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Dedicated Astronomers Given Canada's Largest Telescope

Press Release From: Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Toronto Centre
Posted: Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In what astronomers might describe as ‘stellar news,’ Corsica Development Inc. is donating the David Dunlap Observatory to the facility’s long-time stewards – the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto Centre.

The decision was made in 2012 by Corsica to transfer the Administration Building and Dome to an agency that would honour the spirit of the Observatory and ensure its long-term viability. Members of the RASC Toronto Centre have been managing and operating the David Dunlap Observatory for the last six years and are the resident experts.

Corsica, which purchased the 190 acre Observatory property from the University of Toronto in 2008, is also donating nearly 100 acres of the land to the Town of Richmond Hill.

RASC Toronto Centre has been involved in public outreach programs at the Dunlap Observatory since it first opened in 1935. The registered charity took on full responsibility for the Observatory and Administration building in 2009, including maintaining and operating Canada’s largest optical telescope. “We’re honoured by this incredibly generous gift,” says Paul Mortfield, President of RASC Toronto Centre. “Fred DeGasperis was very supportive of our work at the DDO and our commitment as stewards of the Observatory and telescope. We will always be grateful for the confidence he showed in us.”

The historic buildings will continue to be a centre for education and science literacy for the community.

For the last six years RASC Toronto Centre member volunteers have managed the facility and provided hundreds of award-winning educational and outreach programs to York Region families and students. Most impressively, they’ve done so without the use of local tax dollars.

Centre members say they’re looking forward to working collaboratively with the town on new programs and projects that will continue to benefit town residents.

RASC Toronto Centre will be the recipient of a Richmond Hill Volunteer Achievement Award on April 17th. The award recognizes the Centre’s ongoing work at the David Dunlap Observatory. The Centre is also receiving this year’s RASC national Qilak Award, which recognizes excellence in promoting astronomy outreach.

The Toronto Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, founded in 1868, has a mandate to promote science literacy. Its more than 900 members include both amateur and professional astronomers.

The David Dunlap Observatory opened in 1935 in Richmond Hill. For more information on this remarkable piece of Canadian history, visit www.theDDO.ca

For interviews please contact: RASC Toronto Centre Public Affairs 647-405-8118 or email publicaffairs@rascto.ca.

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