Top 5 engineering wonders you can visit during March break

March break is not even half over! If you need some local ideas of where to go as a family this week, here are our favourite engineering wonders that are in Ontario and totally worth the visit.

1. CN Tower – Civil construction engineering

The CN Tower is an iconic piece of the Toronto skyline and the world’s tallest free standing structure when it opened in 1976. That title was held for the next 32 years until the record was beaten by Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE. The construction of the CN tower was a big moment in the history of engineering. In 1995 it was given the title of one of the “Seven Wonders of the Modern World” by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Click here for an interview with a structural engineer, Patrick Quinn, on the 40th anniversary of the CN Tower’s opening. For the anniversary National Engineering Month also took part in a wonderful panel discussion on the CN Tower.

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers with be at the CN Tower from March 12-16! Come visit!

There’s also an engineering wonder right next to the CN Tower: the Rogers Centre (formerly known as the SkyDome). When it was completed back in 1989 it was the only sports stadium with a fully-motorized retractable roof. Click here for a timelapse of the stadium’s construction.

photo from Wikipedia

2. Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Stations at Niagara Falls – Electrical power engineering

Niagara Falls is not just a natural wonder, but an engineering one as well! Just a few kilometres north of the famous Horseshoe Falls are the Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Stations. Hydroelectricity makes up almost a quarter of generated energy in Ontario, so these generators are an important contributor to the well-being of Ontarians and the economy. The Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Stations are owned and operated by NEM 2018 sponsor Ontario Power Generation. Thank you OPG!


3. Big Nickel – Mining engineering

The Big Nickel is a 9-metre replica of a Canadian nickel located on the grounds of Dynamic Earth, a science centre in Sudbury. The giant nickel represents the legacy of minin – especially of nickel – in the Sudbury area. The science centre is a favourite spot for young people in Sudbury to learn about earth science and mining engineering and every year the PEO Sudbury Chapter holds their annual National Engineering Month bridge building contest at Dynamic Earth. In addition to bridge building, this year NEM was kicked off by lighting the Big Nickel purple (see above). Fun fact: The Big Nickel is actually made out of stainless steel!

4. St. Lawrence Seaway – Civil transportation engineering

The St. Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes Waterway make up a crucial trade trade route for Canada and the United States. It is a combination of locks, canals and channels that enable larger boats to bypass obstacles such as the Niagara Falls and the rapids of St. Mary’s River. Jacques Cartier would have never made the water voyage all the way into the Great Lakes back in the 1500s, but now lake freighters are common on the lakes, carrying bulk cargo such as ore and grain. You can find Ontario St. Lawrence Seaway locks in Iroquois, St. Catherines, Thorold and Port Colbourne.

For the Canada 150 celebrations, the Toronto Star wrote a piece about the St. Lawrence Seaway. The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is a proud sponsor of NEM 2018 and we thank them for their partnership!

5. The Avro Arrow at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum – Aerospace engineering

During the 1950s, Avro Canada designed and built a supersonic aircraft called the Arrow. The highly advanced aircraft was intended to be used by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Avro Arrow’s design was so advanced that initial testing had it poised to be a challenger for air speed and altitude records at the time. Unfortunately the project was canceled and the Arrow never fulfilled its potential. Pieces of the aircraft are on display at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Learn more about it here.

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