Will include outdoor science park with interactive exhibits
Guy Labine, the science centre's CEO, said the plan includes major expansions inside and outside the home of the Big Nickel. These sorts of projects are key to ensuring Dynamic Earth continues to draw tourists. About 85 per cent of the 600,000 visitors they have attracted were from out of town, generating $90 million in spending.
“We're looking at hands-on, big exhibits,” he said.
Underground, they will spend $1.75 million on exhibits in galleries, as well as new multimedia displays. The remaining money will be spent outside, where there are plans for an interactive science park that incorporates Sudbury's mining history – and the regreening efforts that have helped turned local vistas from black rock to green trees and grass.
The new attractions will include participation from the mining industry, highlighting local products and technology, as well as mining research and innovation.
The $3-million project is expected to generate about $6 million in spending. The city is providing $250,000 through the Greater Sudbury Development Corp. to help them leverage $1 million from both the province and the federal government.
The proposal got a warm reception from city councillors, who praised Science North's ability to keep attracting tourists by undergoing thi sort of evolution.
Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis said Sudburians and tourists alike always love their new exhibits.
“You're giving people another reason to stay another night in Sudbury,” said Dupuis.
Ward 7 Coun. Dave Kilgour said their exhibits have travelled across the world, and set examples followed by other science centres.
“You're providing leadership,” he said.
Mayor Marianne Matichuk praised the fact the city's regreening successes will be part of the project.
“It's something we're internationally recognized for,” Matichuk said. “It's something we should all be very, very proud of.”
While the Big Nickel has been around for decades, Dynamic Earth celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2013. It was created in three phases between 2003 and 2008 at a cost of $25 million. It includes 40,000 square feet of exhibits and two floors of galleries, as well as the underground mine exhibit.
Labine said they plan to have the outdoor science park open next year, with the entire project completed in 2016.