2016 Community Highlights

1. Trip Advisor rating jumped from #108 to #20 out of 289 attractions in Calgary

2. Developed Responsible Energy Transitions strategy

3. Participated in the first annual International Science Centre and Science Museum Day

4. Increased access visits by 50%, representing 11% of general admission to TELUS Spark

Looking Ahead

1. Deliver a series of events, programs and exhibits to mark the 50th anniversary of TELUS Spark and 150th anniversary of Canada 

2. Continued community engagement and development of a new Strategic Plan

3. Build Responsible Energy Transition programming

Community

By: Alison Pidskalny, VP, External Affairs, TELUS Spark

The pillars of TELUS Spark’s Community Strategy are Visitor Engagement, Strategic Partnerships, and Inclusion. In 2016, TELUS Spark partnered with 47 social service organizations representing a range of needs (homelessness, hunger, mental health, disabilities and addiction to name a few). Via this network, we hosted 14,500 people who would have otherwise been unable to visit, an increase of 50% over 2015. In addition, we welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees and displaced residents of Fort McMurray during the 2016 wildfires. TELUS Spark also introduced a new access program in partnership with school districts, targeting marginalized schools. Via this program we welcomed 1,500 students, who received free bussing, a subsidized curriculum-linked school program and a dinner and evening for the students and their families at the science centre.

Looking more broadly at our city and the greater diversification of our economy, the importance of strong family science capital as a lead-in to science, technology, engineering and math-based career choices will be critical. We work closely with our community partners and with Provincial and Federal Government to identify opportunities to convene conversations about the diversification of the economy. As a science centre, we have the unique ability to collaborate with a wide spectrum of stakeholders, engage in conversations and convert those discussions into meaningful actions.

For example in 2016, TELUS Spark participated in and hosted, the Energy Futures Lab, with members of the City, Calgary Economic Development, and representatives of several major energy companies in Calgary, to join other Albertans in the discussion and pilot studies to develop the energy system that the future demands of us.

As a LEED Gold building, TELUS Spark has made it a priority to encourage our members, guests, partners and sponsors to seek out and adopt innovative and clean energy technologies. Specifically in 2016, the Board of Directors allocated reserve funds to developing a Responsible Energy Transitions strategy, including programs and potential permanent installations. In phase 1, we engaged our adult audiences in conversations about how we advance the goal of reducing greenhouse gases, a focus of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #13 – Climate Action. Working with the Ministry of Environment and Parks, the Climate Change Office and the Energy Efficiency Advisory Board, along with other organizations such as Energy Futures Lab and Student Energy, TELUS Spark intends to build on the work we started in 2016 and pursue funding opportunities for energy efficiency and air quality-related initiatives throughout the community.

TELUS Spark is very fortunate to have a strong network among our community partners and corporate sponsors. In 2016, TELUS Spark identified the need to diversify partnerships and work more closely with various levels of government in the areas of innovation and energy sustainability, education and learning and health and wellness. Our network reaches well beyond Calgary and we continue to identify and develop a range of content, community, marketing and funding partnerships.