Science World British Columbia is a charitable organization that engages British Columbians in science and inspires future science and technology leadership throughout our province.
About Science World British Columbia
Science World at TELUS World of Science, in Vancouver, provides children and families with access to cutting-edge, curriculum-linked galleries, films and hands-on educational programs. Our facility also houses the OMNIMAX® Theatre, featuring one of the largest dome screens in the world. These activities inspire the development of inquisitive minds and positive curiosities towards science and technology that lay the groundwork for a thriving, knowledge-based economy for British Columbia.
We aim to touch the lives of more British Columbian families and students each year and have connected with over 13 million visitors since opening in 1989.
Our vision of providing science-based educational opportunities across BC has always been a key part of our mandate. We use interactive science demonstrations, hands-on classroom workshops and electronic delivery to stimulate excitement and curiosity about science and technology.
Since 2001, Science World has opened Kidspace (a gallery for 2 to 6 year olds), the Science Theatre (a state-of-the-art theatre), Our World Gallery (about sustainable communities), Eureka! Gallery (focusing on physical sciences) and BodyWorks (a transportable gallery exploring human life sciences).
In 2004, Science World entered into a groundbreaking, multi-year, $9 million naming-rights agreement for our False Creek facility, now known as TELUS World of Science.
In 2006, Science World launched the Champions of the Future Campaign. This campaign secured funds for major repairs to our building, the creation of a unique outdoor science experience, and the revitalization of Search: Sara Stern Gallery. Extensive renovations to the building began in 2010 and were completed in 2012. The renovations resulted in larger gallery spaces, a science park and the Green Roof.
Positively influencing children’s attitudes about science and technology takes time and persistence. Through community collaboration, government partnerships and private sector support, Science World will continue to help British Columbia’s youth gain the skills they need to be successful in our growing, knowledge-based economy.
Staff and Volunteers
Science World employs approximately 80 full-time staff and 100 part-time employees, many of whom work weekends and holidays in this complex, seven-days-a-week operation. The additional efforts of 120 volunteers provide Science World with thousands of hours of time and energy and ensure an exceptional visitor experience.
Science World’s staff is one of its greatest assets. Passionate and committed are two terms often used to describe the enthusiasm and attitude that staff members bring to their jobs. Some employees have been with the organization since its opening in 1989 and provide a strong sense of continuity to the operations. All share a sense of pride in their work and know that they contribute to a community-based educational and recreational resource that benefits many people.
Science World at TELUS World of Science is located in a landmark geodesic dome, originally built for Expo 86. An extensive renovation took place after the world’s fair, doubling the floor area from its original 55,000 sq. ft. to over 100,000 sq. ft. Although it is an expensive building to operate and maintain, the unique appearance of the structure offers valuable awareness benefits. The facility’s close proximity to the SkyTrain and other transit systems is also a tremendous advantage in ongoing marketing efforts.
Science World at TELUS World of Science underwent a $35 million renovation that added 14,000 sq. ft. of gallery space, a new lobby, environmentally sustainable building elements and more!
The building contains a number of public exhibit areas and galleries:
- Eureka! Gallery
- Feature Gallery
- Our World: BMO Sustainability Gallery
- Search: Sara Stern Gallery
- Level 1 circulation area, featuring the Peter Brown Family Centre Stage
- Level 2 circulation area, featuring BodyWorks
- OMNIMAX® Theatre
- Science Theatre
- Four teaching labs/classrooms
In addition to these exhibit spaces, we offer the public a unique science store (Kaleidoscope), a convenient concession stand (Snack Lab) and a Triple O’s restaurant.
Scope of Operations
TELUS World of Science is open daily except Christmas Day and special events, such as a staff development day on the first Monday of every September. Hours vary seasonally to accommodate increased attendance and tourism business during summer months and winter/spring breaks.
The Feature Gallery at TELUS World of Science showcases temporary exhibitions created, designed and built by Science World or rented from a variety of sources. These visiting projects can be relatively expensive to bring in and market to our audiences. Science World develops exhibitions—like Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body—to leave a residual value with Science World through an exhibit rental network with other science centres across North America.
Feature exhibitions and accompanying programs change three to four times a year. Special events and seasonal programs are scheduled throughout the year with an emphasis on key attendance periods, like winter and spring breaks.
The OMNIMAX Theatre seats 410 people. Its screen is 27 metres in diameter and five storeys high, making it one of the largest dome screens in the world. The theatre features twenty-eight speakers, in six clusters behind the screen and uses 12,000 watts of power through a high-fidelity, six-channel, digital sound system. A massive sub-bass driver at the front of the theatre contributes to an unparalleled surround sound experience. A 45-minute film requires about four kilometres of OMNIMAX film stock.
Science World hosts OMNIMAX films on a regularly scheduled basis and usually leases the films from a number of specialized distributors. Science World has also been involved in successful co-production collaborations on three of the most popular large format films ever produced, including Super Speedway, Everest and the Academy Award™ nominated film, The Living Sea.
In 2001, Science World opened its renewed, high-definition Science Theatre. Using state-of-the-art visual technology, its premier show, Over Canada: An Aerial Adventure engaged visitors with awe-inspiring visuals of Canada’s geography, topography and people. The theatre is also a venue for innovative and experimental live stage performances which educate and complement exhibit themes.
One of Science World’s priorities is to demystify science and make it more approachable to a broad range of ages and interest levels. An engaging, well-trained and service-oriented staff is critical. Many of our science facilitators hold (or are working towards) a post-secondary degree and all show a unique blend of science familiarity and theatrical presentation. Regular surveys of customer satisfaction are conducted, as Science World actively seeks visitor feedback on how it can improve its product.
Community Outreach Programs
Science World is more than a Vancouver-based attraction. Our goal of providing science-based educational opportunities across BC has always been a key part of our mandate. Thanks to funding from the Provincial Government, through the Ministry of Advanced Education, Science World had 7 years of outreach programming that included Community Science Celebration events, On the Road programs and Opening the Door high school career networking events.
In 2015/16 Science World made outreach programming part of its mandate and allocated funds from within to support On The Road programs.
For our organization's history, see our Mission and History page.
OMNIMAX® and IMAX® are the finest motion picture systems in the world. Images of unsurpassed size, clarity and impact, enhanced by a superb, specially-designed six-track sound system, are projected onto giant screens. OMNIMAX theatres feature domed screens; IMAX theatres feature rectangular screens.
The OMNIMAX Theatre at TELUS World of Science is one of the largest dome theatres in the world. Its screen is 27 metres in diameter and five storeys high. The theatre seats 410 people. Only two other OMNIMAX screens are as large as the one at Science World. These are at the Liberty Science Center in New Jersey and one at La Défense in Paris, France.
The OMNIMAX image is ten times larger than a conventional 35mm frame and three times larger than a standard 70mm film. The film runs through the projector at 24 frames per second, the same as conventional films. A 45-minute film requires about four kilometres of OMNIMAX film stock. The sheer size of an OMNIMAX film frame, combined with the unique projection technology, is the key to the extraordinary sharpness and clarity of OMNIMAX films.
OMNIMAX projectors are the most advanced, highest precision and most powerful projectors ever built. The key to their superior performance and reliability is the unique Rolling Loop film movement that is exclusive to these projectors. The Rolling Loop, invented by Australian Ron Jones, advances the film horizontally in a smooth, wave-like motion. During projection, each frame is positioned on fixed registration pins and the film is held firmly against the rear element of the lens by a vacuum. As a result, the picture and focus steadiness are far above normal standards.
Sound is critical to the OMNIMAX experience. The six-channel, two-way sound system with sub-bass, is manufactured by Sonics Associates Inc., a world leader in sound system design. In the OMNIMAX Theatre, 28 speakers are in clusters behind the theatre’s screen.
The OMNIMAX system has its roots in Expo ’67, where multi-screen films were the hit of the Montreal fair. A small group of Canadian filmmakers and entrepreneurs who had made some of those popular films decided to design a new system using a single, powerful projector, rather than the cumbersome multiple projectors used at that time. The result: the IMAX motion picture projection system which would revolutionize giant-screen cinema.
IMAX premiered at the Fuji Pavilion during Expo ‘70 in Osaka, Japan. The first permanent IMAX projection system was installed at Ontario Place’s Cinesphere in Toronto, in 1971. OMNIMAX, the sister system of IMAX, debuted at the Reuben H. Fleet Space Theater in San Diego in 1973.
The OMNIMAX Theatre at TELUS World of Science was constructed for Expo ‘86 when the building served as the Expo Centre. During the World’s Fair, the pavilion housed the Futures Theatre, while the film A Freedom to Move was featured in the OMNIMAX Theatre.
Science World has participated in the production of a number of OMNIMAX films including The Living Sea (1995) which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (short feature), Super Speedway (1997), Everest (1998) and Extra-Large Shorts (2005, 2008, 2015).
Science World Friends and Patrons
Over the years, Science World has benefited from the dedication and energy of key individuals who have played a significant role in ensuring our success. These individuals have been honoured by being named a Friend or Patron of Science World.
- The real term for the “golf ball” that houses TELUS World of Science is actually 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 building was constructed for Expo ‘86 and served as the Expo Centre. During the World’s Fair, the pavilion housed the Futures Theatre. The film A Freedom to Move was featured in the OMNIMAX® Theatre.
- The original architect was Bruno Freschi. The architect for the additions that transformed the Expo Centre into Science World was Boak Alexander.
- The building contains seven galleries, two theatres, four teaching labs/classrooms, a science store, a White Spot Triple O’s restaurant and administration offices.
- The building is 47.24 metres tall.
- The building is supported by 402 piles and a foundation of reinforced steel in a cement slab.
- The clearance of the deck at high tide is 30cm.
- There are 391 lights and 766 triangles on the TELUS World of Science dome.
- There are 52,163.12kgs of extruded steel and steel panels on the dome.
- Science World’s air conditioning system uses chilled water for cooling and the building is connected to the NEU (Neighborhood Energy Utility) for heating.
- The length of the ramp leading to the OMNIMAX Theatre is equal to the length of two football fields.
- A 45-minute OMNIMAX film requires about four kilometres of OMNIMAX film stock.
- The OMNIMAX Theatre screen is 5 storeys high.
- The 15,000 watt xenon lamp that lights the OMNIMAX 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.
- Over 550,000 people visit TELUS World of Science each year.
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