The city’s popular FlyOver Canada exhibit, hosted at Canada Place has a new tour/show.
In order to ring in 2023: the year of the Rabbit, FlyOver is offering guests the ability to soar over Taiwan and get a bird’s eye view of their Chinese New Year celebrations.
For those unfamiliar with the experience, show times are at 15-minute intervals. You line up and are fed into their waiting room. Here, you are surrounded by a 360-projector broadcasting a welcoming introduction. You learn about the traditions of Chinese New Year and how they came to be. A quick intro and safety movie, before being led into seats. You place all your belongings in a net under your seat and buckle yourself in.
Like their other shows I have attended in the past, including Canada, Hawaii, and Santa’s workshop in the North Pole this one too combines sights with sounds, scents, and sensations as you are suspended and dangling in mid air. The goal is to simulate flying as the wide screen footage takes you to the top of mountains, the depths of the neighbouring oceans, over historic tea fields, and through modernized cities.
You are not allowed photography or filming of any kind, so I won’t be able to provide any visuals of the show. But from experience and being able to compare this (my very first time soaring over Taiwan) to what I have flown over in the past I can provide the following review. I wish the video quality was a little sharper. Everything appeared out of focus, and it was hard to narrow in on what it is you are meant to take in.
I also wish there were more elements for the other senses to enjoy. You got the spray of ocean water twice going into it and coming out. The scent of the trees on the mountains and the tea in the fields were hard to make out. I only noticed the pollen in the yellow peppered valley, as it made my nose tingle with allergens. The scent of Chinese food cooking, the herbals from boiled traditional medicine, and even the smokey air of lit firecrackers would have added to the experience.
And outside the Chinese New Year scene, you didn’t get much to signify that this was Taiwan you were flying over. I would have liked a look at their more historic buildings and some additional monuments, outside Taiwan’s tallest building: the Taipei sky-tower with its 101 floors.
Once the 10-minute show is completed all guests exit in an orderly fashion, filtering into the gift shop. It is a shame that there aren’t any themed souvenirs to shop, nothing to take home as a keepsake of your Soar Over Taiwan experience.
Although you can take photos with their giant inflatable ancestor God, pet their stuffed pandas, rub the belly of the giant golden Buddha for luck, and make a new year wish by writing it on a piece of paper and hanging it on one of their faux cherry blossom wishing tree.
If you are looking to elongate your Flyover experience, head to their adjoining cafe for some limited edition Taiwanese snacks and drinks.
At the Flying Whale Cafe, the above is not made in house, but are a nice offering for tourists and those unfamiliar with the cuisine type. They have the popular Chinese style, sweet pork buns with glazed honey tops and flaky egg tarts that taste like custard. Both purchased elsewhere and made available for snacking here.
They also have bubble tea, but take each with a grain of salt, as they are not tea brewers or normally such drink purveyors. The idea was in the right place, but I found the tea bland and watered down and the pearls smaller and harder, dense with an unpleasant chew. If looking to try this for yourself, I would suggest having the grass jelly as an add on, instead of their tapioca pearls.
One of the Blue Whale’s signature drinks is a blue latte and here they took the colour and theme and made a Blue Whale milk tea. This had much more flavour over the regular milk tea. But other than a touch of additional sweetness, the two drinks were similar enough.
For many like myself, this is the only chance we get to visit Taiwan. A breezy 15 minute ride for a bird’s eye view you would never get in person. This is a great way to celebrate Chinese New Year and a fun experience to bring visiting relatives too.
999 Canada Pl #201, Vancouver, BC V6C 3E1, Canada