On May 26, Cathedral High School transformed its forum into a pop-up science exhibition featuring Canada's biggest science organizations.
Created by Perimeter Institute, the Innovation150 Expo was the result of a national contest in celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary. Classes around the country were asked to submit their best science demonstration for the chance to bring renowned institutions into their school for a full day of hands-on discovery.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Department Head of Science Kristina Salciccioli, who organized the school's winning submission together with teachers Guy Larocque, Marzia Occhionorelli, Matt Trabucco, student A.J. Cabasan, the Grade 12 Physics Class and the Grade 11 Chemistry Class.
"We had some of the best research facilities and science educators across the country," said Salciccioli. "This wasn't a tour, this was a one-time happening so to have this for our students was incredible."
Over 1,600 students, including those from feeder schools, were encouraged to explore and engage with each exhibit that offered unique demonstrations in science and technology.
"I almost thought it was going to look like an upscale Grade 7 Science Fair," said Grade 12 student Emma Hornby, who admitted to being blown away by the outcome.
"I love how interactive it is, I didn't think it was going to be this interactive. It's so different, and it's such an amazing experience that people from all over Canada have come to provide us this opportunity."
Highlights included: creating a light waterfall with Canadian Light Source; experiencing Canada through virtual reality with SESQUI; witnessing a quantum-levitating train with the Institute for Quantum Computing; and testing Newton's first law of motion with Perimeter Institute.
A favourite of the day, the Ontario Planetarium, brought an engaging mini-IMAX experience which allowed students to explore the solar system.
"We went through the entire galaxy, and it just makes you feel really minuet and insignificant, but it's so beautiful," said Grade 12 student Melanie Costa. "You realize how lucky you are just to exist because we're nothing in the spectrum of the universe."
Bringing that gratitude back down to Earth, students collectively expressed their appreciation for the opportunity as they took turns engaging with every exhibit and soaking up new knowledge.
"We're an inner city school," said Costa." The chance of having an exhibit like this, it doesn't come often for us. It was cool to see us all come together as a school to make this happen for us. It's pretty awesome."