Canada's Wonderland... On Acid!
Located in the southern Ontario suburb and highway heavy town of Vaughan, Canada’s Wonderland is the largest theme park in Canada and is home to sixteen roller-coasters, over fifty rides, a waterpark and a maze of dinosaurs. Since its opening in 1981 Wonderland has been the Canadian child’s equivalent of Disney World but without the campy characters or the alleged history of nazism. It is truly Canada’s bespeckled, artificial home of pure and adulterated joy. Everything you eat there is made of sugar. Every ride you take has the potential to make you throw up or pass out. If you’re lucky you might even touch the mystical Wonder Mountain.
My girlfriend, Marianne, had never taken acid before and she was about to try it for her first time at Canada’s largest family fun park. Still, though it had been her idea, I was scared I would break my girlfriends brain today. She was about to strap herself into about a dozen metal bound chairs that would fling her body like a paper doll through space, uncontrollably and for hours. On acid.
Marianne put the small, blue square of LSD on her tongue and looked up at the rollercoaster and said, “You know, it doesn’t look that bad. Totally conquerable.”
When we walked into Canada’s Wonderland we were greeted by a brown mountain with a horseshoe waterfall. “It’s kind of beautiful. But in a weird way,” Marianne said. So far Marianne was showing no effects from the drug other than being visibly excited and nervous, which is normal for most people about to go on a roller-coaster. She was picking at her thumb with her finger which is something she usually does when she’s anxious.
The first ride we went on was called Shockwave. It looked like a giant’s hand but with brightly coloured shining metal and with the dangling feet of tourists. While the ride didn’t seem unpleasant I worried how Marianne would react.
Before we got on the ride Marianne had described herself as being a little light headed. When we got off and started walking together through the park she whispered in my ear “I’m feeling a little loosey goosey” and then started giggling uncontrollably.
We walked through an area of the park called Medieval Faire which was all fake castles and cobble stone. On our way we walked past a park worker who had her face painted and Marianne started laughing uncontrollably.
Marianne asked the girl how long she’d been working at the park and then just nodded slowly. As we walked away she said “She was like a Buddha. She had these big, black eyes that just blinked really slow.” Then she laughed and we had to stop while she caught her breath. She said that that face would haunt her day dreams, that she couldn’t walk past that girl again. “She had a Claude Monet face, but with ducks.”
Then we saw a gift shop and Marianne made us stop and try on hats.
She thought most of the stuff in the gift shop was hilarious, especially these mystical plastic staffs with skulls on the end, “This is like next level shit.”
We passed by the mountain and Marianne made us stop. “It’s growing. Here it comes,” she said. “It’s so mighty, it’s making my face feel sweaty. It’s the best fake mountain I’ve ever seen.”
She kept staring at the mountain and I asked Marianne what she saw. “It’s changing colours. It’s like, all morphy. It looks like it’s made of sand and the sand is melting. It moves back and forth when I focus on it. And the waterfall is rising. The whole mountain is shifting all the time.”
We went closer. “It’s really cool, there’s beautiful colour rays coming off it. It’s such a beautiful lagoon!” She went quiet. “The colours are so beautiful. It looks like the mountain is crumbling, it’s all fuzzy. It’s really fuzzy like suede. Oh it’s rising so much! And the water is so blue. It feels nice. It’s really pretty. Very fuzzy. Like, people made this. I want to lie on it. I want to lie on the fuzzy mountain.” She kept staring at the mountain, quiet.
Next we went to a ride called The Bat. As we waited in line watching the people before us rise up the ride’s incline Marianne said, “It’s like we’re being made to idolize them. Or, the idea of them.” After watching it for a minute she added, “This roller coaster represents past memories.”
When we got off the ride Marianne turned to me and said, as she giggled, “Okay, now I’m shifted into gear. That was just like a little punch to the face.” As we walked out she kept saying “Whoa...whoa...whoa...”
We kept moving through the park and going on rides. Marianne couldn’t stop laughing. She stopped to admire a life sized metal boar and was convinced that we should “set it free from its crappy context.”
She told me the mermaids decorating the middle pole of a boat ride were changing colour and that their nipples were glowing gold.
She was mesmerized by the beauty of a cloud which she described as a waterfall in the sky that was swirling and changing with the fuzzy mountain.
At this point we decided to pick Marianne up a little more so we found a dark corner in the park and smoked a joint. This ended up being a great idea because Marianne started to peak and got noticeably high. Feeling a little high myself, vibing off Marianne’s energy, I fell off task and found myself staring at nothing and giggling as we waited in line for a ride called The Vortex. Everything got really weird for about 20 minutes. Marianne spilled some water on her hand and we all felt we had to discuss it, how it felt on her hand, how the water stain looked like gum. I couldn’t understand what was going to happen on the ride we were about to take even though Marianne explained it to me twice, she had to reassure me that it would be pleasant. She told us about her “secret pod theories” and it all made sense, no one questioned the legitimacy of her statements. She whispered in my ear, “I’m really feeling it now. Big time.”
The Vortex went around and through the mountain. Marianne and I rode in the front seat. I screamed though most of it but I felt calm and even serene at times, especially as we passed over a small body of water. When the ride stopped Marianne told me “I could pee and cry at the same time.”
We saw these kids drying off outside the water park and Marianne asked me “Do you think they know how homosexual that looks?” They all started flexing until then this one kid left and Marianne said “Oh no! He’s embarrassed! Did we just bully them?”
Marianne became concerned that we had just bullied some pre-teen boys so to get her mind off it we went to see some dinosaurs. On our way a carney came out from the game he had been manning, grabbed Marianne and said “Yo check this out!” and then started playing the game by himself. As she watched him she said, “He knows. He knows everything.”
By the time we made it to the dinosaurs Marianne was starting to come down. She watched the plastic figures move in their fenced off gardens and said, “Their skin is moving in really weird ways. Are you sure we didn’t bully those kids?” I assured her they were fine.
Marianne said she needed to sit down for a few minutes so we bought her a funnel cake, which is like a waffle with ice cream and strawberries covered in a sugary syrup, and we sat near the mountain as we ate.
We had been at Canada’s Wonderland for about four hours and Marianne had been going through peaks and valleys of euphoria through most of that time. Since she was coming down we decided to ease up on the camera for a couple hours and just enjoy the rest of the day unencumbered. Marianne looked from the table to the waterfall on the mountain just off to her left.
Marianne told me at one point during the day, “You know, I thought for a minute about how maybe this would be what life would be like from now on. And I know it won’t, but I think I would be okay with it if it was.” I was relieved at least that I didn’t break my girlfriend’s brain and that she conquered the fuzzy mountain at Canada’s Wonderland.
Photos by Evan Davis