By JIM HILDEBRAND
TWILLINGATE — Alan Strang of Vancouver, British Columbia has a goal in mind.
The CEO of Flying over Canada Productions Inc. is building a major new tourist attraction at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver. Canada Place is the home of the Vancouver Convention Centre and the Vancouver cruise ship terminal. The attraction is designed to entertain cruise ship passengers, convention delegates, other tourists and the many local residents who visit Canada Place. He is hoping that his attraction will be thrilling up to half a million guests a year.
Mr. Strang can hardly restrain his enthusiasm as he explains the concept.
The ride will use the latest in virtual flight ride technology where 60 guests at a time will be lifted up in the air in a series of open air pods. The pods will be launched out in front of a giant 20 meter wide half-spherical screen. They will move in concert with the film which will all be shot at the point of view from a helicopter. The effect will be of a completely immersive flying experience.
The ride is designed to be a gentle experience suitable for all ages. The desire is that people of all types will be able to take in the grandeur of our great nation by seeing it from a unique perspective. There will be thrills as guests soar over iconic Canadian landscapes and swoop down to see Canadians interacting with our wonderfully diverse landscapes. To complete the immersive effect the ride will also include wind and scent effects. It will be the first of its type in Canada when it opens in the spring of 2013 in Vancouver.
“The screen is unique in that it is as wide as many of the larger IMAX screens but is more spherical (actually a half-sphere) with guests peripheral vision able to see image on he screen,” he said. “The effect is a convincing immersive environment.
“As far as locations go, we intend to shoot coast to coast in about 15 locations. We have not confirmed all our locations but intend to represent Niagara Falls, the fall colours of central Canada and the Prairies, Rocky Mountains, and Western coastline. We plan to shoot in each of the four seasons.”
For Canada’s right (east) coast, Mr. Strang chose two locations in Newfoundland with Twillingate being the first to be filmed. Gros Morne will also be a filming site.
“We originally discovered Twillingate looking at footage of Newfoundland and as we did further research on beautiful places to see in Canada, Twillingate remained a constant,” said Mr. Strang.
Accompanying Mr. Strang to Twillingate was the president of the Themed Entertainment Association and founder and chief creative officer of FAR OUT! Creative Direction, Rick Rothschild.