Celebrating Canada 150: A Virtual Vacation to the West Coast

Posted on 30 June 2017

The country has been abuzz with year-round celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday (also known as its sesquicentenial!) with Canadians showing their appreciation for the True North through programs and events spanning science, art, and community.

Of course, we wanted to jump right in and join the party, so the dev team here at Archiact teamed up with our friends at Vancouver's Science World to create Canoe Ride: a VR experience that brings the incredible beauty of the Pacific Northwest to your fingertips. It's a place we are lucky enough to call home, and are eager to share!

Made with Unity for the HTC Vive, Canoe Ride transports up to four people to a tranquil West Coast shore, where they ride two canoes along a picturesque coastline of trees and rocky cliffs. (You don't mind sharing, right?) The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the water is calm enough to give the viewer time to take in their surroundings. Subtle interactive elements such as rowing and hand gestures bring the users together in a virtually shared experience of British Columbia's incredible flora and fauna.

But it wasn't all about re-creating a pretty landscape in VR: authenticity was the most important part of this project, with a focus on celebrating Canada's unique biodiversity, as well as breathing virtual life into realistic environments. The art director on the project, Patrick English, wanted to rekindle the feeling of magic that he felt when he first moved to the province. We think Canoe Canada does a pretty great job of just that!

You can experience Canoe Ride in full virtual reality at Vancouver's Science World in Vancouver, BC, until September 4. Try it out, and tell us your favourite part!

And last but not least, a very happy Canada 150 to all our fellow canucks!

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