Prior to the construction of the pavilion, Walt Disney Productions sought financial support for the themed pavilion from the Canadian government. The company wanted the federal government to fund the cost of building the attraction; in return, the government would have input into the design and layout. The Canadian government was concerned about the stereotype of Canada that Disney wanted (i.e. lumberjacks). Funding was refused and Disney threatened to pull the exhibit, but ultimately did not.
At the opening together with the park on October 1, 1982, the original musical talent for the Canadian pavilion was a trio called the "Caledonian Pipe Band", consisting of two pipers and one drummer. The performers were Robert "Bob" Proctor (lead drummer) and brothers Kenneth Mauchin (piper) and Robert Mauchin (also a piper). They were recruited by Ron Rodriguez (talent co-ordinator for Walt Disney World) from the Rosie O'Grady's Pipe Band of Orlando. Because all three had ties to Scotland, they also performed at the nearby United Kingdom Pavilion at various times.
In 2007, Disney updated the attraction O Canada!, a Circle-Vision 360° movie filmed in 1981. For several years, the Canadian Tourism Commission lobbied to have the movie updated, partly to remove outdated stereotypes of Canadian life. On August 31, 2007, the updated edition opened with a new host, Canadian actor Martin Short, and Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila reprising the original film's theme song, "Canada (You're a Lifetime Journey)".
The Canada Pavilion is designed to remind guests of the Canadian outdoors. It includes a canyon, a waterfall, gardens, a pool with fountains and totem poles. The main attraction is O Canada!, a Circle-Vision 360° movie that takes guests on a tour of the country, including its landmarks, cities, scenery, and people. The pavilion also includes Le Cellier Steakhouse and the semi-permanent home of the Celtic rock band Off Kilter, which was replaced by a show featuring a Canadian lumberjack competition.
Attractions and Entertainment
- Canadian Lumberjacks Show
- Canada: Far and Wide
- Canada 67
- Images du Canada
- Off Kilter
- O Canada!
- Le Cellier Steakhouse
- Popcorn Cart
- Le Cellier Cafeteria
- La Boutique des Provinces
- Beaver Tails
- Northwest Mercantile
- The Wood Cart
The pavilion has three native totem poles, up to 30' in height. Two are made of fiberglass, and one is carved out of wood. The wooden totem pole depicts three stories of the "Raven" tricking the "Sky Chief" into the release of sun, moon, and stars from a chest. It was carved by the British Columbia artist David Boxley, and was officially put on display in April 1998.
The Victoria Gardens which are adjacent to the Hotel du Canada are inspired by the Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia. The gardens are the largest (and most labour intensive) of all the national pavilions.
Main article: Hidden Mickey
The Canada Pavilion features three Hidden Mickeys, the Hidden Mickeys include:
- Just outside Northwest Mercantile, there is the largest totem pole in the Canada Pavilion. The Hidden Mickey is just underneath the elbow of a set of arms near the top of the pole.
- Inside the Northwest Mercantile shop is a roughly foot-long fish hanging from a crate. The Hidden Mickey is painted on the fish itself.
- Just inside Le Cellier Steakhouse, there is a counter where you would check in for your meal. Behind that counter is a small wine storage room. In the very top center of the rack are three bottles of wine, a large one with two small ones on top of it forming a familiar shape.