Our Planetarium

I live in Toronto, Ontario, which tries to pass itself off as a world class city. In some instances, I suppose it is, as we boast a large museum, large art gallery, opera house, and many theatres which offer Broadway and off-Broadway shows. We’ve recently put in a huge aquarium and have a zoo which offers the animals large, more natural enclosures rather than old-style cages.

That said, when I first came to Canada, back in June, 1973, one place I loved to visit over and over was the Planetarium, which was attached to the Royal Ontario Museum. For one ticket, I got to see either a laser rock show, which was a spectacular light show to bands such as Pink Floyd, or a lecture which told of the stars and planets in our galaxy, as well as giving access to the museum.

As is the case with all structures, the Planetarium was in need of maintenance which of course costs a fair amount of money. Those in charge had two options: come up with the money, or close. Sadly, they chose the latter.

So now, we tell the world how impressive the Canadarm is, which was used in many space missions, of our heroic astronaut Chris Hadfield, and expect students to strive for such achievements and hopefully either make it into outer space or design/help develop more initiatives such as the Canadarm. That said, wouldn’t it be worth the investment to re-open the Planetarium, which still has the enormous telescope with which to view the heavens, and pique the interest of those whose futures are as yet defined?

With today’s technology, I’m sure the laser shows would be even more spectacular, and as there are more bands today, light shows could be set against bands which appeal to both today’s youth as well as boomers, and even those who enjoy classical music. This would attract not only those living in Toronto, but tourists as well, especially those living in places which do not have anything like our spectacular Planetarium. It would bring much needed money to our city, and give the perfect venue for lectures by Mr. Hadfield. Schools used to and could again, organize field trips for students to learn about astronomy and perhaps follow in Mr. Hadfield’s footsteps and become tomorrow’s number one astronaut.

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