Science North selects Thunder Bay waterfront site for regional expansion

A Thunder Bay waterfront location is the “preferred” location for permanent residence for Science North’s expansion into northwestern Ontario.

In a press release, the Sudbury Science Center announced that the Pool 6 site in the city’s harbor will be the location to build its 34,000 square foot attraction.

The property is the former site of the Pool 6 grain elevator, which was demolished and the land redeveloped as part of the Marina Park redevelopment years ago. The site also hosts cruise ships on the Great Lakes.

Science North said it has had a presence in the city since 2010, entertaining and educating nearly 30,000 young people through camps and various outreach programs.

From a tourism perspective, the proposed attraction has the potential to welcome over 80,000 visitors per year, generate 5,000 hotel room nights, with annual visitor and operating expenditure projected at 6 million dollars per year.

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Science North said the Northwest Expansion project is in the schematic design phase, which involves engagement with community engagement, Indigenous communities, community organizations and the City of Thunder Bay.

This design phase is funded by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, FedNor, the Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) of Thunder Bay and the City of Kenora.

City of Thunder Bay officials reportedly played a “key role” in supporting the project financially, providing staff to run workshops for responders and helping find a site. Once the site is chosen, Science North and the city said they will work with other partners on next steps.

“We are excited to move forward with the schematic design phase of the Northwest Expansion and are grateful to have the support of all three levels of government to do so,” said Science CEO North, Ashley Larose, in the release.

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“Science North’s growth opportunities in Thunder Bay and the region align well with the city’s vision of a thriving and sustainable community. Choosing Waterfront Pool 6 as our desired location is an exciting step in our North West expansion. This phase of the project will also see us map out the design elements and determine what the experiences will be during your visit.”

In a statement, CEDC CEO Eric Zakrewski said they had been working on finding a suitable location for more than a year.

“We at CEDC and Tourism Thunder Bay envision that this project could be a catalyst for other major investments in the development of Pool 6 associated with recent and planned cruise operations and tourist attractions. Ultimately, these lands could form a new hub in our community for science, technology, arts, culture and tourism, attracting thousands of visitors year-round and contributing millions to our local economy.

Science North has established a project office on Cumberland Street in the north end of the city. Members of the public are encouraged to introduce themselves and share their thoughts on what they would like to see with the new Science Centre.

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