Day eleven of my trip began with some light credit whoring in the greater Toronto area, beginning with Centreville Amusement Park, a family park located on Centre Island in Lake Ontario.
The park is only accessible by boat. The cheapest way to get there is from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, where a round-trip ticket can be purchased for an oddly-specific price of $9.11. Those on a tighter schedule can also take a water taxi across the bay, which today cost $12.50 (cash) or $13.50 (card) per person; this is pretty good value considering that you can take a city ferry back to the mainland at no charge if you don’t want to pay for a return taxi. Parking is not exactly plentiful in the immediate vicinity of the port, but there’s a decent sized lot at 43.6412, -79.3738 that costs $30 for the entire day. Alternatively, Queens Quay streetcar station is a short walk away.
The three kilometre crossing takes around fifteen minutes, though readers should be aware that the timetable appears to be advisory at best. My outbound journey left twenty minutes after the piece of paper said it should, and I saw the return service I'd hoped to catch leaving ten minutes early. As a result my planned hit-and-run visit for the roller coaster took just shy of two hours from end to end; those retracing my steps should plan accordingly.
One nice thing about the ferry is that you get a spectacular view of the Toronto skyline, and if you're lucky you'll see aircraft on final approach into Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (YTZ), a downtown facility offering short haul connections both within Canada (Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Quebec, Thunder Bay) and the US (Boston, Chicago, Nashville, New York). The vast majority of services are overfed by Porter Airlines on Dash-8-400 aircraft, though the well-heeled can also take semi-scheduled private jet services with FlyGTA (environmentalists need not apply). A one-way service to Chicago on a King Air B100 costs USD $14,895 for up to six people.
Once we docked I walked around the boundaries of the park before buying the required six tickets for Toronto Island Mine Coaster (#3086), a standard E&F Miler 16ft Outside Spiral coaster with completely unpainted track. The ride definitely wasn't one of the smoother family coasters I've ridden, but a little bit of bracing allowed me to enjoy my three lap cycle. Hours later I discovered that was the last of the model that I needed to complete the set, and that there are only six operational Miler coasters that I still need to ride. It might be a while, though, given that most of them require accompanying children.
10th July 2023
After leaving Centreville Amusement Park I got stuck in a monstrously complicated one-way system courtesy of road construction, adding a good half hour to my drive to Neb’s Funworld. That said, I still managed to get there ten minutes before rides were due to open for the day so there was no harm done. (My route took me past a branch of the Bollocks Pub chain, which I’m sorry to say was closed. I’ve since looked at the menu, and have to admit a certain amount of curiosity about the Bollocks Burger; maybe next time. If anyone from the business is reading this, I strongly recommend developing an all-you-can-eat buffet called Complete Bollocks. There’s no need to pay me royalties.)
Sparetime Express (#3087) was the second Miler product of the day, in this case a smaller 11.5ft counterclockwise model relocated from a defunct branch of Jeepers that I never made it to. The ride has been installed in an upstairs mezzanine surrounded by construction paraphernalia; I’d have said that it had only just finished installation but for the fact that it shows on RCDB as having opened in 2015. The three lap cycle was flawlessly smooth, in sharp contrast to its larger brother thirty miles away; children looking for their first roller coaster experience could do a great deal worse.
10th July 2023
It was early afternoon when I arrived at Canada’s Wonderland. My schedule gave me the option of staying until closing, albeit at the cost of a very late arrival into my hotel, but I settled on a quick visit with no in-park spend in protest at what I regard as an asinine and completely unnecessary operational policy. I was always taught to put my money where my mouth is, and while a few dollars not spent will mean precisely sierra foxtrot alpha to Cedar Fair it cheered me up a little. The cash subsequently was subsequently deposited at a branch of Tim Hortons; it would have been remiss of me to visit Canada without at least one pilgrimage to Timmie’s.
Astute readers will probably already have twigged that I’m complaining about Snoopy’s Racing Railway, a family launch coaster from ART Engineering that was new to the park this year. The design is a copy of the highly-regarded Fridolin’s Verrúuckter Zauberexpress, and it’s fair to say that the POV also looks like a solid ride. Unfortunately, management have decided to deny access to adults that are not accompanied by children. This isn’t a technical limitation; rather, being blunt, it’s blatant prejudicial discrimination against an entire section of society.
While I’m not hugely fond of parks reserving rides for younger visitors, I can sort of understand why they do, especially in large facilities where there are dozens of attractions for adults and a comparatively small number geared at younger visitors. However, if this is to happen, then the reservation should be absolute; adults should be banned regardless of circumstances. It’s not fair that some adults are allowed but not others. Society wouldn’t tolerate discrimination based on skin colour, gender, religion, or anything else like that – so why do we tolerate it based on the decision to procreate?
My visit began with Wonder Mountain’s Guardian (#3088), added to the park two years after my last visit. Though it meets all the rules to be regarded as a roller coaster, the overall experience is probably better thought of as a dark ride. A lift hill prefixes a single shallow curved drop, after which guests play a target-shooting video game. The system scrolls content as the cars move, rather than having play explicitly shift from one screen to the next, and this effect works remarkably well. In due course the train comes to a stop on a vertical drop track, which reconnects with the station. The descent is surprisingly intense compared to the equivalents from Intamin and Zierer, but it’s over so quickly that you hardly realise what happened. I enjoyed my ride, but it’s not something I’d go out of my way to wait for a second time unless the queue was really short.
The other new coaster for me was Yukon Striker (#3089), a B&M Dive Machine that holds the current length and speed records for the type. It features a unique (and clever) loose item storage system; individual boxes for each row are lifted up into the rafters above the station while trains are out on course, before being lowered on the exit side of the platform – helping overall guest flow and throughput. The first half of the ride leading up to the mid-course block brake is excellent, negotiating three inversions in thirty seconds, roughly double the time SheiKra spends on its first half (or for preference, more than double the total ride time of Oblivion.) I’d have liked a bit more energy in the second half, but that’s honestly a nitpick for what is by any measure a top quality coaster.
Support this site
If you enjoy this site, please consider trying Superior Solitaire, my ad-free collection of card games for macOS, iPad, and iPhone. It's a great way to pass time while waiting in line!