Clear skies ahead for Canada's largest telescope

    Metrus Development and RASC, Toronto Centre Astronomy Club to re-open
    David Dunlap Observatory

    TORONTO, April 22 /CNW/ - The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada,
Toronto Centre and Metrus Development Inc. feel that Earth Day is an
appropriate moment to celebrate the imminent return of one of Canada's most
beloved astronomy landmarks to active service.
    Canada's largest amateur astronomy club has come to an agreement with
Metrus to ensure that the David Dunlap Observatory remains an active, vital
part of the Richmond Hill community.
    Metrus Development purchased the Observatory and surrounding land from
the University of Toronto last July and had been actively seeking an astronomy
club to occupy the 74-year-old facility. The Club has put forward a proposal
that will see the Observatory offer an exciting new range of space science
activities beginning early this summer.
    "The Toronto Centre has been affiliated with the Observatory since it
first opened its doors in 1935," said Dr. Ralph Chou, President of the RASC,
Toronto Centre. "We're delighted by this agreement, which will see the
Observatory re-open to the community during 2009, the International Year of
Astronomy. It has been a pleasure to work with Metrus to achieve this
milestone agreement."
    "Our strength is creating great communities. We do not know how to
operate telescopes or outreach programs related to astronomy," said Michael
Pozzebon, Project Manager for Metrus. "The RASC, Toronto Centre will deliver a
program that we will all be proud of."
    RASC, Toronto Centre will provide public viewing nights, special event
programs, educational programming and education-based research using the
Observatory's 74-inch (1.88 metre) telescope - the largest in Canada.
    "We're especially pleased that Metrus, as the owner of the Observatory,
has a keen interest in seeing us develop new science education and community
activities," said Paul Mortfield, Chairman of the Centre's Observatory
Committee. "Many of our Club members have extensive backgrounds in education
and outreach and we'll be drawing on their expertise as well as looking at
best-practice models in science facilities across North America."
    "One of our main concerns was that the Observatory Dome would not be
utilized; becoming a museum that no one could see. Having this partnership
with the RASC, Toronto Centre breathes life into this very important building
and engages the public to get excited about astronomy," said Michael Pozzebon.

    The Toronto Astronomy Club was founded in 1868 and received a royal
charter to become the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. The RASC has grown
to become a national organization with 29 centres across Canada. The Toronto
Centre is the country's largest astronomy club with more than 550 members. The
Toronto Centre has long been known for providing public stargazing
opportunities and science outreach programs around Toronto. Toronto Centre
members have been setting up their telescopes outside the Observatory since it
opened in 1935.

    The Toronto Centre and its members conduct approximately 100 public
astronomy education and outreach events annually. Locations include the
Ontario Science Centre, schools, parks and local community events. Club
members include both amateur and professional astronomers with a wide variety
of professional backgrounds.

    Metrus Development Inc. was established in 1981. A subsidiary of the
Con-Drain Team of Companies, Metrus Development, along with its sister
company, Metrus Properties, is one of southern Ontario's leading developers of
residential, commercial and industrial properties.
    Metrus prides itself on building master-planned, award-winning
communities, which include Macleod's Landing in Richmond Hill, The Beach in
Toronto, and Lakeshore Woods in Oakville.

For further information:

For further information: Metrus Development, Michael Pozzebon - Project
Manager, (905) 669-5571,; Royal Astronomical Society of
Canada, Toronto Centre, Karen Mortfield - Public Affairs Coordinator, (647)

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The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

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The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto Centre

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