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In Vancouver, Spectacular ‘Awaken Canada’ Deepens Connections to the Nation’s Landscapes


A scene showing fireworks in Toronto is among the sparkling moments of “Awaken Canada”, a new 4D film that’s the latest Flyover experience. (Vacay.ca photo captured from the film)

Dave Mossop has spent two years working on an extraordinary new film that is at the heart of the revamped Flyover Canada experience in Vancouver.

Mossop is the director of “Awaken Canada,” a 10-minute cinematic wonder that commands a 65-foot spherical screen. Featuring videography by award-winning drone pilot and McGill University astrophysicist Gabriel Kocher, “Awaken Canada” uses the immersive hallmarks of 4D entertainment — including drops in temperature for wintry scenes and cool mist that dabs the face, to mimic a splash from a waterfall or Nova Scotia sea. Those sensory elements bring viewers deeper into the visual story.

The film is so strong on its own that those added physical sensations are complements rather than the main highlights. Among the keys to the remarkable filmmaking is Kocher’s custom-made drone that allowed Mossop to collect spectacular images from staggeringly beautiful and often thrilling viewpoints.


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Scenes of rock climbers ascending vertical cliffs in Alberta or frozen waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains will cause viewers to hold their breath. So will what’s likely the most riveting moment of “Awaken Canada” — when the drone dives from hundreds of feet up into a rectangular hole in the Nunavut ice containing deep, dark water. After you gasp, you relax at the charming sight of narwhals in mid-swim before Mossop lifts you back out and shuttles you to a different Maritime scene: Lunenberg, Nova Scotia and the sails-wide Bluenose II cutting through the Atlantic shore.

“What I hope people take away is the magic of Mother Nature and her way of communicating to us in a way that keeps us connected and humble. And it’s our identity. It makes us Canadian,” says Mossop, who was born in Edmonton and raised in Calgary. “I hope it leads to a  reawakening of how lucky we are to be Canadian and live in this country with its vast and incredible landscapes.”

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In “Awaken Canada”, audiences are harnessed into their seats as the ride dangles them over exhilarating landscapes, like this one in the Rocky Mountains. (Flyover Canada photo)

Coincidentally, Mossop was inspired to be a filmmaker from the spot where “Awaken Canada” premiered. As a 6-year-old, he was visiting Vancouver for the 1986 Expo when he watched an IMAX movie that sparked his imagination. He’s been making films for Flyover for a decade and felt that the original Flyover Canada film could use an updated look. The use of Kocher’s technology allowed for scenes from more remote and unheralded locations than were showcased in the original. As a result, some notable places — namely Ottawa’s Parliament buildings and Montreal’s old port — are absent. But that’s an aspect of “Awaken Canada,” too: To remind Canadians, and visitors to the country, that there is such vastness and underappreciated destinations to explore.

Canada Day on Grouse Mountain

The touted Peak of Vancouver features additional programming and culinary highlights for July 1, including a brunch buffet ($38 for adults) and an outdoor barbecue and bar (until 5 p.m.). Live music performances run from 2-4 p.m. and an all-day Canada-themed scavenger hunt will entice kids to explore the nature of the mountain that overlooks the city. At 1,250 metres (4,100 feet) at its height, Grouse is a terrific, easily accessible attraction for visitors.

The Skyride gondola takes guests up from the base in North Vancouver to the summit. Tickets cost $80 per adult ($40 per children’s tickets, aged 5-12; kids 4 and younger enter for free).

Steveston Salmon Festival

One of Canada’s most unique July 1 celebrations occurs in the historic fishing village that is a 30-minute drive south of downtown Vancouver. Steveston’s annual salmon festival includes a parade, live music, and tasty treats. The celebration is an all-encompassing event that takes over the compact village that is part of the City of Richmond. More than 20 food trucks are scheduled to be on-site and separate fun zones for younger kids and teenagers will be set up.

There’s education, too. The fishing industry is recognized with the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, a Parks Canada National Historic Site that explores the importance of fishing to west-coast life and culture.



Gabriel Brijbassi, 6, is thoroughly enthralled by the “Awaken Canada” experience. (Adrian Brijbassi photo for Vacay.ca)

Location: 999 Canada Place #201, Vancouver, British Columbia (see map below)
Prices: Depending on the day of your visit, tickets can be as low as $26 for adults who are British Columbia residents ($16 for children’s tickets). For non-provincial guests, the lowest-priced tickets on the Flyover Canada website is $29 (adults) and $19 (children). Kids must be a minimum of 40 inches to enter the ride. Visit the attraction’s booking engine to purchase tickets.
Vacay.ca Tip: Arrive 15 minutes prior to your time-stamped entry ticket. Lineups will be long and you will also want to be in a good position to view the artistic show that precedes your journey into the “Awaken Canada” theatre.

Adrian is the editor of Vacay.ca and VacayNetwork.com. Adrian has won numerous awards for his travel writing, travel photography, and fiction, and has visited more than 55 countries. He is a former editor at the Toronto Star and New York Newsday, and was the social media and advocacy manager for Destination Canada. His articles have frequently appeared in the Huffington Post, Globe & Mail, and other major publications. He has appeared on national and local broadcasts, talking about travel, sports, creative writing and journalism. In 2019, he launched Trippzy, a travel-trivia app developed to educate consumers about destinations around the world. He also edited "Inspired Cooking", a nutrition-focused cookbook featuring 20 of Canada's leading chefs and in support of the cancer-fighting charity, InspireHealth. "Inspired Cooking" was created in honour of Adrian's late wife and Vacay.ca co-founder, Julia Pelish, who passed away of brain cancer in 2016.