About Us > History

Who conceived the idea of Science North? The answer is not one person but rather several people who worked together to realize what had been a community dream for over two decades. Suggestions for a mining museum for Sudbury first began in the mid-1950s and continued into the 1970s. By the late 1970s, the emphasis had changed toward a centre for science, not just geology or mining technology.

Community discussion became action when former Chair of Inco Ltd., J. Edwin Carter, and the company's Vice-Chair, the late John McCreedy, made it known to community leaders that Inco was prepared to finance a study to explore the concept of a science centre in Sudbury. In April 1980, Carter's successor at Inco, Chair Charles Baird and President Don Phillips presented the late Sudbury Regional Chair Delky Dozzi with a grant of $150,000 to choose a location and complete a conceptual study and feasibility analysis for Science North.

Geologist Dr. David Pearson of Laurentian University was appointed Project Director and the architectural firms of Moriyama and Teshima of Toronto and Townend, Stefura, Baleshta and Nicholls of Sudbury were appointed co-leaders of a study team by the Sudbury Regional Development Corporation (S.R.D.C.).

Chairman Dozzi died suddenly in June, 1980, and was succeeded by George Lund, the first President of Science North's Board of Directors. Lund and the other members of the S.R.D.C. committee received the study team report in November, 1980, and accepted its recommendations on the location, design, concept and implementation of Science North.

Two months later, in January, 1981, Inco Ltd. announced it would make a capital donation to the project of $5 million - the largest single corporate donation to a community project in Canadian history at that time. In April, Falconbridge Ltd. announced it would donate $1 million to Science North, the largest donation in the company's history. And in May, 1981, the Province of Ontario committed $10 million to the project, paving the way to start construction.

The first blast to begin excavation of rock at the Science North site took place on June 29, 1981, and development was underway. Science North opened June 19, 1984 and was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on October 4, 1984. Science North became an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Culture on January 17, 1986.

Since Science North opened its doors on June 19, 1984, it has been serving Northern Ontario with its unique brand of science education and family fun.

Over the years, Science North has had the privilege of hosting many other dignitaries – everyone from TRH Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana and the Princes William and Harry (1991), to Everest mountaineers Sir Edmund Hillary (1987), and Tenzing Norguay’s son Jamling Norgay (1999) to renowned physicist Stephen Hawking (1998). World-famous chimpanzee researcher, Dr. Jane Goodall was a special guest in 2002 and 2009, double Olympic Gold Medal swimmer Alex Baumann has been a visitor, and triple Olympic Gold Medal Rower Marnie McBean helped launch 2004’s special exhibition, the Human Machine. These special guests had one thing in common – the desire to see the unique, hands-on, personal style of this Northern Ontario science centre and its friendly resident Bluecoats (a name affectionately used for the staff because of the blue lab style coats worn on the exhibit floors).