A Guide To Canada’s Best Amusement Parks
Are you looking for your next big thrill this summer that involves a road trip? Then consider a drive to one of Canada’s fun-filled amusement parks.
Are you looking for your next big thrill this summer that involves a road trip? Then consider a drive to one of Canada’s fun-filled amusement parks. There are lots to choose from across our great nation and even if you don’t love rollercoasters there are plenty of other activities for the whole family to take part in.
Canadian National Exhibition – Ontario
Every year my son and I go to the Canadian National Exhibition – commonly known as “the Ex”. It’s open for the last three weeks of the summer and this year the dates are August 19th – September 5th 2016. It’s hugely popular among Canadians and last year attracted over a million visitors. There are tons of exhilarating adult rides such as the classic Mega Drop and Zipper; and some rides ideal for younger kids in the family section such as the Bumble Bee, Tea Cup and Merry Go Round. Our favourites are the Niagara Falls Flume and the famous Sky Ride with spectacular views of Toronto. Kids get in free to the CNE with the kids pass that is available on their website until August 18th.
Image: Miriam Porter
La Ronde – Quebec
This Montreal amusement park is currently open daily and will remain open weekends in September and October. La Ronde has daring thrill rides like the Cobra that is known for it’s crazy speed and the new Vampire Coaster that goes backwards; family rides such as the Disco Ronde with funky music; and kids rides such as the Air Papillon where children can ride a giant butterfly. There are also shows, events and shopping – and of course it’s the perfect opportunity to practice your French if you don’t speak it already.
Image: Massimiliano Pieraccini / Shutterstock.com
GalaxyLand Amusement Park – Alberta
This is a great choice in case of summer rain – as it’s all indoors at the West Edmonton Mall. It’s the world’s largest indoor amusement park with a huge assortment of activities and over 27 rides to keep everyone in your family busy. There is a Go-Kart Raceway, Ferris Wheel, mini-golf, and their newest addition called Crystal Labyrinth – a mirror maze. This Edmonton attraction is currently featuring “Pokepalooza” – that’s right, there are 22 Pokestops here – but please play safely.
By Qyd (talk · contribs) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0
Sandspit Cavendish Beach – Prince Edward Island
If you are a thrill seeker check out their cyclone roller coaster – it’s the largest in Atlantic Canada – with three racing drops and two corkscrew turns. Families can play mini golf or ride the 70-foot Ferris wheel for a spectacular view of the beach and park. There is also pit stop racing and lots of arcade games to choose from. They are open until September 5th so you still have time for a road trip to Cavendish in beautiful Prince Edward Island.
Upper Clements Park – Nova Scotia
This fun amusement park is located in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley and open until September 4th. With over 70 rides and attractions it’s no wonder it’s one of Atlantic Canada’s top destinations. Their Flume ride is really popular and they feature the only wooden roller coaster in the area, the Tree Topper, built in 1989. If you are traveling with kids they will love the classic Carrousel with smiling horses, kiddie Bumper Boats, and for older daring kids – the spooky Haunted House!
Photo Credit: CoasterBuzz.com
The Pacific National Exhibition – British Columbia
Vancouver is home to the famous Pacific National Exhibition, their annual summer fair since 1910. They are open from August 20th to September 5th (closed Monday August 22 and 29). There are over 50 amusement rides and midway games as well as tons of attractions including Playland, a separate area with rides that is currently open daily.
Perhaps you are daring enough to ride the Beast that will swing you 120 degrees in both directions up to 120 feet in the air at 90 km/h in a spinning seat – not for the faint of heart.
Photo Credit: By I, ThePointblank
Calaway Park – Alberta
Calaway Park in Calgary is currently open for their summer season. There are lots of exhilarating rides to choose from such as the Aeromax, which simulates what it’s like to fly in a crop duster plane, and the Adrenaline Test Zone that spins you high off the ground in circles. Families of all ages can ride the Balloon Ascension, the Carousel, or Baja Buggies, a fun 4 x 4 adventure ride. Calaway Park is just west of Calgary along the TransCanada Highway and set among the bottom of the majestic Rocky Mountains.
Photo Credit: By Qyd – Own work
Centreville Amusement Park – Ontario
If you have young children and prefer a more low-key amusement park experience, check out Centreville. Located just a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto you can see the spectacular views of the Toronto skyline on your journey. (There are lots of parking lots where you can leave your car for the day to hop on the ferry). Centreville’s Log Flume ride has been around since I was a child and now my son and I laugh together as we zoom over the water; and the Haunted Barrel Works always leaves us shuddering and screaming in delight. Centreville is surrounded by 600 acres of parkland and we go several times over the summer months not only for the rides at Centreville, but to feed the wild Canadian geese that call the island home, enjoy a homemade picnic lunch, and rent a two-seat Quadricycle from Toronto Island Bicycle Rental to explore the island’s beaches, parks and little winding roads.
Image: Miriam Porter
Tinkertown Family Fun Park – Manitoba
Tinkertown near Winnipeg is currently open for the summer season and will remain open for a few weekends into September. There are lots of children’s rides such as the Kiddie Swing, Frog Hopper and Bugly the Whale. Or try their massive Jumping Pillow for tons of bouncy fun; or their unique Streamliner Miniature Train – a 1950’s vintage G-16 powered by a 4-cylinder Wisconsin gas engine. Tinkertown is located in Springfield and is accessible via the TransCanada highway.
Canada’s Wonderland – Ontario
This famous wonderland is currently open for summer hours and will remain open weekends into October. If driving, take Highway 400 North or South to Rutherford Road in Vaughan. If you are looking for thrill rides this is the place to be. If you dare, take a ride on the Behemoth, a roller coaster that goes as fast as 125 km/hour zipping down at a 75 degree angle and up to 230 feet in the air; or the Leviathan, one of the biggest and tallest roller coasters in the world. And of course there is always the Minebuster, a favourite from my youth that will race you along a wooden track with breath-taking drops and crazy turns. If you are traveling with kids stop by Planet Snoopy, KidZville or Dinosaurs Alive for a family experience.
Image: Peter Albrektsen / Shutterstock.com
Stay tuned for my next article that features some of Canada’s best water parks where you can cool off from the summer heat.