A Canadian Perspective of the Epcot Pavilion

Mountain Range

Only eleven countries have the privilege of being represented in EPCOT at Walt Disney World. And as you probably already know, they are:

Of course, it’s the Canada Pavilion that this article will focus on.



To begin with, I was surprised to find a Canada Pavilion at EPCOT. It’s all-too common for most of the world to see my country as nothing more than an additional State of the U.S.A. and not as the truly unique and beautiful place that it is. So I was doubly pleased to see that Canada was one of the first countries encountered as you walk around The World Showcase, Mexico being the other, if you go in a clockwise direction.

Canada isn’t one of the biggest Pavilions, but it does have a lot of content packed into its compact footprint. For example, you will find:

  • A Mountain
  • A river ending in a waterfall
  • A reproduction of the Butchart Gardens from Victoria, BC
  • A model of the Victorian-style Chateau Laurier hotel found in Ottawa

Gardens

And these are just the physical features of the Canada Pavilion. In these things, this Canadian proclaims that the Imagineers have done a nice job of representing his country. Anyone who visits Canada leaves declaring the beauty and scope of our land, and this is well displayed in EPCOT.

But what of the other features of the Canada Pavilion? They are:

  • A totem pole and Indian canoe
  • An old Trading Post
  • A large French influence
  • Mounties
  • And Off-Kilter

Here we have the same problem that the other ten Pavilions exhibit: Outdated representation.

The totem pole, Indian canoe, and the Trading Post have long vanished from the common landscape of Canada. Any French influences are mostly restricted, at least overtly, to Ottawa and Quebec. Mounties are rarely, if ever seen, in the red uniforms associated with them. And I have never seen a man in a kilt in my entire life in Canada!

Trading Post

Off-Kilter

I remember sitting in the Norway Pavilion one day just across from the old Viking Ship, before it was removed. A mother walked by with her two children, and upon seeing the stereotypical ship, said to them: “Oh look, kids: A Viking Ship! We all have one of those in our back yards, don’t we?” The sarcasm told me she was Norwegian and didn’t care for such a representation of her country.

That being so, I can say in Disney’s defense, that without such stereotypical representations of a country’s heritage, how would one stand out from another? Today, we all have skyscrapers, cars, and modernization. EPCOT could thusly consist of just one Pavilion called Everycountry! How boring would that be?

The Canada Pavilion has a wonderful shopping area filled with traditionally Canadian wares. But for the most part, only expensive items are stocked, which the average Canadian wouldn’t buy everyday. Le Cellier Steakhouse does serve an authentic Canadian cuisine. I recommend the beer. And that brings us to the 360 degree Circle-Vision film ‘O Canada’. Recently redone, with Martin Short as emcee, this too gives a nice overview of both old and new, or modern, Canada.

So, as a Canadian, do I approve of how my country is represented by Disney at EPCOT?

I’d have to say ‘Yes!’

But I wonder if this is the case with you, the readers from the other countries represented in The World Showcase? Does Germany, United Kingdom, or even The American Adventure live up to how you would like to be represented?

Why not join the discussion in our comments section and let us, and Disney, know!

  • Complete at Last: Adventure at Epcot Center (disneyatdisleelandiablog.blogspot.com)
  • Epcot’s Kidcot Fun Stops (chipandco.com)
Lee (63 Posts)

Blogger. Writer. Disney fan. Canadian. Nuff said.




  • Usachick4

    We enjoy the Canadian pavilion. Last time we spent a good almost hour walking around it taking pictures. My kid enjoyed talking w/ the CMs at the Kidcot station. DS1 is ready to get back and see the Totem Pole and take pictures of it for his friends at school. 1wk till we arrive!!!

    I do have to say I was very spoiled w/ my drink from there (we were DOTW). I got the Moosehead Light and LOVED it. All I can find here in TN is the Lager (though I’ve started getting that instead of Bud Light at home which drives DH nuts). Cant wait to get back and get another.

  • http://www.disleelandia.com/ Lee Beatens

    I too noticed the difference in presentation between The American Adventure and the other Pavilions. There’s a different vibe, for sure!

    So far, we’re one for and one against The American Adventure. Anyone else have a view?

  • http://www.disleelandia.com/ Lee Beatens

    I remember seeing many Americans weeping while the Spirit of Freedom (?) singers were performing. The Pavilion certainly does seem to have an effect on your countrymen!

  • Lrich

    As an American, I do not like the way we are represented. All other countries are portrayed in mostly a good light. They show so many good things about each of the countries. Then we get to America. They are so negative. I am all about showing good and bad things but they seem interested in showing mostly bad views about America. Our wars, slavery etc. What happened to showing all the wonderful things about or people and all the natural beauty in the US? We have so many wonderful things to see and do here in America?

  • ratgirl24

    I love the uniqueness of each pavilion. As an American, I love the way we are represented at EPCOT. “The American Adventure” is a great history lesson. It makes me proud and weepy every time I see it!

  • http://www.disleelandia.com/ Lee Beatens

    According to Wikipedia, the new version of ‘O Canada’ (narrarated by Martin Short) started on September 1st, 2007.

    In my opinion, it is a better version image wise (and humor wise), but the original song was far superior.

    Thanks for the question, Carl!

  • Carl

    When was the Circle-Vision film updated?

  • http://www.disleelandia.com/ Lee Beatens

    That’s hilarious… and sad! But I imagine that if you also examined the ‘Canadian’ products sold at the Pavilion, you’d find most of them are made in China (the real one, not the neighoring Pavilion).

    And yes, the Canadian CM’s are awesome! We’ve had many nice experiences with them.

  • http://www.disleelandia.com/ Lee Beatens

    Good points, Deborah. But I might add that it is possible that some visitors from other countries may not know what is history and what is modern fact. In this way, the Pavilions don’t always manage to educate ‘foreigners’ visiting a given Pavilion.

    I agree that history should be noted, for as I said in the article, if it isn’t, each Pavilion would be the same! Thanks for taking the time to comment, it’s truly appreciated!

  • Deborah Ragno

    I don’t view the totem pole, Trading Post, canoe, or Mounties as “outdated representation” but rather a portrayal of the heritage of Canada. The same goes for the Viking ship (now gone) at the Norway pavilion. It is part of their history, their heritage, something that influenced who the people of Norway are today. We no longer have Fife and Drum Corps walking the streets of US cities, but they certainly are part of the heritage and history. If the pavilions only showed today’s representation of their country, in a decade every pavilion would truly be outdated. But the pavilions show much more than the current atmosphere of the nation — They reveal the rich history and heritage of each country, the very things that influenced the people of the country to become the nation they are today. And these are things that are unchanging and will never become outdated.

  • http://www.capturingmagicalmemories.com Capturing Magical Memories

    My favorite thing about the Canada pavilion are the cast members. I always have to go into to see where they are from. I have to tell you a secret. Last time I was at Le Cellier I asked where the beef came from – it comes from Austraila! (I am from Alberta so I ordered the salmon)