The building was constructed for Expo 86 and opened in 1985 as the Expo Preview Centre, becoming the Expo Centre in 1986 when the fair opened. During the world’s fair, the pavilion housed the Futures Theatre, a theatre with push-button voting. The film, A Freedom to Move was featured in the OMNIMAX® Theatre.
The Science World "golf ball" is actually a geodesic dome, the design of which was created by American inventor R. Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983). Fuller patented 28 inventions in his lifetime; perhaps the most famous is the geodesic dome which was patented on June 29, 1954. One of the most famous geodesic domes in the world was the American pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal. The original architect for the Science World dome was Bruno Freschi. The architect for the additions made to transform Expo Centre into Science World was Boak Alexander.
In addition to the OMNIMAX Theatre and the Science Theatre, Science World is home to five permanent galleries: Eureka! Gallery; Search: Sara Stern Gallery; the Kidspace Gallery; Our World: BMO Sustainability Gallery; and Puzzles and Illusions. It also boasts a feature gallery for special exhibitions, the Peter Brown Family Centre Stage for live science shows, the Kaleidoscope Science Store, Triple O's White Spot restaurant and administration offices.
Did you know ...
- The building is 155 feet tall with a foundation of reinforced steel in a cement slab.
- There are 182 piles supporting the building. The clearance of the deck at high tide is one foot.
- There are 172 parking spaces in the guest lots, including six spaces for guests with disabilities.
- There are 391 lights and 766 triangles on the Science World dome.
- There are 15,000 pounds of extruded aluminium and aluminium panels on the dome. The panels are 1 mm thick and are covered with a vinyl surface.
- Science World has a total building area of 10,220 square metres and a total exhibit area of 4,275 square metres. The building’s volume is 36,790 cubic metres.
- The centre’s air-conditioning system uses chilled water for cooling and gas-fired boilers for heating.
- The length of the ramp leading to the OMNIMAX Theatre is equal to the length of two football fields.
- The OMNIMAX Theatre seats 400 people. Its screen is 27 metres in diameter. The theatre’s sound system uses high-fidelity, six-channel, two-way sound with sub-bass to create an unparalleled surround sound experience. Twenty-eight speakers are located in clusters behind the theatre’s screen. A 45-minute film requires about four kilometres of OMNIMAX film stock.
- The 15,000 watt xenon lamp that lights the screen is so bright that if you placed it on the surface of the moon and focused it at a spot on Earth, you could actually see its light.