Ontario Science Centre (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)Ontario Science Centre (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Ontario Science Centre to close Friday

A new engineering report has prompted the abrupt closure of the Ontario Science Centre.

An engineering report commissioned by Infrastructure Ontario stated that there are structural issues with the roof and that some panels could fail under the weight of snow this winter.

Due to the report, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Science Centre, and the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre have agreed to close the facility at the end of today.

"The actions taken today will protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at the Ontario Science Centre while supporting its eventual reopening in a new, state-of-the-art facility," said Kinga Surma, Ontario's Minister of Infrastructure. "In the meantime, we are making every effort to avoid disruption to the public and help the Ontario Science Centre continue delivering on its mandate through an interim facility, as well as alternative programming options."

The province said it would reimburse all members of the Ontario Science Centre and summer camp participants within 30 days. In addition, a nearby school has been chosen as an alternative location to host summer camps for previously registered campers, free of charge.

The closure comes amid plans from the provincial government to move the science centre to a new location at Ontario Place on Toronto's waterfront.

According to the province, relocating the science centre instead of refurbishing it will save taxpayers $257 million over 50 years.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) responded to the province's announcement, saying that "renovating the current building is both more environmentally and socially responsible and considerably cheaper than constructing a new, smaller facility at Ontario Place."

OFL's president, Laura Walton, said she's concerned about the 300 workers who are now in limbo concerning their jobs.

"The decision to close this esteemed institution reflects a lack of vision and commitment to children's education," Walton said.

Paul Kortenaar, the CEO of Ontario Science Centre, commented that the memories created within the walls of the building are truly special and will be used to help create a new space.

"For more than five decades, the Ontario Science Centre has been a beloved landmark and an integral part of our community and our province. Our building itself has been part of the experience, and a cherished space for generations of visitors, sparking wonder and curiosity about science and the world around us every day," Kortenaar said.

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