Richmond Hill’s David Dunlap Observatory receives national historic designation

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna has announced the Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory (RHDDO) as one of eight new national historic designations across Canada.

The property is a 76.5-hectare site located in central Richmond Hill, between Bayview Avenue to the east, the CN rail line to the west, 16th Avenue to the south and Hillsview Drive to the north. When construction was completed in 1935, the main telescope was the second largest in the world and the largest in Canada.  A number of significant studies have taken place at the Observatory, including the first direct evidence that Cygnus X-1 was a black hole.

The City of Richmond Hill became the proud owner of the David Dunlap Observatory lands in 2017, including the park, the Observatory and the Administration Building. The City worked for years to protect the cultural and natural heritage features on the property, through a number of studies and a heritage designation by-law.

The property continues to be a regional centre for education and public outreach, and serves the local community through programming, such as summer camps for youth, astronomy-themed speaker nights and stargazing, lecture nights and historical tours.

“This national historic site comes after years of staff efforts to preserve the cultural heritage of the DDO and to have it recognized nationwide,” said Mayor Dave Barrow.

Photo courtesy of the City of Richmond Hill

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