The words Rainbow Valley still conjure up happy memories for many Maritimers and a new documentary explores the history of the theme park that closed nearly a decade ago.
Monday night, a new film premiered in Charlottetown to revisit how much the summer getaway meant to those who visited it.
Two Island filmmakers spent more than a year making the documentary. Monday night was the first time the finished project was screened and hundreds turned out with many on hand saying the park holds a special place for them.
The Island's star attraction opened in 1969 and closed in 2005.
John Davison says he can still remember his father's legacy, as he describes it, a Disney World for the Maritimes.
“It was a wonderful experience to be able to share with families, with children,” he said. “I just want the film to rekindle some of these memories people had, and bring back the good feelings.”
'A Disney World for the Maritimes' - John Davison
The documentary was funded through an Indiegogo campaign. Producer Alexis Bulman says it shows the story was one Islanders wanted told.
“It meant a lot to a lot of people, their childhoods, their families,” he says. “Growing up, Rainbow Valley was a staple, it was something everyone in P.E.I. could relate to. That showed, we reached almost all of our goal on Indiegogo in the first two days.”
Director Patrick Callbeck interviewed more than a dozen people, everyone from visitors to employees. He says many of them had shared experiences.
“There's one story we tell in the documentary about a woman who brings her husband to Rainbow Valley for the last time as he's very ill and it'll be the last time he gets to go,” he says. “And it's a very touching story and we thought it was very unique but it turns out it happened quite a few times and people had these emotional stories.”
The filmmakers are taking their documentary on the road. It will be screened as part of the Atlantic Film Festival on Sept. 13th in Halifax.
For mobile device users: What Rainbow Valley attraction was your favourite?