LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Walt Disney World guests get a glimpse of today’s Canada in a newly enhanced 14-minute motion picture presented in Circle-Vision 360 as a major feature of the Canada pavilion in Epcot World Showcase.
Titled “O Canada!” the film includes spectacular scenes that highlight Canada’s natural beauty, cosmopolitan cities and diverse people who call Canada home. In addition to new, updated scenes, the film is hosted by Canadian actor Martin Short, who lends his own personal charm, warmth and wit to give this Epcot film a distinctive and authentic flair. Short grew up in Hamilton, Ontario, and in his narration, he speaks as a true Canadian “who loves Canada.”
Walt Disney Imagineers collaborated with the Canadian Tourism Commission to update the film, including new orchestration and images. The 2006 Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila sings “Canada, You’re a Lifetime Journey,” the music of “O Canada!” “Our goal was to strike the right balance between the vibrant cosmopolitan cities and the natural beauty that characterize Canada,” according to Imagineer David Katzman, who led the film’s production. “Canada is a very important market for us and we look forward to showcasing all its beauty and splendor to guests visiting the Canada pavilion at Epcot.”
Circle-Vision 360 is a film technique that uses nine cameras for projection onto nine large screens arranged in a circle usually above head level. By using an odd number of screens, and a small space between them, a projector may be placed in each gap, projecting across the space to a screen.
The motion picture takes guests from the far eastern shores of New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy by railroad, to the western beauty and tranquility of Butchart Gardens in British Columbia. Canada’s natural beauty is majestically displayed throughout the film, including new and classic scenes from the 800-year-old redwood trees of Cathedral Grove to astounding splendor of Horseshoe Falls to the snowy mountains of Kananaskis Valley.
Coordinating and collecting new aerial footage required Disney Imagineers to study the weather patterns to pinpoint the best windows of opportunity for shooting. “We filmed at Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Niagara Falls with one day to plan and one day to shoot at each location,” said Imagineering line producer Linda Folsom. “We got lucky — we only had one day of rain and plenty of sunshine.”