Canada’s Wonderland Opening Year Vintage Photographs

In 1981, the Taft Broadcasting Company, along with Great West Life, opened up Canada’s first theme park, Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan (Maple), Ontario. Other regions were considered for the park such as Niagara Falls, Cambridge and Milton. Maple was decided on due to its proximity to Toronto and the access via the 400 highway.

1981 - June 8 - View of Canada's Wonderland main entrance1981 – June 8 – View of Canada’s Wonderland main entrance

A dozen construction companies began building Canada’s Wonderland in April of 1979 and they completed it 2 years later. For the opening ceremony, on the 23rd of May in 1981, special ceremonies included 10,000 helium balloons, 13 parachutists, 350 white doves and a pipe band. Children that were representing four regions of Canada, the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, and Great Lakes regions of Canada, brought water from their homes to pour into the fountain at the park’s entrance. Wayne Gretzky was also a special guest. Over 12,000 people attended opening day for the park that cost $120 million to build.

While browsing the archives this week I found some photos from from a few days after the park opened and thought they would be good to share.

1981 - june 8 - Overhead view of water feature on Canada's Wonderland grounds
1981 – June 8 – Overhead view of water feature
1981 - june 8 - Overhead view of grounds at Canada's Wonderland
1981 -June 8 – Overhead view of grounds
1981 - june 8 - Overhead view of grounds at Canada's Wonderland copy
1981 – June 8 – Overhead view of grounds
1981 - june 8 - Overhead view of grounds at Canada's Wonderland including band stand, water features
1981 – June 8 – Overhead view of ground including band stand, water features
1981 - june 8 - Slight overhead view of roller coaster tracks at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – Slight overhead view of roller coaster tracks
1981 - june 8 - View of castle on Canada's Wonderland grounds
1981 – June 8 – View of castle on grounds
1981 - june 8 - View of castle on Canada's Wonderland grounds and surrounding area including parking lot
1981 – June 8 – View of castle on grounds and surrounding area including parking lot
1981 - june 8 - View of Dragon boat sailing in pond at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of Dragon boat sailing in pond
1981 - june 8 - View of flying swing ride, windmill and other rides on Canada's Wonderland grounds
1981 – June 8 – View of flying swing ride, windmill and other rides
1981 - june 8 - View of rocking boat and pond on Canada's Wonderland ground
1981 – June 8 – View of rocking boat and pond
1981 - june 8 - View of roller coaster and grounds of Canada's Wonderland from Wonder Mountain
1981 – June 8 – View of roller coaster and grounds from Wonder Mountain
1981 - june 8 - Exterior view of unidentified house at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – Entrance to Klockwerks
1981 - June 8 - View of carousel and surrounding flower beds at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of carousel and surrounding flower beds
1981 - June 8 - View of detail of temple entrance at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of detail of temple entrance
1981 - june 8 - View of Labatt's stage at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of Labatt’s stage at Canada’s Wonderland
1981 - June 8 - View of roof detail on attraction at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of roof detail
1981 - june 8 - View of sculpture and castle at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of sculpture and castle
1981 - june 8 - View of water fountain and sculpture in front of castle at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of water fountain and sculpture in front of castle at Canada’s Wonderland
1981 - june 8 - View of architectural details on fountain at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of architectural details on fountain at Canada’s Wonderland
1981 - June 8 - Close view of water fountain at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – Close view of water fountain at Canada’s Wonderland
1981 - june 8 - View of swing carousel at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of swing carousel at Canada’s Wonderland
1981 - June 8 - View of Wonder Mountain at Canada's Wonderland
1981 – June 8 – View of Wonder Mountain at Canada’s Wonderland

Wonderland Map

 

Find more photos on the Toronto Archives.

 

 

 

Joel Levy
About Joel Levy 1566 Articles
Editor-In-Chief at Toronto Guardian. Photographer and Writer for Toronto Guardian and Joel Levy Photography