America’s northern neighbor is such a vast and beautiful land that the World Showcase Pavilion representing it at Epcot requires five separate regions to capture the wide range of cultural history and geographical diversity inherent to Canada.
Entering Victoria Gardens, Guests experience the beauty and serenity found at Butchart Gardens near Victoria, British Columbia, where Jennie Butchart, wife of concrete industry pioneer Robert Butchart, converted an abandoned limestone quarry into one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world. In replicating this picturesque scene, and to ensure non-native plant species accustomed to a much cooler climate would thrive in the southern United States, landscapers acclimated the plants in the Florida weather for two years before Epcot opened.
Moving through the gardens, we come to the Hotel du Canada, a large limestone building of 19th-century Victorian styling that represents the pioneering western expansion across the Canadian frontier, as well as the English and French influence on architecture of that time.
Of course, the Hotel leads onward to the frontier, where we arrive at the Northwest Mercantile and the Trading Post, both of whose rough-hewn exteriors and prominent totem poles reflect the Indian influence along Canada’s Northwest Coast. The smaller village around the Hotel’s base is reminiscent of the maritime provinces of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick. And from here we end our tour at a Rocky Mountain oasis, an image of Canada’s untamed wilderness that serves as the Pavilion’s backdrop and hosts the O Canada Circle-Vision film.
When designing the World Showcase Pavilions, Imagineers faced a challenging task of presenting the essence of each nation in a relatively small space. Today, imagine you are an Imagineer assigned to design a Pavilion that represents your state. Build a shadow box or diorama that captures the essence of where you live.
Consider the following questions in creating your project:
- What’s the climate like? Is it warm or cold? Does it rain a lot or is it dry? Do you experience four distinct seasons, or is it warm (or cold) for the majority of the year?
- Is your state big or small? Do most people live in cities or small, rural towns?
- Are there any natural landmarks in your state (i.e., the Grand Canyon)?
- Are there any manmade landmarks in your state (i.e., the Saint Louis Gateway to the West arch)?
- Is your state known for its distinctive wildlife (i.e., polar bears)?
- Is your state known for its geographical features (i.e., mountains)?
- Is there anything else you can think of that would represent your state?
Now take those ideas and set your state on display. House it in a cardboard box or recycled milk crate. Be creative! Use Legos, wooden blocks, small cardboard boxes or plastic containers, clay, play-dough, dolls, small branches, scoops of dirt, etc., to showcase the area where you live.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Geography, Social Studies, State History
SKILL LEVEL: Middle Grades
Add MAGICAL MOUSE SCHOOLHOUSE to your home library!