Wonder Mountain. It’s a feature that dominates the view as you walk through the gates of Canada’s Wonderland to begin your day of adventure. The mountain’s sturdy rock face and horseshoe-shaped Victoria Falls are flanked by massive trees, between which unfolds the crystal blue waters of the Royal Fountain. At the forefront of this awe-inspiring image is the iconic Canadian flag garden made of thousands of red and white begonias.
Writing it out, it almost seems like we’ve concocted something from a fairy tale. Yet this is the image that greets each and every guest, each and every day. You see, everyone wants to talk about the daredevil roller coasters, the performances and the food. And they’re all amazing, don’t get us wrong. But today, when the beginning of summer is officially upon us, we want to talk about the landscaping. There is a massive amount of work and dedication that goes into cultivating and maintaining the natural elements of this world-class amusement park. The rides and the entertainment are what make Canada’s Wonderland exciting. The landscaping is what makes it magical!
Just take a stroll down International Street, and you will know what we mean. As your feet tread the interlocking brick path, you’re surrounded by shade trees. Weeping birches and robust pines that are decades old make this promenade truly majestic. These trees have been a part of Canada’s Wonderland since it opened forty years ago! “It’s amazing to look back at photographs from those early years and see how tiny the trees were, compared to how massive they’ve grown since,” says Grace Peacock, Director of Communications. “They provide a great canopy for shade and overall atmosphere. The park’s landscaping really does contribute to the guest and associate experience at all times of the year.”
That’s the word right there: atmosphere. Wonderland is not just about the rides, it’s about the feeling of being in another world. Without the landscaping, the gardens and the trees, walking such a sprawling park with no natural elements to enjoy along the way might otherwise be drudgery. In the height of summer, the streets would be parched without the flora. With so much in bloom, the atmosphere does wonders for overall morale—of the guests and the staff. Grace says, “We are very proud of the park, its gardens and landscaping. We have crab apple blossoms in spring, beautiful annual garden displays during the summer, bold fall colours during autumn and now in winter the park is just stunning covered in snow.”
As we’ve mentioned, though, it takes a massive amount of effort to maintain this atmosphere. We’re talking 330 acres! Approximately 6,000 trees and 75,000 shrubs call the park home. And in an average season, the Wonderland landscape team plants 10,000 bulbs and 50,000 annuals. In addition to the hanging baskets, planters and garden beds (which all need to be weeded), staff also maintain and weed 3.3 million paving stones throughout the year.
The Canadian flag garden, for example, takes 10 people an entire day to complete—that’s just one garden. That iconic feature requires a grand total of 5,000 red and white begonias every year. “The floral flag garden is a park tradition and we’ve had one every year since opening in 1981,” Grace states. “We feel it’s a great tribute to our country and a welcoming symbol for guests to see when they first come in through the gates.”
There has been so much uncertainty these past two years, and so many traditions we have not been able to enjoy. But this season, Canada’s Wonderland will be welcoming visitors through its gates, and has an extensive coronavirus reopening plan in place. If you are planning to attend this year, we’re issuing a challenge: In between coasters, funnel cakes, rides and waterpark fun, take a moment to notice the gardens, the trees, the overall landscaping. Notice how they make you feel, how they transport you. Notice how beautifully they are maintained throughout the entire season. These are the natural elements that help make Canada’s Wonderland truly wonderful, and they wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of the entire Wonderland team!
A note on reopening protocols from the team at Canada’s Wonderland:
“When Canada’s Wonderland reopens, we want you to have an AMAZING day and feel safe when visiting, so we developed an extensive coronavirus reopening plan – new processes and enhanced procedures throughout the park to help reduce the spread of germs. We’re all in this together and by working together you can safely and confidently enjoy the thrills, giggles, and endless smiles that only Canada’s Wonderland can deliver.”
For more information, visit the park’s website at:
1 Canada’s Wonderland Drive,
Story by Katherine Ryalen