The Montreal Planetarium is one of the premiere science-related tourist destinations in the city. It is most notable for being the largest and oldest public planetarium in the entirety of Canada, with seating for around 375 people. The Planetarium de Montreal is one of many attractions that were constructed in advance of the 1967 International and Universal Exposition (Expo 67 for short) in Montreal, including the Ile Notre Dame and the Montreal Casino. The planetarium is located in the heart of downtown Montreal at 1000 Rue St. Jacques, within steps of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Peel Street, and numerous restaurants, cafes, bars, and boutiques.
There have been over 250 Montreal Planetarium shows over the years in the Star Theatre. This popular tourist attraction has been visited by over 6 million people since its opening, which is especially amazing when you consider that less than 400 people can be in the place at one time. The sustained popularity of the Montreal Planetarium has caused city officials to come to an agreement to move the planetarium next to the Montreal Biodome. The new combined facilities will be called the Planetarium Rio Tinto Alcan de Montreal. The idea behind the move of the Planetarium de Montreal is to create a greater synergy between the science-based attractions in the city. When the move is complete, both the Montreal Planetarium and the Montreal Biodome will share facilities, and people can enjoy the Star Theatre as well as the Biodome’s four distinct indoor ecosystems. The LEED certified new building will be able to seat over double what the current Montreal Planetarium is able to accommodate, and features the addition of new laboratories, and exhibition rooms. Completion of the project is slated for sometime in the middle of March 2012. The facility will also be enhanced by its close proximity to the Insectarium and the Montreal Botanic Garden.
The Zeiss planetarium projector is the primary projector on the premises, although there are over 100 auxiliary projectors. Although you can witness the cosmos in all of its splendor on a regular basis at the Planetarium de Montreal, they also put on special shows and exhibitions that revolve around particular themes. It may be a certain cluster of constellations, or an educational exhibition about a planet or far-off solar systems. Montreal Planetarium shows cover a wide variety of subject matter and are engaging for people of all ages. You do not have to be an astronomer or expert scientist to enjoy the Montreal Planetarium. Adults and kids alike will have a blast being rocketed into the cosmos and brought into much closer contact than they have ever been before with the stars in the sky.
It is a very modest fee to get into the planetarium, and kids under five get in for free. An Access Montreal Card will also help you to save money, not only on attractions like the Planetarium, but also on public transport and a range of other things while you are in the city. The opening hours change from season to season at the Planetarium, so be sure to check the events schedule for hours of operation and current exhibitions and shows.
Image: Sophie DesRosiers/Planétarium de Montréal