NWT Tourism takes Virginia Falls to streets with virtual reality

The Northwest Territories’ tourism experts say they’ll lean heavily on virtual reality in a new campaign targeting three Canadian cities this spring.

People in Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto will be given 360-degree headsets to see Virginia Falls up close, ride along with migrating reindeer, and paddle a “glassy alpine lake under a midnight sun,” NWT Tourism said in a Wednesday news release.

Starting in February, a car equipped with the headsets will tour the three cities.


Virtual reality will also appear at NWT Tourism’s trade show booths in the same locations. Attendees will have the chance to win trips in different regions of the territory.

Cathie Bolstad, NWT Tourism’s chief executive, said the aim of the campaign is to make the territory more tangible to southern Canadians.

“A picture is indeed worth a thousand words and, from our point of view, augmented reality and virtual reality are worth far more,” Bolstad said in the news release.

A 2020 guidebook to the territory, using similar technology, allows readers equipped with an app to view NWT scenery like Virginia Falls, caribou on the Dempster Highway, and the northern lights through augmented reality.

Despite growth in the number of Asian tourists visiting the NWT, Canadians (excluding the territory’s residents) formed two-thirds of all visitors to the NWT last year.


This latest advertising push, with the hashtag #NWTwillchangeyou, aims to convince southerners the NWT can be transformational.