Col. Chris Hadfield inspires visitors to reach for the stars at the Ontario Science Centre

Centre dedicates new "To Be an Astronaut" exhibit featuring artifacts from the Canadian astronaut to former CEO Lesley Lewis

TORONTO, April 29, 2015 /CNW/ - It all started with Neil Armstrong. The moment Armstrong descended from the lunar module to explore the moon's surface on July 20, 1969, nine-year-old Chris Hadfield knew he wanted to be an astronaut.  "To Be an Astronaut," a new exhibit at the Ontario Science Centre that features personal items on loan from the Canadian astronaut, highlights Colonel Chris Hadfield's career trajectory and the importance of education.

"As a child, I had the chance to come to the Ontario Science Centre and see the reality of science displayed interactively," said Hadfield. "Instead of just being some dry, theoretical, two-dimensional explanation of something, it was real. It allowed my imagination to run free and to see how things really worked. I count myself so lucky that just when I was starting to become aware of the world, I got a chance to come to the Science Centre and see how the world really fit together."

"Colonel Hadfield's story, from an awestruck child to becoming the commander of the International Space Station, exemplifies the importance of inspiration, education, and hard work" said Dr. Maurice Bitran, CEO, Ontario Science Centre. "The Ontario Science Centre strives to be a place of inspiration and education for new generations of astronauts, scientists, engineers and a science-literate public. We are delighted to dedicate the exhibit 'To Be an Astronaut' to former CEO Lesley Lewis who championed life-long science learning and discovery throughout her 16-year tenure, encouraging future generations to reach for the stars."

"To Be an Astronaut," a 60" H x 80" L x 40" D display case located at the entrance to the Science Centre's Space Hall, includes a number of Hadfield's personal effects:

  • USAF/USN test pilot flight suit, 1987-1992
  • NASA Astronaut pilot helmet, 1992-2013
  • USAF/USN test pilot helmet with oxygen mask, 1988-1992
  • NASA flight gloves
  • Royal Canadian Air Force uniform tunic, with Colonel rank
  • Winter flight jacket
  • NASA flight suit,  November 1995
  • NASA flight suit, April 2001

"The world knows about Colonel Hadfield's accomplishments, but we wanted to go behind the scenes and share his career trajectory – the how behind his becoming commander of the International Space Station," said Dr. Mary Jane Conboy, Director of Science Content and Design. "Only a small number of fighter pilots become test pilots, and a very small percentage of test pilots become astronauts, and an even smaller number of astronauts become Commander of the International Space Station."

The Ontario Science Centre has welcomed more than 49 million visitors since it opened in 1969, implementing an interactive approach adopted by science centres around the world. Today, the Science Centre is a leader in free-choice science learning and a key player in Ontario's innovation ecosystem, offering lifelong learning through hands-on, engaging experiences. It is a prime venue for public dialogue about science, technology and society. 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

Social Media Links
Twitter: @OntScienceCtr | #ScienceNOW

SOURCE Ontario Science Centre

Image with caption: "Ground control to Col. Hadfield! The retired Canadian astronaut was at the Ontario Science Centre today to dedicate the “To Be An Astronaut” exhibit, which features a number of his personal effects, including a NASA flight suit, to former CEO Lesley Lewis, who championed science education during her 16-year tenure. (Photo Credit: Ontario Science Centre) (CNW Group/Ontario Science Centre)". Image available at:

For further information: Media contacts: Anna Relyea, Director, Strategic Communications, 416-696-3273, cell: 416-668-1967,; Jefferson Darrell, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3154,; Andrea Mus, Media Relations Officer, 416-696-3191,


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