's prairie and mountain landscapes, but FlyOver's other locations around the world offer up a pretty good idea of what Toronto can expect out of its forthcoming attraction.
Thanks to some unusually severe desert rain and a cancelled flight home due to the massive snowstorm to hit Toronto last week, I somehow became a repeat rider on the relatively new FlyOver Las Vegas attraction, which includes a show dedicated entirely to the Canadian Rockies.
And despite the hefty Las Vegas Strip tourist prices, I'd probably do it again.
After killing some time during a deluge of rain with the main American West show (I'd recommend it just for the preshow cowboy's cheesy accent spewing off adjectives like "rugged" and "untamed"), another weather-related delay had me itching to get on an actual plane, but a second visit to FlyOver would have to suffice.
"Windborne - Call of the Canadian Rockies," definitely amped up the feeling of homesickness, produced in collaboration with Parks Canada with a focus on underscoring the connection between overwhelmingly beautiful landscapes and the Indigenous peoples who have inhabited them for millennia.
After receiving a ticket designed to look like an airline boarding pass, riders queue in a pre-preshow room with images of the Canadian West (or related to whichever show they're about to see) before moving on to a circular main pre-show room where they are treated to a preview of their flight and a safety briefing.
Next, riders buckle in for the main attraction, where they are blasted with mist effects corresponding with snow, water, and clouds in the film, and scents like wildflowers and the smoke of campfires. If you are into immersive experiences, this is a real treat.
FlyOver Canada's existing attraction out in Vancouver might offer an even better preview of what is to come in Toronto, with a film that includes a coast-to-coast aerial tour of the Great White North.
The headliner film in Vancouver begins in the Maritimes, through the fjords of Gros Morne, up the white waters of a Canadian river, above the (decade out-of-date) Toronto skyline, through the mist of Niagara Falls, over the beauty of cottage country and the vast prairies, high into the rugged Rockies, before finally arriving in the cosmopolitan coastal city of Vancouver.
While one could assume FlyOver would just use the same film for its upcoming Toronto attraction, I'd be willing to wager that only some of the footage would be re-used.
Even the brief glimpse of Toronto shown in the current film would look wildly out-of-date for anyone familiar with the ever-changing cityscape, and with at least another year until opening and no visible construction just yet, the 2013 footage will only look more dated as new towers pierce the downtown skies.
Since building that first ride out in Vancouver, FlyOver has expanded to Bloomington, Minnesota, Reykjavik, Iceland, and, most recently, their Las Vegas attraction in 2021.
So while the 2013-built Vancouver attraction does indeed offer an idea of what the ride film might look like, the Vegas version is probably closest in terms of ride effects and technology to what will open in Toronto.
As for the price, a single adult rider will pay between $31 and $34 CAD for a ride at the Vancouver attraction, and a steeper $36 USD for the Vegas version. There are deals on multiple rides and kids, but it will all add up to a pretty expensive use of under an hour for a family.
That being said, I will probably be among the first in line to see what the attraction has to offer Toronto in 2024 if all goes according to schedule.
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