Prepare to rediscover wonder and a deep appreciation for the legendary Leonardo da Vinci in a new permanent immersive experience that has officially launched at Tsawwassen Mills.
Through cutting-edge technology, this multimedia exhibit conveys the extraordinary achievements and works of Leonardo, seamlessly bridging the divide between his time, 500 years ago, and ours.
The Da Vinci Experience is the culmination of a collaboration that spans three nations: Mexico, Italy, and Canada. Sensea Immersive, based in Mexico, has opened similar “edutainment” exhibits in a host of cities around the globe, including Lima (Peru), Beijing (China), and Florence (Italy). The location at Tsawwassen Mills marks the company’s first foray into Canada and the United States, one achieved in partnership with the Italian Crossmedia Group.
Curator Dr. Roberta Barsanti, director of the Leonardian Museum in Vinci, has done an impressive job of embodying the spirit of Leonardo in this multimedia exhibit in a way that will appeal to all ages, from adults wanting historical/technical info and children seeking a lively educational visit.
Your journey begins with a more traditional museum arrangement, as you enter a large airy room devoted to Leonardo’s life and the many facets of his creative and intellectual life. After tracing Leonardo from his birth in 1452 in Vinci, Italy, to his death in 1519 in Amboise, France, you can then wander through and learn about the various categories of his genius, including his work as “The Engineer,” “The Architect,” and, of course, “The Painter.”
At a time when we sometimes take science and technology for granted, it is incredible to consider what Leonardo achieved so long ago. Quite simply, he was a revolutionary thinker and inventor who was the first to draw the interior of the body, who engaged in early urban planning, and who even designed musical instruments.
In order to make his brilliance concrete, the exhibition features 10 to-scale replicas of his various mechanical creations, such as a hang glider, a sun clock, and an amphibious car, each with a description of how it functioned and the inspiration behind its design.
This section of the experience also includes reproductions of some of his famous art works, such as “Virgin of the Rocks” and the “Mona Lisa” (whose image you can pose next to, with your own enigmatic smile). A corridor devoted to the mural “The Last Supper” highlights the brilliance of his artistry, as well as the long-lasting impact and recognizability of the imagery he painted.
From there, your visit reaches another level of sensory experience. An adjoining room takes you to a 360-degree canvas with a projected show that runs for approximately half an hour. What you see has a dream-like quality, with a shifting collage of colours, drawings, paintings, landscapes, and words appearing and swirling all around you.
They populate the walls and the floor of the room, enveloping you in all that Leonardo thought, envisioned, and made into reality. It is almost like you have entered the artist/inventor/scientist’s mind where no thought is too fanciful to pursue. The accompanying sounds and music enhance this sense of possibility and boundless curiosity.
Once you’ve woken from this reverie, you move to the final stage of the exhibit, which involves a virtual reality (VR) experience (approximately 7 minutes). Put on your headset, and you are suddenly transported to Leonardo’s workshop where his inventions turn, spin, and soar in front of your altered lenses.
You’ll leave with a greater awareness of Leonardo da Vinci as an artist, scientist, inventor, engineer, and architect. The Da Vinci Experience also distinguishes itself with a rigorous school program for BC educators with curriculum and lesson plans.
You can find the Da Vinci Experience at the Tsawwassen Mills Shopping Mall (5000 Canoe Pass Way) via Entrance #3 (by restaurant row). The COVID safe experience is open 7 days a week, with admissions every 30 minutes from 10am until 6:30pm except for Sundays and holidays, which run 11am to 6:30pm. Tickets range from $21.99 to $27.99, with special rates for families and groups. Children 3 and under are free with one general admission ticket purchased. The exhibit space is permanent but may change to feature another artist in the future.
Further info and tickets are available online.