Science World's Made in Canada exhibition explores jockstraps and Don Cherry

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      The trouble with living in a city with so much going on is that it’s always going to be there tomorrow. When was the last time you dropped in to Playland? The VanDusen Botanical Gardens? Even Stanley Park? Yeah—we thought so.

      Canada 150, however, is a great excuse to check out the things that makes Vancouver scoop top marks in all those “livability” contests. With numerous locations taking advantage of the milestone to amp up their offerings, plenty of the city’s best hotspots are providing new and improved experiences for visitors.

      Science World is no exception. Kicking off the year as the host venue for the launch of the Innovation Festival—a celebration of the country’s artistic, cultural, and scientific discoveries, curated to showcase 150 years of Canada’s global contributions—Science World is now diving further into what makes the country great. Launching its latest exhibition, Made in Canada, the venue is set to examine the the country’s best (and weirdest) inventions.

      “Did you know that the Wonderbra was a Canadian creation?” Science World’s Communication Coordinator Jason Bosher asks the Straight over a coffee. “Or the cup that goes in the jock strap when you play hockey? Or the goalie mask? They're just a few of the things we look at in the exhibition.”

      Fortunately, Canada's offerings to global culture extend beyond hockey equipment and underwear—which is definitely a good thing given that the exhibition is primarily hands-on. Designed as a forum where visitors examine the process of design, the collection invites guests to participate in a number of challenges.

      “A lot of the exhibits are about creating something, testing it, and then discovering that an aspect needs to be tweaked before trying again,” Bosher says. “It’s about teaching people how to be innovative and use that part of their brain, rather than  just being a history lesson on why Canada is great.

      “We ask you to build an airplane out of foam parts, and throw it down the runway, for example,” he continues. “You might see that it nose-dives, so then you’d take a paperclip and put it on the back. Visitors can make little bobsleds and test them on the bobsled run. Every day there’s a different challenge—it might be to create the fastest bobsled, or it might be to go down the ramp in exactly 10 seconds. Teamwork is important too, so we have a certain kind of arch that requires a keystone to stay upright. To build it so that it stands on its own takes a few people working together. It challenges you to experiment.”

      Technology has always been an important part of Science World’s programming, and Made in Canada is no different. Partnering with various companies to allow guests to interact with cutting edge digital techniques, the exhibition is proud to introduce visitors to new experiences.

      “One of my favourite parts of the gallery is the virtual reality headset,” Bosher says. “It’s a fun minute-and-a-half journey where you’re travelling down the river in a canoe. Then we have a section where you can create Canadian soundtracks. We have a lot of pucks with a little chip in them, and you can place them into a sound board. You can have up to six pucks at a time, so you can choose sounds like the woods in Ontario, for example, and fit them all together. Then you use the fader to create your own soundscape. There’s a few wild cards in there—one puck is random, so one time you might get Don Cherry, and another you might get a moose, which is always entertaining.”

      Putting on between three and four new exhibitions every year, Science World makes sure that, through its own programming and travelling collections, every visit will have something different. Which, if you ask us, is more than enough reason to spend a lazy Sunday in a giant geodesic dome.

      Made in Canada is at Science World until September 4.

      Follow Kate Wilson on Twitter @KateWilsonSays