Guest Author: Anonymous (aka Curious George)
I think the Canada pavilion is one of the prettiest in the World Showcase, but I might be biased! When I first saw the Canada pavilion, more than 20 years ago, there were a lot more flowers in the replica of Bouchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia than there are today. Everyone sees the garden, but what you may not know is that the flowers will also change depending on the season. In winter, there are a lot more white flowers, to symbolize snow, then as spring comes, they plant more colourful (that’s how we spell it up here) flowers where it is sunny, but there are still white flowers in the shady areas because the snow takes longer to melt without sunlight. The gardens are full colour in the summer. Such is the detail of Disney! The mountain range is actually a replica of a section in the Rockies, on a slightly smaller scale of course! This is an excellent example of Disney’s use of forced perspective. The trees on the mountain are actually in giant dumpster-like containers, with the smallest trees on top to make them appear further away. As they grow, the baskets can be moved down the mountain, allowing an ever-changing landscape. At least it was a beautiful landscape until they dropped that giant blue box in behind it for Soarin’ and ruined it. The original plan for that big box was to sculpt the outside so that it blended in with the mountain range, but clearly budget cuts were an issue. Every time I see it, I get irritated. It’s so not the way Disney is supposed to do things. I mean, this is the company who tinted the Tower of Terror to match the Morocco pavilion (look carefully, from the entrance to World Showcase, you can see it in the background). But I digress…
I think they did a really nice job with the pavilion overall. We have lots of green space. The big totem pole was actually hand-carved at EPCOT and is a single piece of wood with a great hidden Mickey. That and the face cutouts on the walkway (a fun photo-op) were an attempt to incorporate some of the Native Indian culture. The shop is in a trading post style building, which is a tip to the fur traders. They do actually carry some things we have at home, like Coffee Crisp chocolate bars and sports team memorabilia, and things we are famous for like maple syrup. I often wonder if anything was supposed to go in the replica building of the Hotel Laurier in Ottawa, our nation’s capitol. Its a big building to leave empty. Personally, I like anything that incorporates the maple leaf into the design so the picket fence on the lagoon works for me. What doesn’t work you might ask? The lumberjack shirts and construction boots the cast members wear! Seriously? Of course that brings the question of what costume should replace it? Stereotypical, but I would probably choose hockey jerseys that incorporate the maple leaf or Canadian flag. Really, we wear what Americans wear, but that’s hardly the type of outfit Disney is looking for and we don’t have anything historical like they used at the American pavilion, because we are such a young country, only being established in 1867. At least nothing without fur, which really would not work well as a costume in the Florida summer heat!
As to the entertainment, the old O’Canada circle vision movie was horribly embarrassing because it was so dated. I truly hope no one actually thought that was representative of Canada, but I suppose the 70’s which was when it was filmed, were bad all over! It always made me wonder how people from Norway, China and France see their movies, and if they were accurate portrayals of their country. I used to be thankful that it was hidden way in the back, I suspect many people never knew it was there. The new movie is much better! Martin Short makes me laugh and being in the middle of the Musical Ride (what we call the Royal Canadian Mounted Police performance) is very cool. I actually like that he starts out by poking fun at some stereotypes about Canada (it really doesn’t snow here 24/7). I go watch it every trip, with pride. I also love to watch Off-Kilter, although again, I don’t listen to that kind of music at home. I usually sit back against the railing by the lake, because we like people watching. I am amazed at the number of people who do “drive-by photography”. They snap a photo as they walk by on their way to do something else, but what memory is attached to that photo? Do you do drive-by photography? The entertainment in each of the countries is worth stopping for and we have been trying to make sure we see some of those performances every trip. If you haven’t seen Off Kilter, I do hope you’ll stop on your next trip to see them.
Canada is the second largest country in the world by land mass. We are made up of 10 provinces and 3 territories. Canadians are a very patriotic people. I always wear a Canada t-shirt when we go to EPCOT, to show my national pride, and always wear a Mickey Canada pin on my lanyard the whole trip. I don’t know how Disney could capture the diversity of Canada in one pavilion, but I think they made a very valiant effort. I hope you will all come to Canada sometime to see the real thing!
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