This month marks the 50th anniversary of the dedication of this ‘modern’ science facility that has already been closed for more than two decades..but the quaint building in its forgotten state intrigues me.
I discovered an interesting little piece of my city’s history this spring while looking for a new place to explore and play with my two kids. We drove to Coronation Park, which houses several buildings and recreational areas. There is a public pool and a popular science-based attraction, but both required an admission fee and I was feeling cheap and unprepared. So we parked the car and wandered the back area of the grounds where we had never wandered before. That is when we discovered the Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium.
The Zodiac Mosaics on the ground in front of the building suggested a 50s era sensibility. The chainlink fence surrounding the building suggested a certain vulnerability. The crumbling concrete overhang evidence that I wasn’t the only one that had forgotten about this place.
The Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium was Canada’s first Planetarium – originally opened September 1960 – but it has sat virtually unused for the last 25 years. It is a fantastic little building in the Modern Style, quite obviously named for Queen Elizabeth II. :) When the Edmonton Space Science Centre (now called the Telus World of Science) was built in the early 1980s in the same park, the planetarium was closed and basically left to deteriorate; however, it has fairly recently been added to the City of Edmonton Historic Resource ‘A’ list, which means it should possibly be considered for restoration in the near future…
Here’s a great website from someone who was/is quite passionate about this building’s unique architecture and short history: http://www.telusplanet.net/public/hgibbins/QEP/home.html