The Spark Science Centre enjoyed an illustrious history and a range of names in Calgary before moving to its current location in the Nose Creek Valley in Renfrew, just north of the Calgary Zoo, in 2011. Originally known as the Calgary Science Centre, its first location, built in 1967 in the West End of downtown, is now home to Contemporary Calgary. (More on that location can be found here). In 2011 the science centre reopened at its current location as TELUS Spark Science Centre and is the first purpose-built science centre in the country in 25 years housing the largest dome theatre in Western Canada.
Throughout its history, Spark Science Centre has continued to be a place of learning, curiosity, and education for all ages, and has placed a new emphasis on integrating art and creativity into its programs. The environmentally friendly building itself is part of the story, as it’s certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program as an LEED® Gold Certified facility. This is an internationally recognized mark of excellence for green building, and means that it is environmentally efficient in heating, cooling, and even plumbing. There are solar panels on the roof, and prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the Spark Science Centre did not use bleach or toxins in their cleaning procedures, preferring green alternatives.
Although the centre is closed to the public at the moment due to COVID-19 restrictions, it continues to offer programming online and is currently in the process of building a new front lobby café, ice cream shop, and Canada’s first permanent digital immersion gallery. These new and exciting local experiences are scheduled to welcome the public in 2021.
Meanwhile, the Spark Science Centre recently opened its doors to five Calgary Philharmonic musicians to perform solos and duets in different areas of the building for the Orchestra’s City Spaces series. Gwen Klassen (Assistant Principal Flute) can be spotted in the atrium, with the One Day on Venus exhibit – by the way, a single day on Venus is 243 days on Earth, or 5,832 hours! The Creative Kids Museum can be spotted behind Jonathan Yeoh (Bass), while Jesse Morrison (Viola) finds himself in the Grand Staircase. Trish Bereti Reid (Bass) and Dave Reid (Bass Trombone), who are from the same household, play duets in the Earth and Sky exhibit, which artfully displays the forces of nature that shape our world.
“It’s very different from our hall, of course,” says Trish Bereti Reid, “but exploring new venues is always a test of acoustics and we very much enjoyed playing playing here.”
City Spaces: Spark Science Centre premieres online on Saturday 15 May 2021 at 7:30PM. Learn more and register on our Virtual Concerts page.
By Dagny MacGregor