By Jane Nahirny, Editor in Chief, British Columbia Magazine
“Is this going to be scary?” the middle-aged woman asked as she took her seat beside me. “No,” I assured her with a smile as I clicked myself into the shoulder harness.
The iconic white building with its five massive fiberglass sails attracts a whopping three million visitors each year. On a sunny, late summer day, I joined their ranks to check out the $16 million ride—the first of its kind in Canada.
As if on cue, floatplanes rumbled in the sky above me as I walked around the pier to the attraction’s main entrance. Inside the air-conditioned facility, I was shepherded, along with about 40 other people, into a darkened theatre. There we watched “Uplift,” an audio-visual preshow with a focus on Canadian culture. Heart-pounding music provided an upbeat soundtrack to the visually arresting scenes that were projected on the faceted walls around us. I did feel uplifted, but also relaxed and ready for the main event.
Next, we were taken into the “boarding zone,” where we were given a safely briefing before being led by flight attendants into the long, narrow main theatre. After we strapped ourselves into the high-backed seats, the lights dimmed and the magic began. Magnificent aerial scenes played before us on a 20-metre-high semi-spherical screen as we soared from coast to coast, over icebergs, mountain peaks, lakes, river gorges, prairie expanses, and cities. Suspended in mid-air, our gondola-like seats gently rose and fell and tilted back and forth. The movement and the breathtaking videography, filmed by Whistler-based Sherpas Cinema, gave me the dreamy sensation that I was piloting the experience myself.
I won’t divulge any more details of the virtual flight, other than to say that it is a fully immersive experience that includes wind, mist… even scent. After the ride ended and the lights came back on, I turned to the woman beside me. “Well, how did you like the ride?” I asked.
“Wow,” she said. “I loved it. I just wish it hadn’t ended.” And therein lies the only problem with the eight-minute ride. Once you’ve experienced it, you’ll want to FlyOver Canada—again, and again, and again.
For a preview, check out the video:
FlyOver Canada is a family friendly (ages four and up) attraction. Open year round, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Regular admission: $19.95 (Adult); $17.95 (Senior, Youth, Student); $14.95 (Child). A special Halloween-themed pre-show will run every evening between 4:30 and 9:00 p.m., from October 17 through November 2, 2013. flyovercanada.com
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