An Irish goodbye for the Ontario Science Centre


Parents looking for fun yet educational day trips to keep the kids amused this summer suddenly have one less option.

Toronto’s famed Ontario Science Centre rather abruptly closed its doors, just one day into the official start of summer. Most schools hadn’t even wrapped up for the year yet.

The reason for this out-of-the-blue announcement essentially comes down to safety. The building, which opened in 1969, has been deemed not structurally sound due to concerns over a number of roof panels. Some have already questioned the urgency of closing the centre immediately as the major concern is a heavy snowfall could cause the panels to fail-and downtown Toronto isn’t likely to see much snow this July or August. At the same time, if an incident did occur causing injury-or much worse-it would be all the more tragic knowing it could have been prevented. So in that sense, better safe than sorry is probably the best policy.

If there’s one bit of good news, it’s that plans were already underway to move the science centre to a new location at Ontario Place. Unfortunately that’s still quite a ways away from being ready, not expected to welcome guests until 2028. Here’s hoping something of a temporary setup can be established in the interim-or perhaps some of the exhibits can be loaned out across the province and still enjoyed by young and old minds alike.

In a case of not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone, the sudden closure had this reporter thinking back to the last time he’d visited the centre. Truth be told it was probably way back as part of an elementary school trip. Like most who gravitate towards English and writing courses, math and science was never this reporter’s forte. At least not the science that was taught in school. The exhibits at the Ontario Science Centre however had a great knack at making it fun and interesting for all ages, perhaps igniting the spark that would lead to career paths for some.

Whether or not it would have been on this reporter’s itinerary with the kids for this coming summer is hard to say. If nothing else, this unfortunate turn of events will make us all the more likely to make the trip to the Big Smoke once the new building is complete. In the meantime, this can serve as a nice reminder to visit a local museum this summer and appreciate what’s here while it’s here.

-On the topic of school, a big congratulation to all the students, teachers-and yes, parents and guardians, who made it through another school year. A well deserved break from making lunches and rushing to the bus stop. Here’s to a safe and happy summer.

-Adam Prudhomme

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