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The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory

Housing the largest telescope in Canada, the David Dunlap Observatory is an astronomical heritage site that is open for educational as well as extracurricular visits. It offers various activities for all age groups.

Here is your ultimate guide to the David Dunlap Observatory.

The David Dunlap Observatory is owned by the City of Richmond Hill and is a national historic destination. The iconic facility is located at 123A Hillsview Drive. This astronomical observatory is established across a hundred and eighty-nine (189) acres of estate. Opened in 1935, this site of immense educational and cultural importance has been home to many a significant study. Until the year 2008, the observatory was owned and worked by the University of Toronto.

After that, it was acquired by the city of Richmond Hill. It offers recreational opportunities, the preservation of culture and heritage, and commemoration of the historic and prevailing astronomical importance of the site.

Building David Dunlap Obserbatory in Richmond Hill, Ontario

The David Dunlap Observatory is a fully operational site. It contains, as its most treasured instrument, a 74-inch reflector telescope. The telescope once boasted to be the second-largest telescope in the world. Nonetheless, it still boasts to be the largest telescope in Canada.

Not only this, but the observatory is also home to several other telescopes, including but not limited to, a small radio telescope.

The David Dunlap Observatory’s scientific legacy continues to foster at the University of Toronto in its ‘Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics’. Some of the record-setting achievements that the observatory has to its name are;

  •   Measurements of the distance to globular clusters
  •   The observation that Cygnus X-1 is a black hole
  •   The discovery that the Polaris is stabilizing and ‘falling out of the Cepheid variable category

Things To Do at The David Dunlap Observatory

The David Dunlap Observatory is one of the best places to experience astronomy. This regional center for education and public outreach also provides lectures from time to time. Moreover, you can also plan family tours and enjoy the rich history of the observatory.

The space offers free parking in abundance; thus, you can take great benefit from the spacious place.

The observatory is for everyone from beginners to the more experienced people in the field of astronomy. If you happen to visit the facility, you will be greeted by an amazing staff and volunteers who will also show you around the space.

Aerial View of David Dunlap Obserbatory in Richmond Hill, Ontario

One of the most amazing perks for astronomy enthusiasts is that the David Dunlap observatory contains astronomical books dating back to the 30s. On top of that, if you have a clear sky, the view is to die for. Moreover, even if you are not that interested in astronomy, you can definitely benefit from the rich knowledge with a walk around the facility with the help of great staff.

It is worthy to note here that the staff and all the volunteers who help preserve the historical facility are very knowledgeable on the subject matter.

Here’s what they will walk you through if you happen to visit;

  •   A lecture on the historical significance of the David Dunlap Observatory. They leave out no details and answer all your questions with incredible accuracy.
  •   The actual observation where you get to see everything that the David Dunlap Observatory. Moreover, you also get to look through the huge telescope and get a mesmerizing view of the galaxy.

Furthermore, people who have visited the David Dunlap Observatory express that it is a lovely place to visit, explore and take pictures with friends and family. The visitors also say that the presentation given on the history of the observatory is excellent and full to the brim with exciting information.

The observatory is also very well maintained. Having been operational for quite a few years, the David Dunlap Observatory preservation staff never fails to keep it on point for visitors and astronomy enthusiasts.

However, do keep in mind that the facility is closed on Sundays. Thus, if you happen to visit the park on a Sunday you will not be able to visit the David Dunlap Observatory.

Front View of David Dunlap Obserbatory in Richmond Hill, Ontario

Here is a list of everything that you can do if you plan on visiting the David Dunlap Observatory;

  •   You can sign up for a Virtual- Astronomy Speakers Night that costs 12.50 USD. You can join the speaker’s night from the comfort of your home.
  •   You can attend a ‘How to Use Your Telescope’ event. Here, you will be guided through the complete process of setting up and using your telescope. The fee for this activity is 20.02 USD.
  •   You can sign up for the ‘Space Fun’ activity and get to experience every space-related fun activity.
  •   You can register for its ‘Cosmetic Detectives’ activity and learn to navigate the nighttime sky. You can navigate through the constellations.
  •   In the ‘Astronomy Family Night,’ you and your family will have a thorough introduction to the wonders of astronomy. It also includes a fine demonstration of the biggest telescope in Canada for a 15.23 USD per person registration fee.
  •   In the ‘Astro Crafts’ activity, you can learn about the various easy and fun ways to navigate through the night sky. The fun part here is that the registration fee of 21 USD covers a planetarium kit that you can set up to project onto your walls and ceilings at night.
  •   The ‘Sunday Sungazing’ activity is a virtual event that allows you to observe the sun. You can get all your questions about the Sun answered by an Astronomer.
  •   The ‘Up in The Sky’ event is your chance to know beforehand what events and observations to look out for in the sky. This one-hour presentation, through simple and easy language, explains all the exciting celestial events that take place every season.
  •   The ‘Out of This World: The Solar System’ Virtual event provides a family night of fun from the comfort of your very home. The event includes extensive information about every planetary body that surrounds the Earth in our cosmic neighborhood.

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