Canada’s Best Amusement Parks
You won’t need a passport to embark on these high-adrenaline adventures—they’re right in your own back yard.
The Best Amusement Parks in Canada
The best amusement parks in Canada are spread out across the country, so no matter where you live—from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island—you’re probably not far from pulse-pounding rides, thrilling games and world-class waterslides. Apply your sunscreen, strap on your fanny pack and join us for a look at the best amusement parks in Canada.
Photo: Calaway Park
Calaway Park, Calgary
The only thing better than the rides at Calaway Park, western Canada’s best outdoor amusement park, are the stunning views. Located west of Calgary in the shadow of the Canadian Rockies, you can enjoy any of the park’s 32 family-friendly rides while gazing out at Canada’s famed mountain range. Don’t miss the park’s new Timber Falls attraction, a four-minute log ride through interactive themed buildings with high velocity drops and a zig-zag river. The park also offers 24 eateries, games, high-energy entertainment, mini golf, and a 3-D cinema. Your day of fun doesn’t end when the park closes, either: Calaway Park also has a campground, so you can ride all day, roast marshmallows at night and sleep under the stars. Does it get any more magical than that?
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Photo: Sandspit Amusement Park
Sandspit Amusement Park, Green Gables, Prince Edward Island
For hard proof that Prince Edward Island is one of Canada’s friendliest provinces, you needn’t look further than Sandspit Amusement Park. Not only is there no entry fee (though you do need to pay to go on the rides), you are actually encouraged to bring your own food (barbecue rentals are available onsite). Located in Green Gables, about two minutes from the Green Gables Heritage House, the province’s largest amusement park treats visitors to stunning views of Prince Edward Island National Park’s red sand beaches from the top of the park’s 70-foot Ferris wheel. While thrill seekers will make a beeline for the Cyclone, Atlantic Canada’s largest roller roaster, the park also offers miniature golf, bumper boats, go karts and carnival games. Sandspit usually opens in June, corresponding with the end of the school year, and closes for the year at the beginning of September.
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Photo: Canada's Wonderland
Canada’s Wonderland, Vaughan, Ontario
If you’re only able to visit one amusement park this summer, make it Canada’s Wonderland, the biggest and best of all the amusement parks in Canada. Whether you want a nerve-shredding thrill or to simply kick back and chill, this 300-acre park offers something for everyone. Adrenaline junkies can test their mettle on the park’s 16 roller coasters, including recent additions like the Yukon Striker, a 360-degree looping dive coaster, and the Leviathan, the tallest and fastest rollercoaster in Canada. On Leviathan, riders hit speeds of 148 kilometres per hour during an 80 degree drop (yes, that’s very nearly straight down) from 306 feet in the air. After a day of games and rides, cool off at Splash Works Waterpark, where you can relax on the lazy river or take the plunge down 17 different waterslides. Canada’s Wonderland is open seasonally, generally from May to October.
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Photo: Elena_Alex_Ferns / Shutterstock.com
Cultus Lake Adventure Park, Cultus Lake, British Columbia
A funny thing happens when you reach the very top of Cultus Lake Adventure Park‘s Cloud Buster ride. There, suspended on a drop platform 150 feet in the air, the butterflies in your stomach take a break while you soak in the awe-inspiring view of pristine B.C. wilderness stretching into the distance. But you won’t be able to keep your eyes open for long: Before you know it, you’ll be plunging down through the treetops at speeds in excess of 90 kilometres per hour. Boasting award-winning craftsmanship and one-of-a-kind rides and attractions for the whole family, this popular day trip from Vancouver will make you wonder why all of Canada’s amusement parks can’t be both fun and beautiful. The big draw for thrill-seekers is Round-up 360, Canada’s only fully inverted extreme swing ride. Young kids will love the gentle Ribbit ride, where they’ll climb onto the backs of adorable bullfrogs that croak and spring into the air. When the afternoon heat becomes too much to bear, cool off at the Cultus Lake Waterpark next door.
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One of the best amusement parks in Canada (and the biggest indoor amusement park in North America) can be found within the West Edmonton Mall, the biggest shopping mall in North America. Galaxyland, open all day, every day, year-round, features 27 exhilarating rides, including four full-size roller coasters. The park’s signature ride is the Mindbender, the world’s largest indoor triple-loop roller coaster, which runs nearly 4,000 feet in length—the equivalent of about 112 school buses, end to end. When you need a break from rides, head over to nearby World Waterpark, the biggest indoor waterpark in North America, skate the mall’s indoor ice rink, or window shop at more than 800 stores.
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Photo: Patrick Palmer Photographie
La Ronde, Montreal
Montreal’s La Ronde is Canada’s second-largest amusement park, and a premier summer destination for families from all over Quebec. It’s not hard to see why: this Six Flags park has some of the wildest rides in the country, including the Goliath, one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in Canada with a maximum height of nearly 175 feet and reaching top speeds of 110 kilometres per hour. Other notable rides include Le Vampire, which features five loops, a zero-G roll and a corkscrew twist; Boomerang, which will send you flying through loops at speeds of 75 kilometres per hour before doing it all over again backwards; and Galopant, the oldest wooden carousel in the world (sculpted in 1885). The park normally opens in May and closes for the season in the fall.
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Photo: Centreville Amusement Park
Centreville Amusement Park, Toronto
The kid-friendly rides and attractions at Centreville Amusement Park are great and all, but they’re only part of what makes a visit to Toronto’s famed island amusement park such a special experience. Your day of family-friendly fun actually starts at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal on the mainland where you hop aboard a ferry for a scenic trip across Toronto Harbour to the Toronto Islands. From there you can head straight to Centreville Amusement Park to take a plunge on the log flume, have some mischievous fun on the bumper boats, ride the antique carousel and enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the park on the windmill-style Ferris wheel. After you’ve had your fill of amusement park fun you can rent a bike and visit any number of beaches, restaurants and other attractions, from a petting zoo to a haunted lighthouse, and 600 acres of gorgeous parkland across Toronto’s 15 linked islands. The amusement park usually opens in May and runs until early- to mid-September.
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Photo: EB Adventure Photography / Shutterstock.com
Playland at the PNE, Vancouver
The oldest amusement park in Canada remains one of the country’s best. Playland, located on the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition east of downtown Vancouver, has been wowing visitors of all ages for more than 110 years. The park features 19 rides, more than 20 midway games, a haunted house and an arcade. The park’s most historic attraction, a recently refurbished 2,840 foot wooden roller coaster—originally built in 1958 and considered by many to be the best wooden coaster in Canada—is definitely worth a ride. Those with nerves of steel will also want to seek out the park’s new Skybender ride for spins, rapid acceleration and gravity drops—it’s unlike any other single-rider experience in the country. The park is usually open from June to August.
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Photo: Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain, Moncton, New Brunswick
Although Magic Mountain boasts four distinct zones (including rides, mini-golf and an arcade), it’s the waterpark zone that makes this popular Moncton attraction one of the best amusement parks in Canada. The biggest waterpark in Atlantic Canada draws visitors from far and wide with body slides like the Kamikaze that sends sliders hurtling down a nearly-vertical drop at speeds of 60 kilometres per hour, and the ProRacer that pits one slider against another in a race to the bottom. After you’ve toweled off, make the two-minute drive to New Brunswick’s famed Magnetic Hill, where you can put your vehicle in neutral and feel it defy gravity by apparently rolling uphill—one of Canada’s quirkiest roadside attractions. Magic Mountain opens in mid-June and closes for the season at the beginning of September.
Photo: Calypso Theme Waterpark
Calypso Theme Waterpark, Limoges, Ontario
Just a 30-minute drive east of Ottawa, you’ll find Calypso Theme Waterpark, Canada’s biggest waterpark and one of the best amusement parks in Canada. Start your adventure in the wavepool (it’s Canada’s largest), where you’ll face waves reaching nearly two metres high. Then make your way over to the 90-foot tall water slide tower (you guessed it: it’s Canada’s tallest!) for a thrilling ride down speed slides and AquaLoops where riders are dropped down near-vertical slides before entering an inclined loop. If taking on G-force speeds in your bathing suit isn’t your thing, there are also dozens of tamer slides, more than 100 water games, two theme rivers, a kid zone, VIP cabanas and even a relaxing Hawaiian beach bar. The waterpark usually opens in mid-June and stays open until early September.
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