Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Ontario Science Centre
Ontario Science Centre (OSC) is a science museum in Toronto, near the Don Valley Parkway about 11 km NE of downtown on Don Mills Road just south of Eglinton Avenue East. It is built down the side of a wooded ravine formed by one branch of the Don River.
Planning for the center started in 1961 during Toronto's massive expansion of the late 1950s and 1960s. In 1964 the famous Toronto architect Raymond Moriyama was hired to design the site. Construction started in 1966 with plans to make it a part of the city's 1967 Canadian Centennial celebrations. It was officially named the Centennial Centre of Science and Technology. However construction was not complete in 1967, and the OSC did not open to the public until two years later, in 1969.
At the time the OSC was famous around the world for its "hands on" approach to science. Unlike the traditional museum where the exhibits are there to be looked at, the majority of the exhibits at the OSC were interactive, while many others were live demonstrations (metalworking for instance). Its Communications room was particularly well-loved. It had a number of computerized displays, including a very popular tic-tac-toe game run on a PDP-11.
The center was a huge attraction in the 1970s, but by the early 1980s visiting rates had dropped considerably. Most of the displays were the originals, hopelessly outdated (many computer displays were still driven by the original PDP-11 for instance) and a fair percentage of the displays were broken or damaged. Layers of bureaucracy made it almost impossible to get money (even small amounts) to fix anything, and the staff basically gave up. By the early 1990s employee morale was so low that it was rated the worst place to work in the Ontario civil service.
During the 1990s these issues were addressed by opening the OSC to corporate funding. Today the decay of the 1980s is gone, and the majority of the displays are new. In 1996 the province's first OMNIMAX theatre opened in an expanded entranceway area, and additional changes soon followed. However, as a side-effect of these changes, the focus of the center has been extensively "dumbed down", and is now suitable primarily for younger children.
There are interactive and passive exhibits throughout the buildings. They feature everything in science and nature. They feature geology, the science of nature (in the west wing), Astronomical science, how to play music and technology in the south wing, some artifacts of science.
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