More than a tourist attraction, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre is a non-profit community resource that provides a unique learning experience for all. Visitors can learn about space and the night sky through planetarium star theatre shows, live demonstrations, and an interactive exhibit gallery. Next to the Space Centre is the Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory.
The H.R. MacMillan Planetarium opened its doors on October 28, 1968, a gift from lumber magnate H.R. MacMillan to the citizens of Vancouver. With the advent of space exploration during the 1960s, H.R. MacMillan wanted to provide a resource for his day and future generations.
When the facility opened, it consisted of the Planetarium Theatre. With the addition of an exhibit gallery and a new theatre in 1997, the Space Centre evolved into the community resource it is known for today, providing learning opportunities for everyone.
Building and surroundings
The distinctive structure was designed by architect Gerald Hamilton, and has become one of the most recognized buildings in Vancouver. While the roof of the building may look like a spaceship, this unique dome was in fact designed to resemble the hats of the Haida people. Since its opening in 1968, the Space Centre has shared the building with the Museum of Vancouver.
Outside the building, and standing more than six metres tall, the stainless steel crab was a gift from the women of the Vancouver Centennial Committee to celebrate Canada's According to Haida legend, the crab is the guardian of the entrance to the harbour.100th birthday in 1967. Designed by Vancouver artist, George Norris, and built by Gus Lidberg, the statue took three months to weld together and was barged down False Creek for the final installation on October 14, 1968, two weeks before the opening of the Planetarium. According to Haida legend, the crab is the guardian of the entrance to the harbour.