Torontonicity was recently invited to visit the Ontario Science Centre to see the latest exhibits including Game On 2.0 and the IMAX film, Flight of the Butterflies. Game On 2.0 is a retrospective of video games since their inception in the 60s. The exhibition features more than 150 playable games including 3D video games, multi-player games and even pinball machines, the likes of which used to fill the arcades on Yonge Street.
During our visit, there were many available video games to play including Nintendo, Atari, Sega, Pong, Pac-Man and Super Mario to name a few. Never being particularly adept at video games, I was surprised to find that I was able to beat my niece during a few games of Nintendo.
An activity that initially interested boys, video games, according to IpsosMediaCT’s “2012 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry,” are now played by almost half of teen girls in Canada, as well as 40% of parents who play video games with their children.
Game On 2.0 also showcases online gaming, handheld devices and new technologies including a walk-in Virtusphere, as well as science talks. If you are looking for things to do with kids in Toronto, definitely consider bringing the whole family to Game On 2.0 since there is a game that most certainly every age will recognize.
Flight of the Butterflies from SK Films documents the story of Dr. Fred Urquhart, a Torontonian who devoted his life to discovering where monarch butterflies migrated to after leaving Canada in the fall. Watching the documentary on the IMAX Giant Screen at the OMNIMAX Theatre, we felt the sensation of flying under the wings of a monarch and across the farms towards the Mexican monarch butterfly reserve as a result of the spectacular macro photography by Peter Parks, an Oscar winning photographer.
We also saw through time-lapsed photography the insect’s transformation from egg to larva (caterpillar) to pupa (chrysalis), at which point the insect’s organs, tissues and limbs transform to create the new body of a butterfly. Apparently, only one per cent of caterpillars complete the metamorphosis into a Monarch butterfly. Monarch butterflies survive by feeding on milkweed, which makes them poisonous to many predators. Before heading south, Monarch butterflies build up their fat reserves and save energy by riding on the wind and navigating their journey by the sun. Sensory organs to navigate their environment are found in their feet.
Urquhart, who is played by Gordon Pinsent in the film, tracked and tagged these brilliant creatures along with his wife, Norah, to determine their migratory path. The film focuses on the flight of one butterfly, Dana (Danaus Plexippus), and her offspring’s journey from Canada to Mexico and back. Both Dr. and Norah Urquhart received the Order of Canada in 1998 for “one of the greatest natural history discoveries of our time.”
Unfortunately, the Monarch butterfly is in decline; however, watching Flight of the Butterflies in the magnificent OMNIMAX Theatre will hopefully make you appreciate the beauty and intelligence of this living creature. Significant portions of the film’s proceeds will go towards the conservation of Monarch butterflies.
Ontario Science Centre, 770 Don Mills Road (just south of Eglinton Avenue East)
Game On 2.0 runs until September 2, 2013Admission to the Ontario Science Centre is Adult $22, Youth/Senior/Student with ID $16 and Child $13 for Ontario Science Centre admission only. Science Centre and OMNIMAX admission is Adult $28, Youth/Senior/Student with ID $22 and Child $19.