Community residents speak out against Ford’s plan to uproot and dismantle the Ontario Science Centre


In a recent press conference at the Ontario legislature, community residents and local leaders voiced their opposition to the Ford government’s plan to relocate the Ontario Science Centre (OSC).

Shakhlo Sharipova, a community activist who recently spoke at OPSEU/SEFPO’s ‘Save the Science Centre’ rally in May, highlighted the vital role the Ontario Science Centre plays in her community. Thorncliffe Park and Flemington Park, home to the highest rate of newcomers in Toronto, rely heavily on the Science Centre as a local educational resource.

Sharipova explained that she leads a group of special needs children from her Autism support program and shared that they visit the OSC most on Saturday afternoons. The potential relocation to Ontario Place would increase cost and travel distance making the trip too difficult.

Jason Ash, another community activist and tenant organizer, echoed Sharipova’s sentiments. He referred to the OSC as a “national treasure” and a home for most Torontonians and Ontarians. When a reporter suggested replacing the OSC with a community centre, Ash explained that Thorncliffe Park and Flemington Park already have community centres at their cores.

Adil Shamji, the MPP for Don Valley East where the OSC is located, expressed optimism that the “Save the Science Centre” campaign could succeed. He drew parallels to the successful opposition against Bill 28 and the Notwithstanding clause, emphasizing that public opposition has proven effective against this government in the past.

The approximately 400 workers at the Ontario Science Centre, represented by OPSEU/SEFPO Local 549, have made it clear they oppose the plan to move the educational attraction to the Ontario Place grounds in downtown Toronto.

In the Toronto mayoral race, progressive frontrunner and OPSEU/SEFPO-endorsed candidate Olivia Chow is committed to revitalizing the OSC in consultation with the local community:

I am calling on Premier Doug Ford to halt his plan to move the Science Centre. Instead of adding yet another amenity downtown, the Ford government should consult with the local community on how to improve the Science Centre in its current location.

Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Ana Bailao has ignored the local community and the workers at the Ontario Science Centre and praised Ford’s plan to rip out the centre from the Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe neighbourhoods.

In April, The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO) and Toronto Society of Architects (TSA) issued statements opposing the demolition of the Ontario Science Centre.

The message from staff, the community and experts is clear: the Ontario Science Centre is an invaluable asset that must remain accessible to all. The proposed relocation by the Ford government jeopardizes over 400 jobs and threatens to strip the community of a cherished institution and cultural resource. It must be reversed.

OPSEU/SEFPO stands with the workers, the residents, and community leaders fighting to “Save the Science Centre”. The fight continues, and we urge everyone to lend their voice to the cause!

Sign up here and spread the word: