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CANADA World Showcase – Epcot
                              By Florida Diva
I have to admit that being born and raised, for the most part, in the Great White North, left me with little desire to visit this section of Epcot. I mean, after all, the whole point of vacationing is to get away from home, right? But since I made this trip to Epcot with a friend from Miami, I figured it was a good time to stop by.
As you approach, the scenery quietly draws you in, in true Canadian fashion. It appears majestic but isn’t intimidating. Instead, your curiosity pulls you in to see what a totem pole looks like up close. Others are lured to the pavilion by the simple fence where rolling hills and gardens are on display. Welcome to British Columbia. Totem poles are a common site in BC and represent a person’s story or family history, much like family crests from Europe.  The gardens here are a miniature representation of the world famous, Butchart Gardens, found just outside of Victoria, the province’s capital on Vancouver Island. These gardens have a strong English influence as the weather there is similar to England and a lot of English immigrants call the island home.
Up the steps, towards the replica of Chateau Laurier in Ottawa ( a historic hotel), you are transported to Eastern Canada, which is rich in heritage and where Canada was born. Opposite the chateau are small, turn of the century houses on stone streets, that are similar to the buildings found in Quebec and Ontario’s historical areas.


There’s shopping at The Northwest Mercantile where native artwork and jewelry are available, and The Trading Post; which is a perfect example of how Canada came to be. Trading Posts were used to trade furs and other goods with the natives that were then sent back to England before Canada and the U.S. even existed.
 At these stores, you can find obvious Canadian souvenirs like hockey jerseys, maple candy and syrup, miniature totem poles and other iconic symbols like grizzlies, moose, beavers and our beloved Mounties. They even sell potato chips in our most popular flavours and I couldn’t resist buying a bag of ketchup chips to share with my friend when I found out he’d never had them. He said they were sour, like fries that had vinegar and ketchup on them, which is a pretty accurate description, I’d say.
Next we moved towards the sound of rushing water, and came up on a display of the Canadian Rockies, near where I live. Now this part can’t obviously do justice to the real thing, but it does help represent the diverse beauty of the country that I and Canadian Diva, call home.
Down the steps will either take you along wooden walkways that are common in The Rockies in order to get you up close and personal in a safe manner with the many canyons and falls that are found in our looming mountains. Or, you can take the path towards the O’ Canada 360 degree movie experience, hosted by fellow Canadian, Martin Short, which I recommend you pop in and see.
Complete with Le Cellier, a reservations required restaurant that is one of the most popular on Disney property; Off Kilter, a Celtic rock band that combines traditional Eastern Canadian music with a bit of modern edge, and of course, a bottle of Alexander Keith’s or Molson Canadian beer to wash the whole experience down, and I’d say you get a pretty good idea of what Canada has to offer.
Overall, I was impressed by the Canadian display and felt it truly represented the atmosphere of Canada; impressive, welcoming and diverse. This was only enhanced by the friendly hospitality of the Canadians who are lucky enough to work there every day, and they are all eager to answer questions about their homeland in a wide array of accents. And, if you ask nicely, they might even throw in a complimentary, “Eh?”.