Ontario Science Centre celebrates Ontario 150 with Inventorium and The Maple Leaf Forever Tree

Two new visitor experiences engage and ignite imaginations of all ages

TORONTO, July 19, 2017 /CNW/ - Where can you make a simple circuit, create a critter, spin a giant web and take in local history by way of a tree trunk? The Ontario Science Centre, of course! On July 19, to celebrate Ontario 150, the Science Centre officially opened Inventorium, a new hands-on learning space, and unveiled The Maple Leaf Forever Tree, an eight-foot, historically-significant hand-carved wood sculpture that pays tribute to Toronto's vibrant history.

"There are few things more powerful than creating something yourself – especially when it's a product of your own imagination," said Maurice Bitran, Ph.D., CEO, Ontario Science Centre. "These new visitor experiences showcase what's possible when we combine experimentation, collaboration and critical thinking. Inventorium encourages visitors to flex their creative muscles and bring their ideas to life. And The Maple Leaf Forever Tree illustrates the beauty achievable when taking a collective approach to a creative challenge."

Created to celebrate Ontario's sesquicentennial, Inventorium is a dynamic, fun, free-choice learning space for the whole family. Visitors are invited to roll up their sleeves and put their creativity to the test through a variety of hands-on, interactive experiences that continually change and evolve. From building a kinetic sculpture to designing conversation-starting coasters, and from participating in research to making intricate drawings under a stereoscopic microscope, Inventorium offers something for the innovator in everyone.

Supported by Ontario150 funding from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Inventorium was researched, designed and fabricated by the Ontario Science Centre's team of scientists, designers, writers and craftspeople.

"Launching this innovative, collaborative and fun space is a fitting way to honour this milestone year," said The Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "It is important that government continue to support initiatives like these that use science and art to inspire, empower and engage Ontarians of all ages and – in particular – our next generation of leaders, innovators and engaged citizens."  

To bring this experience to life, the Science Centre collaborated with other organizations in the local innovation ecosystem, including STEAMLabs, The Maker Bean Cafe and Little Inventors, as well as academic partners Brock University, Ryerson University, University of Toronto and University of Waterloo.

The opening of Inventorium on July 19 coincided with the official unveiling of The Maple Leaf Forever Tree. On this day four years ago, Toronto experienced a severe weather event, resulting in the downing of the silver maple that is said to have inspired Alexander Muir to write the song The Maple Leaf Forever in 1867.

The wood was divided up among heritage groups across Canada to create commemorative objects and artworks. Dedicating more than 6,000 volunteer hours of tool-wielding time and care over a three-year period, Ontario Wood Carvers Association members shaped 35 maple leaf-framed vignettes of Toronto's history – from pre-confederation to modern day. The Maple Leaf Forever Tree will remain on permanent display at the Ontario Science Centre for visitors to enjoy.

"It's been very rewarding to carve at the Ontario Science Centre," Tom Gallagher, President, Ontario Wood Carvers Association. "We were given a lot of support from the Science Centre, and we've been able to display our dedication to woodcarving to visitors from all over the world."

On Sundays in August, visitors can join volunteers from the Ontario Wood Carvers Association in Inventorium for a 30-minute You Can Carve activity that allows participants to carve their own take-home wood creation – no experience required!

Inventorium and The Maple Leaf Forever Tree are included with general admission. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

About Ontario Science Centre

The Ontario Science Centre, a Centennial project, has welcomed more than 51 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach now adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is an international leader in free-choice science learning and a key contributor to Ontario's education and innovation ecosystems, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. As a publicly assisted organization, the Science Centre relies on generous individuals, corporations and foundations who share a commitment to science and education for additional operating support. For more information about the Ontario Science Centre, please visit OntarioScienceCentre.ca.

About Ontario Wood Carvers Association
Founded in 1978, the Ontario Wood Carvers Association promotes and celebrates the art of woodcarving in Ontario. This non-profit, volunteer-run organization develops high-profile public projects, hosts an annual Ontario woodcarving championship and brings carvers together at events and through publications and social media. For more information about the Ontario Wood Carvers Association, please visit OntarioWoodCarvers.ca.

SOURCE Ontario Science Centre

For further information: Media contacts: Anna Relyea, Director, Strategic Communications, 416-696-3273 | c: 416-668-1967, Anna.Relyea@osc.on.ca; Jefferson Darrell, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3154 | c: 647-464-9665, Jefferson.Darrell@osc.on.ca; Andrea Mus, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3191 | c: 416-895-5482, Andrea.Mus@osc.on.ca

RELATED LINKS
https://www.ontariosciencecentre.ca

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