Spark Blog

Science and History Collide

August 2, 2019
Posted By: TELUS Spark
What’s the best way to celebrate the Canadian Centennial? By building a new planetarium, of course!

We all know that the 60s was an era stoked about science and space exploration and in 1967 Calgary honoured Canada’s 100-year mark by embarking on a mission to bring space closer to the city, through the building of a new planetarium. This massive undertaking began in 1964, when a competition was held concerning the design of what would become a landmark for Calgarian science-lovers and star-gazers alike. After concept models were submitted, construction began on McMillan Long’s design in 1966 and in 1967, the unique concrete building overlooking the Bow River was completed. In the east wing, a lecture hall provided room for scientific discussion, in the west wing the celestial theatre allowed audience members to be dazzled by a dome of stars, and in between the two wings, the library, observation deck and telescopes offered a place for the wanderers to explore. A celebration of space, Canada and inspiration had been completed.

 Calgary Centennial Planetarium Aerial Photo 

In 1984 that the Calgary Science Centre Society moved into the space, transforming it into Telus World of Science -- Calgary. For 27 years this science centre delighted audiences and informed students, but as science learning changed, new technology became available and more people became interested in understanding all aspects of science, it became clear that a new space for new ideas was needed. 

Calgary Centennial Planetarium 1967 Pleiades Theatre

In 2011, after a decade of thinking and planning, Telus Spark opened, offering a space where audiences could not only ask questions about the natural world, but also allow their curiosity to extend from their inquisitive minds to their equally inquisitive hands. An even more massive space for hands-on learning about science, technology, engineering, art and math. A space where STEAM learning could constantly evolve and adapt to the changing times, and that also brought STEAM learning outdoors!

While no space will ever replace our love for the Centennial Planetarium, Spark is an ever-adapting space where a new love for science can emerge and where we can get stoked about the science of every decade! Building excitement for scientific exploration that accompanies the nostalgia and joy that Calgary’s original science centre exuded so that generations of science-lovers can share the memory of visiting, asking, exploring and being inspired in a place of science! 

Celebrate Historic Calgary week by learning more about Calgary’s history or solving the challenging Historic Calgary Week Crossword Puzzle. Hint: you’ll probably be able to solve 22 Across now.