TSA issues open letter on Ontario Science Centre closure

The Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) urges the government to re-open the Ontario Science Centre.

The current Ontario Science Centre on Don Mills Road, in Toronto. Photo by BuBZ at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3056582

On June 21, 2024, the provincial government announced that the Ontario Science Centre’s landmark 1969 building, by Japanese-Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama, would be closed immediately, for an indefinite period of time.

It cited an engineering report by Rimkus to justify the closure, saying that the report found “serious structural issues with the Ontario Science Centre building.” While these issues would not be expected to materialize until the winter, according to Infrastructure Ontario, the intervening months were needed “for staff to safely vacate the building.”

However, a deep dive into the report reveals a different story. It suggests that the building’s key exhibition areas could continue to operate safely for years to come—even if the Ontario government chooses not to invest in any structural roof repairs this year.

For some time, the government has had plans to move the science centre from its location in east Toronto to a redeveloped Ontario Place that will be located on the city’s waterfront.

The closure that was recently announced, however, has been deemed “unnecessary” by Moriyama Teshima Architects, the firm of the architect who designed it.

Several others have also voiced their concerns about the closure including the Toronto Society of Architects (TSA), who issued an open letter, which is featured below.

RE: Ontario Science Centre Closure

Last Friday’s sudden closure of the Ontario Science Centre—one of the province’s most recognized educational facilities and among Canada’s most significant architectural landmarks— is deeply disappointing, especially considering there are other viable options to continue to use the existing facility for its intended use.

Back in 2023, when the Province first made public its intentions to move the Ontario Science Centre (OSC) from its purpose-built home, we issued a letter urging the Premier and his government to reconsider this decision. We noted the OSC’s irreplaceable value as part of the province’s and country’s history, the inextricable relationship between the building and its location within a ravine, and the OSC’s important role as a cultural and community resource for the historically underserved Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe Park neighbourhoods. We continue to stand behind these principles.

Additional information has surfaced after our initial letter, including the significantly reduced size for the Science Centre in its new proposed location, the projected embodied carbon of the new facility, and the lack of any maintenance or adaptive reuse plan for the existing OSC’s site. These updates continue to reveal that decisions are being made without considering the full picture of city building or the best interests of Ontarians.

Last week’s sudden closure of the OSC has been justified as necessary for public safety, but this is a mis-characterization of what the report prepared by Rimkus Consulting Group actually states. The report only identified a small portion of roof panels as critical or high risk, and proposed safe alternative options that do not require the closure of the Science Centre. This is a recommendation welcomed by many of our colleagues, including the team at Moriyama Teshima Architects, as well as journalists Elsa Lam of Canadian Architect and Alex Bozivokic of the Globe and Mail who have done close readings of the engineers’ report. Moriyama Teshima Architects have even gone above and beyond for the public by offering their services pro-bono to avoid full closure of the OSC.

We remain steadfast in our position that the retention, repair and update of the Ontario Science Centre’s current building is in the best interest for all Ontarians. We urge the government to reverse the proposed move and take the necessary steps to re-open the OSC.

On behalf of the Toronto Society of Architects Executive,


Ana-Francisca de la Mora, OAA, FRAIC

Barbora Vokac Taylor, OAA, MRAIC
Vice Chair

Pamela Bruneau, OAA

Joël León Danis, OAA, FRAIC
Executive Director



How to pay for repairing the Ontario Science Centre? Let’s start by using the money it’s taking to close it

The true cost of repairing the Ontario Science Centre is much, much less than what Infrastructure Ontario has been saying—and the proof is in its own documents

Cost of Ontario Science Centre temporary location exceeds cost of roof repairs

Ontario Science Centre doesn’t require full closure: A close reading of the engineers’ report

Closing science centre unnecessary, says firm of architect who designed building

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