July 23rd, 2024

Ontario Science Centre abruptly closing due to structural issues

By The Canadian Press on June 21, 2024.

The Ontario Science Centre is shown in Toronto on Friday, May 5, 2023. The Ontario Science Centre is abruptly closing at the end of the day today, after engineers found structural issues with the roof. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

TORONTO – The Ontario Science Centre is abruptly closing at the end of the day today, after engineers found structural issues with the roof.

The news from provincial infrastructure officials comes amid plans from the government to move the science centre from its current home in east Toronto to a new location at Ontario Place on the city’s waterfront, but that isn’t slated to be open until 2028.

A business case released last year by the government found that the current building is facing $369 million in deferred and critical maintenance needs over the next 20 years, and the auditor general has said a lack of government funding is a key cause.

Now, an engineering report has found that there are a number of roof panels “in a distressed, high-risk condition” that could fail under the weight of snow this winter.

The engineering firm Rinkus Consulting Group says fully negating the risk would require replacing each of that type of roof panel at a cost of between $22 million and $40 million and that would take two or more years to complete with the facility closed.

Summer camps had been set to start at the science centre in a little over two weeks and the government says it has identified a nearby school that can be used as an alternative location, but all participants will get full refunds.

Infrastructure Ontario is issuing a request for proposals on Monday to try to find a temporary science centre location until the new one at Ontario Place opens.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2024.

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