Science North is installing a “Northern THINK Hub” at the James L. McIntyre Centennial Library, which is modeled on the popular THINK visitor experience that recently opened at Science North. THINK stands for Tinker, Hack, Innovate, Network, and Know. The hub combines science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, and encourages hands-on experimentation with real tools, materials and processes. Permanent installations will be made in six communities across Northern Ontario, including Sault Ste. Marie, Kenora, Fort Frances, Thunder Bay, Timmins, and North Bay. This project is proudly funded by the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) and FedNor.
These turnkey installations will allow visitors to access equipment, tools and resources not previously accessible in their communities. Visitors will be engaged and inspired in innovative and iterative learning processes, which are critical building blocks in creating a skilled and talented workforce that can propel Ontario and Canada to be a leader in innovation. This project will expand Science North’s reach and depth of engagement with audiences of all ages and backgrounds in STEM fields, including creating inclusive spaces for specific groups underrepresented in computer science and engineering fields, such as girls and women. Northern THINK Hubs will also attract teens and young adults, and increase engagement with minority populations including Indigenous students and the Francophone community.
These Northern THINK Hubs will be hosted at the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library, the Lake of the Woods Discovery Centre in Kenora, Fort Frances Public Library Technology Centre, Thunder Bay Public Library, Science Timmins, and the North Bay Museum.
“Education-based exhibits play an important role in Northern Ontario. Not only do they provide fun and engaging science experiences for northerners, but they also generate revenue for host communities and create employment,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Chair of NOHFC. “By investing in tourism projects that stimulate local economies, we are sending a signal that Northern Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”
“I am proud to welcome Science North’s new permanent Northern THINK Hub to the Sault,” said Ross Romano, MPP for Sault Ste. Marie. “This program will help prepare Ontario students for success by exposing them to valuable skills in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). STEM related learning is crucial to help the next generation secure well-paying jobs, make Ontario more competitive globally, and keep our economy growing,” added Romano.
“Science North is a staple of Northern Ontario’s tourism industry, and I am so excited to have Science North in the Sault! The Northern THINK Hub in Sault Ste. Marie will make us a leader in science education while creating valuable and interesting local experiences for children, youth, and adults alike. On behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, I proudly reaffirm FedNor’s $1.7 million investment across Northern Ontario for Science North’s THINK project and Northern THINK Hubs. Local investments in tourism attract new people from around the world to Sault Ste. Marie, which helps local businesses thrive and create well-paying jobs. This is our government’s priority, and we will always commit to building a resilient, diversified economy in Sault Ste. Marie and across Canada,” said Terry Sheehan, MP for Sault Ste. Marie.
“The Northern Think Hub is a welcome addition to Sault Ste. Marie, and contributes to our community’s efforts to build our future workforce. The hub will provide entertaining and educational experiences to youth; helping them develop valuable skills related to computer science and engineering in an inclusive and welcoming space. I want to thank Science North for its efforts to bring important programming to communities across the north,” said Christian Provenzano, Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie.
“The Sault Ste. Marie Public Library is pleased to be partnering with Science North and hosting one of the Northern THINK Hub sites. We are excited by the prospect of engaging all ages within our community and providing opportunities for experimenting, creating and tinkering while embracing STEM principles. As our library motto says, ‘One stop . . . endless possibilities’!”, said Sharon Wigney, Manager of Public Services for the Sault Ste. Marie Library.
“Science North’s Strategic Plan for 2018-2023 includes being the leader in science engagement and creating new collaborations across Northern Ontario. The installation of THINK Hubs across the six Northern Ontario communities will attract more visitors to the North, resulting in economic benefits for Northern Ontario communities and increased sustainability for the hosting attractions. Science North is very proud of this project, and very proud to work with the NOHFC and FedNor, and our Northern partners on this initiative,” said Science North CEO Guy Labine.