Canada's Wonderland is a 330 acre amusement park located in Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, a suburb directly north of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The park is open seasonally from May to October and contains more than 200 attractions (including games) in eight differently themed areas. It opened in 1981 and was Canada's first major theme park and is still today the largest and most popular theme park in Canada. Under the ownership of Paramount Parks from 1994 to 2006, it was known as Paramount Canada's Wonderland. When sold to Cedar Fair in 2007, the park reverted to its original name.
The park has been the most attended seasonal theme park in North America for numerous years in the 2000s. Almost every year in the decade, the park's attendance has reached the three million mark, slightly higher than that of other major destination parks such as Kings Island, Knott's Berry Farm and Cedar Point, the three being sister parks to Wonderland. It also holds the record for most roller coasters in a park outside of the United States, with 16, including, Leviathan, which is currently under construction.
In 1972, the Taft Broadcasting Company, headed by Kelly Robinson, first proposed building a 330 acre 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.
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, rejecting Toronto mainly because the climate was too cold, making the operating season too short to be sustainable.
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 felt the increased traffic would reduce property values. People in the region were concerned that the new park would be similar in esthetics to a carnival or midway. Construction began immediately and continued on to early 1981. Canadian companies partnered on the preliminary design and engineering of the project and helped to mould the dream into a reality. Construction of the mountain alone involved a dozen local companies under Cincinnati engineer Kurt Summers. The park cost $120 million to build.
In 2006, the park introduced Spooktacular, a Halloween event geared towards children. 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. Due to very low attendance, Spooktacular only lasted one season.
On 14 May 2006, it was announced that Cedar Fair Entertainment Company was interested in acquiring the five Paramount theme parks, including Canada's Wonderland. The acquisition was completed on 30 June. As a result, in early January 2007, Cedar Fair began to drop the "Paramount" name from all of the former Paramount parks, and the park is currently referred once again by its original name: Canada's Wonderland. The 2007 and 2008 season marked a transition year of removing "all things Paramount" throughout the park, which included the renaming of some of the rides. By the start of the 2008 season, the Paramount logo and similar references had been removed.
In 2011, Canada's Wonderland opened a 301 ft WindSeeker, making it the tallest ride in the park (until Leviathan opens in 2012). The park also announced the addition of the Starlight Spectacular show, which started on 25 June 2011 and ended on Labor Day, 3 September 2011. In July 2011, Cedar Fair released a game called Amazement Park on Facebook which can only be accessed by Facebook users. The game features many rides from all the Cedar Fair parks. Rides from Canada's Wonderland include Shockwave, WindSeeker, Behemoth, Drop Tower and many other attractions.
In August 2011, Canada's Wonderland officially announced a new ride for the 2012 season. Leviathan will be the park's tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster, as well as the tallest and fastest in Canada.
The park has several themed areas. The four original sections are: International Street, Medieval Faire, Grande World Exposition of 1890 (now Action Zone), and the Happyland of Hanna-Barbera (renamed Hanna-Barbera Land).
The buildings are named the Latin, Scandinavian, Mediterranean, and Alpine Buildings.
The Grande World Exposition of 1890 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. However, the entire area was later renamed Action Zone. Despite the name change, signs at the entrance from International Street still retain the old name.
The Mighty Canadian Minebuster, one of the original four roller coasters, is on the outskirts of the Grande World Exposition of 1890 and was intended to be the centrepiece of the never-built Frontier Canada.
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. In 1993, the Smurf area transitioned to Kids Kingdom, which became Kidzville in 1998. In 2003, Bedrock became Nickelodeon Central, featuring Rugrats, ', The Wild Thornberrys, and Dora the Explorer themed rides, leaving only Scoobyville and the swan ride as is.
|Bolliger & Mabillard
|Steel roller coaster
|Steel inverted roller coaster
Suspended Looping Coaster | style="text-align:center;"|1995 |Vekoma |- |The Fly |Steel Wild Mouse | style="text-align:center;"|1999 on 2 May |MACK Rides |- |Ghoster Coaster |Wooden roller coaster | style="text-align:center;"|1981 |Philadelphia Toboggan Company |- |Leviathan |Steel Giga Coaster | style="text-align:center;"|2012 in May |Bolliger & Mabillard |- |Mighty Canadian Minebuster |Wooden roller coaster | style="text-align:center;"|1981
|Ride||Ride Manufacturer and/or Type||Height Requirement||Location||Thrill level|
|Action Theatre||Motion Simulator||Over 44" or with an adult||White Water Canyon||High|
|Antique Carrousel||Carrousel||Over 46" or with adult||Action Zone||Low|
|A-Mazing Adventure||Children's Maze||Under 54"||KidZville||Low|
|Backlot Stunt Coaster||Premier Rides launch coaster||Over 48"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|Barracuda Blaster||Pipe flume||Over 48"||Splash Works||Aggressive|
|The Bat||Vekoma boomerang coaster||Over 48"||International Festival||Aggressive|
|Behemoth||Bolliger & Mabillard hyper coaster||Over 54"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|Black Hole||Speed slide||Over 48"||Splash Works||Aggressive|
|Blast Off!||Jumping Rocket Ship||Over 36"||KidZville||Mild|
|Body Blast||3 Body Flumes||Over 48"||Splash Works||High|
|Boo Blasters on Boo Hill||Interactive dark ride||46" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Candy Factory||Children's Playground||Under 54"||KidZville||Low|
|Character Carrousel||Carousel||Over 46" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Low|
|Chopper Chase||Over 42" or with adult||KidZville||Mild|
|Dinosaurs Alive!* (2012) +||Planet Snoopy|
|Dragon Fire||Arrow Dynamics steel coaster||Over 48"||Medieval Faire||Aggressive|
|Intamin AG Gyro Drop/or Giant Drop||Over 54"||Medieval Faire||High|
|Flavourator||Over 44" or with adult||KidZville||Mild|
|Flight Deck||Vekoma inverted coaster||Over 52" but under 78"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|The Fly||Steel coaster||Over 54" or over 44" with adult||International Festival||High|
|Frequent Flyer||Under 50"||KidZville||Mild|
|Ghoster Coaster||Philadelphia Toboggan Company wooden coaster||Over 46" or over 40" with adult||Planet Snoopy||High|
|Joe Cool’s Dodgem School||Bumper cars||Over 38" but under 54"||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Jokey’s Jalopies||Over 46" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Jumpin’ Jet||Over 42" or with adult||KidZville||Moderate|
|KidZville Station||Over 40" or with adult||KidZville||Mild|
|Klockwerks||Over 48" or over 44" with adult||International Festival||Moderate|
|Krachenwagen||Bumper Cars||Over 48"||International Festival||High|
|Launch Pad +||Bungee Trampoline||White Water Canyon||High|
|Lazy River||Lazy river||Over 42" or with adult||Splash Works||Mild|
|Leviathan* (2012)||Bolliger & Mabillard giga coaster||Medieval Faire|
|Lucy’s Tugboat||Over 42" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Mighty Canadian Minebuster||Philadelphia Toboggan Company wooden coaster||Over 48"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|Nightmares||Over 54"||Medieval Faire||High|
|Orbiter||HUSS SkyLab||Over 54"||Action Zone||High|
|PEANUTS 500||Over 42" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|The Plunge||Family raft slide||Over 48" or over 40" with a PFD and with adult||Splash Works||Aggressive|
|Psyclone||Mondial swinging pendulum ride||Over 54"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|Pump House||Water playground||Splash Works||Low|
|The Pumpkin Patch||Over 44" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|The Rage||Swinging Ship||Over 54" or over 44" with adult||Medieval Faire||Moderate|
|Riptide||Mondial splash over||Over 54"||Medieval Faire||Aggressive|
|Riptide Racer||8 lane mat slide||Over 40"||Splash Works||High|
|Sally’s Love Buggies||Over 44" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Shockwave||Mondial Top Scan||Over 54"||International Festival||Aggressive|
|Silver Streak||Vekoma suspended family coaster||Over 44" but under 76"||KidZville||High|
|SkyRider||TOGO stand-up coaster||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|Sledge Hammer||HUSS Giant Jump 2||Over 54"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|Snoopy’s Revolution||Children's Ferris wheel||Over 44" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Snoopy’s Space Race||Under 60"||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Snoopy vs. Red Baron||Over 32" but under 60"||Planet Snoopy||Mild|
|Speed City Raceway +||Go-Kart Track||Driver: Over 58" but under 78"
Passenger: Over 40" but under 78". Passengers between 40" and 58" must be with adult
|Spinovator||Spinning tea cup ride||Over 48" or over 44" with adult||Medieval Faire||Moderate|
|Splash Island Kiddie Pool||Children pool||Under 54" or with adult||Splash Works||Low|
|Splash Island Kiddie Slides||Children water slides||Under 54"||Splash Works||Low|
|Splash Island Sprayground||Interactive water playground||Under 60" or with adult||Splash Works||Low|
|Splash Island Waterways||Children's raft slide||Over 36" or under 36" with adult||Splash Works||Moderate|
|Super Soaker||Family Raft slide||Over 48" or over 40" with a PFD and with adult||Splash Works||Aggressive|
|Swan Lake||Swan ride||Over 48" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Low|
|Swing of the Century||Rotating swing ride||Over 48"||Action Zone||Moderate|
|Swing Time||Low level rotating swing ride||Over 36" but under 54"||KidZville||Low|
|Taxi Jam||Children's coaster||Over 40" or over 36" with adult||KidzVille||Mild|
|Thunder Run||Mack Rides steel coaster||Over 54" or over 44" with adult||International Festival||High|
|Timberwolf Falls||Shoot-the-Chutes||Over 46"||White Water Canyon||High|
|Time Warp||Zamperla steel flying coaster||Over 54"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
|Vortex||Arrow Dynamics steel suspended coaster||Over 48"||International Festival||Aggressive|
|White Water Canyon||Intamin raft water ride||Over 48" but under 76"||White Water Canyon||High|
|Wild Beast||Philadelphia Toboggan Company wooden coaster||Over 48"||Medieval Faire||Aggressive|
|WindSeeker||Mondial high rotating swing ride||Over 52"||Action Zone||High|
|Whirl Winds||2 intertwining speed slides||Over 48" or over 40" with PFD||Splash Works||High|
|Whitewater Bay||Wave pool||Over 42" or with adult (Under 48" requires life jacket)||Splash Works||Moderate|
|Woodstock Whirlybirds||Over 40" or with adult||Planet Snoopy||Moderate|
|Xtreme Skyfler +||Skycoaster||Over 48"||Action Zone||Aggressive|
- + Denotes the requirement that guests pay an additional fee for the ride or attraction.
- * Denotes that the ride is under construction
Canada's Wonderland is on the east side of Highway 400 between Rutherford Road (Exit 33) and Major Mackenzie Drive (Exit 35), 13 km (8 mi) north of Highway 401, 6 km (4 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 Rutherford Road to the south. Formerly quite isolated when the park opened, it is surrounded by housing on all sides since the mid-2000s. It has two public entrances and one entrance for staff, deliveries, and buses.
Regular transit access is provided by York Region Transit (YRT), while GO Transit, Brampton Transit, and MiWay all run special services. The bus loop at Wonderland is located near the northeast corner of the park, and is accessible from the service entrance on Jane Street, north of Major Mackenzie Drive. Transportation to the Wonderland Terminal is available from the following of the regional transit organizations:
- Toronto Transit Commission on behalf of York Region Transit: Toronto – Route 165 Weston Road North bus to Canada's Wonderland from York Mills subway station via Wilson subway station. Extra fare is required north of Steeles Avenue.
- Mississauga Transit: Route 88, express, non-stop trip between Canada's Wonderland and Mississauga's Square One Shopping Centre.
- York Region Transit: Route 20 Jane-Concord provides service along the Jane Street corridor from York University to Teston Road. YRT Route 87 Langstaff-Maple serve the park from nearby stops on Jane Street.
- GO Transit: Wonderland GO Bus Service (Route 60) from York Mills Bus Terminal and Yorkdale Bus Terminal.
- Brampton Transit: Route 66 from Bramalea City Centre.
York Region Transit used to provide express Magic Wonderbus service from Newmarket and Markham, but this was discontinued for the 2007 season. As well, beginning with the 2009 season, Route 4 Major Mackenzie no longer serves the Wonderland bus loop.
The park from its opening in 1981 was known as Canada's Wonderland. In 1994, when it was sold to Paramount Pictures (later Viacom), they changed the name of the park to include the word Paramount, something Paramount Parks did with all of its other parks in 1993. Prior to that, none of the Paramount-owned parks had the Paramount prefix.
The logo was completely changed to match the style of the Paramount Parks logo, as well as their other theme park properties, which all had the same styled logos, including the Paramount prefix, and the Paramount Pictures mountain logo.<ref name=CW Logo's />
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.<ref name=CW Logo's />
In 2007, 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 gave the logos the Cedar Fair logo and font style.<ref name=CW Logo's />
- Paramount Parks
- List of amusement parks in the Americas
- Incidents at Cedar Fair parks