2018 Annual Report

Calgary Science Centre Society

Mission:

Spark brings people together to learn, play and create with science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

Vision:

Visitors and the community are transformed by a culture of curiosity, risk-taking and problem solving. 

Values:

Collaboration: Spark encourages debate and dialogue, embracing diverse perspectives. Partnerships result in better ideas and outcomes.

Curiosity: Spark inspires people to always be wondering, always questioning, always seeking to learn.

Courage: Spark supports innovative thinking and taking risks. Spark embraces change. Our courage to fail gives us the confidence to succeed.

Commitment: Spark is deeply passionate about its mission and pursues it in everything we do, and in how we do it.

Notable highlights in 2018:

  • Launched the Science of Mental Health for Grades K-12
  • Provided transportation and educational opportunities to more than 3,000 at-promise students
  • Canoo (formerly known as Cultural Access Program) provided access to 3,591 new Canadians
  • Community Access program of 48 partners representing a cross-section of social needs brought more than 12,500 visitor to Spark
  • Spark volunteers contributed 18,000 hours
  • More than 72,500 students and teachers participated in various workshops, semester long prototype projects and one-week science intensives
  • More than 1,600 youth took part in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) experiences
  • Spark completed Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the City of Calgary's  Climate Change Education Plan
  • Partnered with the City of Calgary to launch the first Autonomous Vehicle available to the public with a ridership of over 4,500 guests over 22 days of operation
  • Received two Calgary's Child awards and an honourable mention, Winner "Best Museum for Families," Winner "Best Place to Take Your Kids on a Crummy Day," Honourable Mention "City of Calgary Tourist/ Family Attraction" 
  • Best of Calgary's finalist for "Best Family Entertainment Spot" 
  • Celebrating the combination of engineering and art, Spark brought in two art installations, Albertosaurus by Russell Zied and Sundial by Robert Oldrich, a City of Calgary's Civic Art Collection piece
  • Balanced the budget with a surplus of $97,529
  • Held a cannabis event on August 6 bringing in more than 1,900 guests to educate Calgarians on the future of society and the legalization of cannabis
  • Won the Guinness World Record for the largest functioning Rubik's Cube 
  • Partnered with the City of Calgary's Climate Change Symposium to host Katherine Hayhoe and George Marshall 
  • 2019 Cascades Award Finalist for Junkyard Playground
  • Participated in the Inaugural Calgary Play Summit 


In early 2018, it became apparent that trend of lower than expected general paid attendance would prevail throughout the year. Spark established a risk register to assess the impact of the lower general paid attendance on other revenue streams that we depend on to sustain our business. This allowed us to alter planned expenditures to account for the lower revenues, which ended the year in a surplus of $97,529.

A bright spot to 2018 is a record number of membership sales. This showed the deep affinity for inspiration and education among Calgarians during an economic downturn. This has led to analysis of and changes to the value proposition for both regular and new attendees. We are excited about future prosperity based on the adjustments we are making.

Ensuring Spark visitors leave feeling recharged after each visit, Spark reorganized the fee structure to include unlimited Dome Movies in admission fees, brought in Whales|Tohorā from New Zealand's National Museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, housing the largest whale collection, offered unique and temporary exhibits to spark more conversations about climate change and renewable energy sources, continued to foster community relationships government partners and gained a world win from the Guinness World Records for building the largest Rubik's Cube.