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Celestial phenomenon replaced a traditional ribbon-cutting at the Ontario Science Centre’s grand opening Sept. 26, 1969.Scientists beamed a visible rendition of a pulse from a quasar 1.5 billion light-years away to an audience of reporters, their families...

September 26, 1969: Ontario Science Centre opens | Toronto Star

Celestial phenomenon replaced a traditional ribbon-cutting at the Ontario Science Centre’s grand opening Sept. 26, 1969.Scientists beamed a visible rendition of a pulse from a quasar 1.5 billion light-years away to an audience of reporters, their families...

September 26, 1969: Ontario Science Centre opens | Toronto Star

Celestial phenomenon replaced a traditional ribbon-cutting at the Ontario Science Centre’s grand opening Sept. 26, 1969.

Scientists beamed a visible rendition of a pulse from a quasar 1.5 billion light-years away to an audience of reporters, their families and government officials. Around 400 people gathered as the centre opened for an advance preview.

The facility at Don Mills Rd. and Eglinton Ave W. cost about $30 million (or $195 million today). Toronto Star reports at the time noted the centre’s emphasis on understanding science through play, rather than lectures or observation.

“Visitors don’t just look at computers — they play tic-tac-toe against them. They don’t watch exhibitions of hydraulics — they pump furiously on old fashioned hand pumps nearby,” the Star reported.

But despite the sophistication of the centre’s opening ceremonies, the process of shipping its prize opening-day exhibit — rock and dust samples collected by the Apollo 11 mission — can only be described as haphazard.

The Star reported Dr. David Strangway, a scientist at the University of Toronto, drove back from NASA’s Space Centre with the priceless samples sitting in his briefcase. No guard, no security detail. He even “duly declared” the samples at the border, the Star reported.

He didn’t even try taking out insurance on the moon rocks because, he told the Star, “no one could ever place a value on them.”

Nonetheless, Strangway did get a police escort on his way back to the lab, where he and his researchers were allowed to study the samples until the following March.

Parents at the centre’s grand opening watched as their kids ran wild around the new exhibits.

“This is great… you just set the kids free, and you don’t need a babysitter,” Jane Harrington told the Star as her son explored.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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