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April 27, 2005

Canada's Wonderland Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Vaughan, Ontario -- Paramount Canada's Wonderland will open its gates for its 25th anniversary season on May 1st, 2005. The Park, that entertains millions annually, first opened for guests in 1981.

Following an extensive site selection process by the Park's developers, Maple (Vaughan) was finally chosen as the ideal location, due to its close proximity to Toronto and 400 series highways.

Initial construction of the Park commenced in April, 1979. During construction, Canadian companies partnered on the preliminary design and engineering of this massive project that involved 12 architectural and engineering firms and over 700 trades people. The Park sits on a 379 acre plot, 300 of which are currently developed.

Two years later, on May 23, 1981, Canada's Wonderland was officially opened by then Premier of Ontario, William Davis, during a spectacular ceremony that included 10,000 helium balloons, 13 parachutists, 350 white doves, a pipe band and 4 children representing the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic, and Great Lakes regions of Canada.

"When Wonderland opened back in 1981, our goal was to provide our guests with fun, excitement and memorable experiences, in a safe and secure environment. Twenty-five years later, that remains our number one goal," says Barry Jones, executive vice president and general manager.

In 1993, Canada's Wonderland was acquired by Paramount Communications Inc., becoming part of its Paramount Parks division, a global leader in the development and operation of world class theme parks. Shortly thereafter, Canada's Wonderland became Paramount Canada's Wonderland, reflecting the Park's new association with Paramount Parks. A year later, Wonderland joined Viacom Inc., one of the world's largest entertainment companies, when Viacom acquired Paramount Parks as part of its purchase of Paramount Communications Inc.

Each season, Paramount Canada's Wonderland has introduced new attractions and features, investing an additional $200 million since the Park first opened.

In 1983, Wonderland built the Kingswood Music Theatre, a state of the art 15,000 seat amphitheatre that has played host to many of music's major artists. Currently, Kingswood hosts more than 20 Cultural Festivals each season, featuring world renowned acts from across the globe.

In 1992, Paramount Canada's Wonderland became two parks in one with the addition of Splash Works, a 20 acre water park. Splash Works boasts Canada's largest outdoor wavepool and over two million gallons of heated water attractions, including 18 speed slides and interactive water features.

And most notably, throughout the Park's first quarter century of operation, Wonderland has introduced some of North America's most popular ride attractions, including such favourites as Top Gun, The Fly, Drop Zone, The Bat, SkyRider, Vortex, Psyclone and Silver Streak. The Italian Job: Stunt Track, the Park's 14th coaster experience, which premieres this season, is based on the high-action finale of Paramount Pictures' hit motion picture, The Italian Job. This new multi-million dollar fast-track coaster experience is the single largest investment in the Park's history, as well as the single most themed attraction in the Park.

Paramount Canada's Wonderland is also a leader in the live show entertainment industry, casting up and coming Canadian stars in high-energy song and dance revues for 25 years. Paramount Parks' entertainment programs feature many of Viacom's world leading entertainment brands, such as Nickelodeon, MTV, Paramount Pictures, and CBS. The Park environment provides an excellent opportunity for aspiring entertainers to work along side seasoned professionals. Many of Wonderland's alumni have gone on to successful careers on or behind the stage and screen. This season, the Park presents School of Rock, Live in Concert, based on Paramount Pictures' big screen blockbuster, School of Rock.

Currently, the Park employs over 4,000 seasonal staff annually to assist with its operation. Predominantly students, Paramount Canada's Wonderland is Canada's largest single location employer of youth and York Region's top employer.

"The Park's 25th anniversary marks an important milestone. It's not only a great opportunity to look back upon 25 amazing years, but more importantly, to look ahead to a tremendously exciting future!" says Barry Jones, who recently celebrated his 25th year with the Park.

With over 200 attractions, 65 rides, Splash Works, great live shows and more, Paramount Canada's Wonderland is the best in Hollywood entertainment - Now Playing!

More information about Paramount Parks is available at paramountparks.com.

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