Toronto's David Dunlap Observatory re-opens to the public
The David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) – home of Canada's largest telescope – has fully re-opened its facilities to the public.
Starting today, astronomy lovers can take a public tour of the 100-acre property, which includes its main copper-domed observatory and an administration building housing three smaller telescopes.
A crowd of people lined up for the Observatory's grand opening in Richmond Hill today, excited to explore the refurbished grounds.
It's been ages since the University of Toronto (which built the observatory in 1935) sold the DDO to Corsica Development in a controversial deal that had Richmond Hill town staff, residents, and conservationists fighting to keep builders from parceling out the land.
In the years that followed, observatory staff were fired, trees were cut down illegally by developers, and volunteer groups were formed in the wake of what Richmond Hill Mayor David Barrow described as U of T's "cash grab".
Exciting day @myRichmondHill with the official public opening of David Dunlap Observatory @Dunlap_Obs - council welcome from suspended balcony of dome, and lineups of eager visitors show keen public interest! pic.twitter.com/txICHilT8O— Marney Beck (@MarneyBeck) June 9, 2018
Luckily for defenders of the dome, the city designated the site a historic property and Corsica eventually transferred half of the property back to the town of Richmond Hill.
Future plans include turning half the site into an astronomy-themed destination park which will feature an amphitheatre, added walking paths and a low-light level "Star Path" that self-illuminates as you walk it.
But before that happens, there are plenty of ways for visitor to marvel in the night sky views. The observatory offers public programs like Star Talk Nights, where you can view the heavens though telescopes on the lawn.
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