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#TBT: 50 Years of Calgary’s Science Centre

June 8, 2017
Posted By: TELUS Spark

The year was 1967. Calgarians (all 335,000 of them!) prepared to mark the Centenary of Canadian Confederation, otherwise known as Canada’s 100th birthday, with the opening of the city’s Centennial Planetarium.

Fast-forward 50 years, six names and one new building later. The Centennial Planetarium is now TELUS Spark and we’re looking forward to celebrating our 50th birthday! A milestone like this calls for some reflection, and we’ve picked out a few moments definitely worthy of a #TBT hashtag.

Calgary’s original Dome Theatre

The Centennial Planetarium was home to a 255-seat theatre with a 65-foot domed screen. During its first year, the planetarium showcased programs that spoke to the era’s increasing interest in space exploration, with titles ranging from “Our Spaceship Earth” to “Space Belongs to Man.” 

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Our 100,000th visitor

In February 1968, the Centennial Planetarium welcomed its 100,000th visitor, nine-year-old Peter Flett.  We recently celebrated another milestone – in February 2017, we welcomed our 2 millionth visitor since opening the new building in 2011!

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CyberSense

In May 1994, our first home-built travelling exhibit called CyberSense hit the road! This was the science centre’s first and only major travelling show, visiting Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Newfoundland and the Calgary Stampede. The exhibit was based on what interesting creative software was available at the time, how computers worked and what computer art was. It was many guests’ first taste of what “online” was – very slow modems! 

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The Amazement Park

Back at our old address and before the days of The Brainasium, the adrenaline-pumping place for outdoor adventure at the science centre was known as The Amazement Park. This interactive playground opened in 1999 and had activities like becoming a human sundial, lifting a 320-kilogram globe and making music with a variety of objects! 

Amazement Park

Recognize these rings?

In 2001 artist Garry Jones created Pole Shift, commonly known today as the “spinning rings” outside of TELUS Spark. The piece was funded through a generous donation by the late Don Harvie, who at the time thought the exterior of the previous science centre could use a little extra sparkle. If you take a closer look at Pole Shift, you’ll see the original plaque is still attached to the new base.

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Join us for our Big Birthday Bash on Neighbour Day, June 17, as we celebrate our 50th!

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