Toronto hasn’t had a standalone planetarium since the McLaughlin Planetarium closed its doors in 1995. That could change if a group of influential local people can sway politicians, corporations and philanthropic donors.
Space Place Planetarium Canada is a not-for-profit organization that has been quietly working for nearly two years to get its organization and plans in place before beginning a public fundraising campaign.
It’s hard to imagine that a city as large and diverse as Toronto hasn’t had a public planetarium in nearly 25 years. Imagine all the youth who have missed out on what the wonders a planetarium can bring to life.
According to Space Place, the planetarium “will bring to life human initiatives in astronomy and aerospace, showcasing VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), and AI (artificial intelligence) applications in an innovative exciting story-telling format. All elements of the Planetarium designed to promote STEAM education, careers, and recruitment. with special attention reaching disadvantaged communities.”
Space Place further states that “all elements of the Planetarium designed to promote STEAM education, careers, and recruitment. with special attention reaching disadvantaged communities.”
SpaceQ contacted Henry Lotin the President and Co-Chair of Space Place Planetarium Canada by email and asked him why now? After all, this isn’t the first time an effort has been made to bring back a planetarium to Toronto. Lotin and others tried about 10 years ago.
To this Lotin replied the “time is now because of improved tourist attraction picture, interest in creative public-private partnerships, and civic engagement in competing in global competition for skills. Skills not just in Space industries, but in STEM and STEAM more broadly, which is key feature in our vision. Everyday will be career day.”
With respect to tourism, Lotin said they have a former Deputy Minister of Ontario Infrastructure and Tourism who has been advising them on a variety of issues.
Public launch of Space Place fundraising effort
The first fundraising event is scheduled for January 28. The event will feature the CBC’s Quirks and Quarks host Bob McDonald presenting his new book, An Earthlings Guide to Outer Space.
Tickets are currently available through Eventbrite and include a copy of McDonald’s book. The event is being hosted at Blakes Law who are one of the initial collaborators. Other organizations collaborating on the effort include MDA, Simon and Schuster Canada, Global Public Affairs and FIRST Robotics Canada.