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Group rallies to save Ontario Science Centre

Politicians, advocates and community members gathered to rally against the permeant closure of the Ontario Science Centre on June 23, 2024. (CP24) Politicians, advocates and community members gathered to rally against the permeant closure of the Ontario Science Centre on June 23, 2024. (CP24)
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Politicians, advocates and community members are trying to save the Ontario Science Centre from permanently closing

The group met in Toronto Sunday afternoon, two days after the Ford government announced the permanent closure of the site due to structural issues. The effort is being led by the grassroots organization Save Ontario’s Science Centre, or Save OSC, which hopes the government will rectify its decision and make the repairs needed to re-open the space.

“This is an institution that has been neglected,” Opposition Leader Marit Stiles said to demonstrators at the rally. “This could have been prevented, and this can be prevented.”

The government’s decision to close the site, which was based on a report by engineering firm Rimkus Consulting Group, found that the building was at risk of potential roof failure, as early as this winter.

The centre was built in 1969 and has, over the years, seen structural damage. Last year, a business case found that the facility was additionally in need of major mechanical, electrical and elevator system repairs.

Instead of investing in repairs, the government has decided to close the space and commit to its plan of relocating the centre inside of Ontario Place, which is set to begin construction next year.

The relocation will see the loss of over half of the size of the current facility and cost taxpayers millions of dollars. However, according to a business case, relocating the science centre from its current location to Ontario Place would also save about $250 million over 50 years.

Closure will impact ‘every kid in Toronto’

Arushi Nath, an Ontario student in Grade Nine, expressed her concern with the closure to CP24. She said that she would rather see funding go into repairing the current centre, instead of rebuilding a new one.

“I think the Ford government is trying to rob us of one of the only science centres that we have,” said Nath “It’s a science centre that so many kids go to every year, kids make up 25 per cent of the visitors, […] this will have a huge impact on every kid in Toronto.”

Nath, who is deeply connected to the Science Centre and holds two national science fair awards, said that the province needs to see more science centres opening, not closing.

Arushi Nath, an Ontario student in Grade Nine, shared her thoughts on the closure of the Ontario Science Centre with CP24 on June 23, 2024. (CP24)

“If it were my choice, we’d need to convince the Ford government first to re-invest in the Ontario Science Centre, re-open it, spend all the money to get the roof fixed, and then keep investing in it,” she said. “Keep building new science centre’s all across Ontario, because we need more science centres, not the removal of the ones we already have.”

So far, over 31,000 people have electronically signed a letter requesting that funding go into the current Ontario Science Centre, and not its relocation.

-With files from CP24’s Codi Wilson and Andrew Brennan

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