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Saying Farewell to the Lollipop Forest

If you've seen Science World from the Skytrain or have had the chance to explore the Ken Spencer Science Park over the last two years, you’ve probably encountered the Urban Density exhibit—affectionately nicknamed the “Lollipop Forest”. The Urban Density exhibit wasn’t a typical Science World interactive—it walked the fine line between a sustainability-themed exhibit and dramatic public art. It was designed to inspire dialogue about space becoming a scarce resource. As the human population continues to grow, the ecological and social consequences of housing density crop up.

Bright and bold, those red spheres were as captivating and camera-ready from afar, as they were up close. Many wonderful photos were taken in that sea of red and many were shared with us through social media at our park hashtag, #swKSSP. The exhibit was even the site of a live Green Couch Sessions music video!

But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and the Urban Density exhibit is no exception. Much love over the last two years led to much wear and tear, so late this summer, we had to make the tough decision to remove the exhibit and rejuvenate the space with something new.

However, dismantling an exhibit of this size is no easy task. Once the park closed at the end of its 2014 season, the work began. Johann and Jacob, two of our awesome and talented workshop staff, bundled up for the chilly fall weather. They armed themselves with a radio to blast away some energetic tunes and got to work at the seemingly grueling task. In total, 450 red balls and their poles were dismantled and taken away from our outdoor science park.

We've had a lot of people express interest in using the red lollipops for other projects, so we invited people to take away as many as they could carry. Bit by bit, parts of the exhibit were carried off and will soon become something new. We're especially excited to see what our creative friends at Projects in Place do with the ones they took. You’ll likely see some relic pieces from the Urban Density exhibit popping back up in the Ken Spencer Science Park in the future. We couldn’t bear to say goodbye to all of the fun vibrant spheres and right now we’re exploring ways of repurposing them.

Luckily, even those that were damaged didn’t have to end up in the landfill. Urban Impact is recycling all the parts. We think it's important to consider the lifespan of an exhibit in its design—not just how to make it educational, interesting and lots of fun. We work hard at minimizing our impact on the environment even when it’s time to say goodbye to our cool stuff.

Although it’s always sad to see an exhibit go, it’s also an incredibly exciting time for us. Now faced with a large empty space in the park, we’re ecstatic to have the chance to dream up something new and wonderful. The plans are in the works and although we have a lot of work ahead of us preparing this space for a new exhibit, we already can’t wait for the day when we’re able to share it with all of you.

Stayed tuned for big changes to come in the Ken Spencer Science Park!

Do you have some cool memories of the Urban Density Exhibit, or the "Lollipop Forest"? Did you capture those memories on camera? Be sure to upload you favourites to Science World Memories Project and stop by the Ken Spencer Science Park to see the space as it transforms into something new!