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Fifty years ago, the Ontario Science Centre opened its doors. Among the first of a new breed of science museums, the Ontario Science Centre was — and continues to be — a pioneer in creating immersive, interactive experiences for its visitors.

If you grew up in Ontario, chances are you visited the Ontario Science Centre at some point. With 53 million people walking through its doors over the last 50 years — including millions of students — the centre has been promoting science literacy for generations.

For the Ontario Science Centre, science and tech isn’t a trend. For them, it’s been a decades-long commitment to inspiring and educating visitors about the wonders and power of science — through hands-on exhibits, mind-blowing presentations and experiments. Throughout 2019, the Ontario Science Centre will be celebrating scientific milestones from the past 50 years, showcasing the impact the centre has had on Canadian youth — and the scientists of the future.

Stay tuned for incredible stories from Canadians whose curiosity was sparked by the centre’s immersive experiences — and who were inspired to embark on their own journeys of scientific discovery.

Science Is for Everyone

A global leader in lifelong learning, the Ontario Science Centre is an inclusive and welcoming hub for curious citizens of all ages.

“Science literacy has never been more important than it is today,” says Dr. Maurice Bitran, PhD, CEO, and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. “The rapid pace of scientific advancement and the emergence of new technologies like artificial intelligence and self-driving cars have created an interesting tension in the minds of Canadians.”

“People recognize that these technologies are important, but don’t know enough about them to feel comfortable with their implementation. That’s something the Ontario Science Centre can help with,” he says.

Community access programs help 78,000 children visit the Centre each year, and the Adopt-a-Class program provides access to more than 30,000 students every year from schools in Toronto’s underserved neighbourhoods.

Over the years, this early exposure to the wonder and potential of science has had a dramatic impact on the dreamers and doers who have passed through the centre’s doors — whether they grow up to become famous physicists or astronauts, or simply curious, conscious individuals respectful of the fragility and power of the world.

“My first memory of the Science Centre really comes more from family lore rather than my own recollection. I visited as a kid with my father, who was an electrical engineer. While we were walking around, he stopped at the big laser and told me, “Donna, lasers are the way of the future. You want to see this.” Something obviously stuck about that, because I went into laser physics and helped develop a technique called chirped pulse amplification, which paved the way for laser eye surgery and other applications, in medicine and other industries. It’s not a surprise that the story about my dad and I walking the halls here really stands out in my family.”

– Donna Strickland, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, 2018

Changing with the Times

In times of rapid change, it’s more important than ever to create experiences that help people navigate the technology unfolding around them and find new passions for science and technology. That’s why the Ontario Science Centre continues to evolve, transforming into a hub where visitors can learn about the newest scientific advances from real scientists, and discuss the role of science in society, art & culture.

Throughout this birthday year, the Ontario Science Centre will unveil exciting new ways it plans to continue inspiring and exciting visitors about science.

See What’s next at the Centre

If you haven’t visited the Ontario Science Centre for a while, this is a great time to tap into your inner explorer and take in any of the 600+ activities in 10 exhibit halls, and rediscover a sense of wonder about the world.

RBC clients can celebrate 50 years with the Ontario Science Centre and receive 30% off general admission ticket(s) this summer when they pay using an eligible RBC card online.

Simply sign into RBC Offers and click on the Ontario Science Centre banner. (*Offer excludes IMAX® films, special exhibitions, and parking fees).

Watch out for more stories of achievement and adventure that will be published throughout the year, as we profile past, present and future leaders in science and technology — and how the Ontario Science Centre has played a role in igniting passions that change the world.

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