Ontario Science Centre

Ontario Science Centre

March 10, 2005 10:00 ET

Ontario Science Centre launches new era of science communication

First phase of Weston Family Innovation Centre now open on site and on-line Attention: City Editor, Education Editor, Lifestyle Editor, News Editor, Travel/Tourism Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 10, 2005) - The Ontario Science Centre ushered in a new era of communicating science to the public with today's opening of the first phase of the Weston Family Innovation Centre, the cornerstone of the Science Centre's $40-million Agents of Change transformation project.

This "Scientific Times Square" utilizes a dynamic blend of art and technology and a provocative collection of experiences in a grand architectural space to showcase contemporary and controversial issues in science and technology. It features regularly changing content that explores current news, poses topical questions, seeks opinions, sparks debate and highlights recent discoveries.

"Canada's young people are its future and the steps being taken by the Ontario Science Centre will help them become the innovators and problem-solvers of tomorrow," said Galen Weston, president of The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the lead private sector partner in the Agents of Change initiative. "Our family foundation is pleased to have been able to make this exciting new space possible and have our name associated with such a unique approach to innovation."

During Thursday's opening, the Science Centre announced a $1 million contribution from the Department of Canadian Heritage, adding it to the list of lead partners for Agents of Change along with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the Government of Ontario and Knowledge Partner DuPont Canada.

"The opening of Phase One of the Weston Family Innovation Centre is a significant milestone for the Ontario Science Centre and the Agents of Change initiative," said Minister of Culture Madeleine Meilleur. "Our government is pleased to invest in the Science Centre, a venue that delights, informs and challenges more than one million visitors a year, and is one of the most visited cultural attractions in Ontario."

The Centre also unveiled a new Web site, www.redshiftnow.ca, which features content from the Weston Family Innovation Centre to extend its experiences beyond the walls of the building.

"By allowing visitors to explore current science news and research, both on site and online, we will pique their curiosity and inspire them to ask their own questions and seek answers," said Lesley Lewis, CEO of the Ontario Science Centre. "This approach is one step towards giving visitors the tools and skills necessary to contribute to a culture of innovation."

The first phase of the Weston Family Innovation Centre is framed by massive rear-lit glass portals, a towering ceiling and metal wall cladding. The design, led by renowned Canadian architect Jack Diamond from the Toronto firm of Diamond Schmitt Architects Incorporated, also improves visitor navigation within the Centre and adds public space to the facility.

Within the walls, visitors young and old will discover a place to discuss and debate contemporary topics and express their own views. There are 10 unique experiences within the first phase of the Weston Family Innovation Centre:

• Main Screen --- a mixture of images, videos and animation on a towering screen showcase science content as diverse as natural disasters, mad cow disease and the most recent news from the world of space exploration
• Science Hot Spot --- Science Centre staff and guest scientists explore current science and technology issues in daily live presentations
• Question of the Day --- a giant kinetic sculpture poses a query on a provocative issue, giving visitors the chance to express their opinion and compare their views to the tallied results
• Headlines --- science headlines updated daily on a 20-foot LED scrolling screen
• Notes --- large plasma screens flash quick tidbits of current, fun and provocative science discoveries
• Updates --- more in-depth interaction is possible where visitors can provide their own views in response to provocative questions and issues raised by weekly science news
• Field Diaries --- digital field diaries from scientists at work around the world allow visitors to go to places they normally wouldn't be able to go and see the broad range of experiences that science can offer. One example is Dr. Darrell Tan from the University of Toronto who is dispensing anti-HIV medications at a clinic in Burkina Faso.
• Human Clock --- photos and animations provided by the public are part of this time-keeping device suspended from the ceiling
• Interactive projections --- floor projections that respond to visitor steps mesh the realms of art and technology in a 'river' and a 'reflecting pool' in front of the Main Screen
• Lounge --- a gallery for youth to have a voice, starting with a display of creations by industrial design students from the Ontario College of Art & Design who were challenged to use DuPontTM Corian® material in new and innovative ways.

When the second phase of the Weston Family Innovation Centre is completed in the spring of 2006, four additional experience areas will be opened that are designed to help visitors explore and develop the attitudes, skills and behaviours that are critical to becoming innovators. This new area will serve as the cornerstone of the Agents of Change transformation initiative, which first opened to the public in November 2003 with KidSpark, a learn-through-play space specifically designed for children eight and under. Subsequent components will include Grand Central, the inspirational space where science meets art in large-scale experiences based on the ancient elements of earth, air, fire and water; Youth Exchange, with state-of-the-art classroom facilities; and Exploration Plaza outside the front of the building.

The Ontario Science Centre delights, informs and challenges visitors through engaging and thought-provoking experiences in science and technology.

For more information visit www.OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

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COMING SOON to the Ontario Science Centre!

March Break, 17 days of special programming and open to 8 pm every day, March 12-28 OceanMen: Extreme Dive and Adrenaline Rush: The Science of Risk, IMAX films opening April 29
Mystery of the Nile, IMAX film opening fall 2005
/For further information: please contact Matt Akler, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3154, matt.akler@osc.on.ca or Alicia Stanton, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3191, alicia.stanton@osc.on.ca/ IN: EDUCATION, ENTERTAINMENT, SOCIAL, TRAVEL

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