North York’s Ontario Science Centre is celebrating its 52th anniversary this year. The science centre originally opened its doors to the public in 1969 and has been entertaining, educating, and engaging visitors of all ages ever since.
In September of 2013, North York Mayor Mel Lastman cut the ribbon at a grand opening ceremony for the attractions in Ontario Science Centre. It was then that we learned about some exciting changes happening inside; including an earthquake simulator ride called Quake Zone where patrons can experience what it feels like when buildings shake during earthquakes. A solar system walkway offers up close views from Earth orbit as well as other planets in our solar system which are just outside! And if that wasn’t enough, the Centre also has a new theatre with live science shows for visitors of all ages.
The Ontario Science Centre is open 365 days a year and admission is free. Visitors can climb aboard an interactive submarine called Sea-Track as well as experience some hands-on activities like making their own earthquake shake table in Earthquake Lab to visualize what happens when buildings move during earthquakes. All these programs have been designed by professional educators who want kids (and adults) to explore STEM concepts through fun activities that are relevant and engaging! The centre has now truly become the place where curiosity grows!
A $30 million bet on a spot in outlying North York – remote from downtown Toronto – the Ontario Science Centre, turning 52 on Sept. 27 – was designed with a revolutionary “please touch” methodology. After spending $5 million on the project, it ballooned to $30 million; top officials, among them the director, resigned during construction; and it was finished more than a year late – in 1969 instead of 1967, to coincide with Canada’s centennial.
The centre, which was announced as an Ontario centennial project in 1961, was mostly provincially funded and helped by a federal grant. There were so many things about it that were a leap of faith. As Ontario Premier John Robarts predicted, the intersection of Don Mills and Eglinton would prove to be the perfect location. Housing and business development were spread throughout the area, the four-leaf-clover interchange was completed by 1966, and the TTC bus service came along. The centre would be accessible to everyone.
Ontario Science Centre has been operating for more than 50 years and has entertained millions of visitors with exhibitions, programs, research facilities and much more – all designed to provide opportunities for discovery through the process of play.
Raymond Moriyama, only 33 at the time, was hired to design the centre even though he had only completed one major project, the Japanese-Canadian Cultural Centre in North York. Robarts, however, wanted a futuristic design from Moriyama, whose reputation as a modernist architect was already impressive. Moriyama was given carte blanche to design “an international institution of significance.”
Moriyama wondered what it meant. “It’s up to you,” the premier instructed. “I accepted the job only because of this reason,” Moriyama told TVO.org on July 19, 2019.
His drawings were stained with blood as a result of stress. In 1998, he had the “Centennial Centre for Science and Technology” renamed to “Centennial Centre for Science and Technology.” That ushered him into international fame and many more big assignments. Instead of a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, a powerful radio signal from a quasar 1.5 billion light years away set off the opening ceremonies.
The Toronto Star said in the article that seven thousand visitors attended, and the reviews read “fantastic, terrific, wonderful, superb.”
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