What is Dynamic Earth?
We’re one of two science centres in our attractions. Science North is a general science centre and Dynamic Earth focuses on earth sciences – primarily geology and mining.
Sudbury is a very unusual geological landscape. About 1.85 billion years ago, a huge meteorite hit the Earth and created the Sudbury Basin, which is visible from space. The structure is home to some of the world's richest nickel mines and we still operate and mine nickel extensively in this region.
Dynamic Earth is built on the outer edge of that meteorite crater and has a model underground mine tour experience, which lasts 45 minutes.
What’s your career history?
I have worked at Science North since I was hired as a student science demonstrator aged 15. Since then I’ve worn many different hats, from leading our education department to overseeing exhibit floors. In July 2013, I became senior manager of Dynamic Earth.
What does your new role involve?
I lead the science centre in achieving its strategic goals and mission.
These include our large goals, but also the day-to-day core operation. Our visitors deserve a fabulous experience and I’m often out on the exhibition floor communicating with them. Recently, I was here at 3am because we had a family sleepover and I was lucky enough to get the early shift.
What are your plans for Dynamic Earth?
We have a $5m (E3.7m, £3.1m) renewal planned for Dynamic Earth that will open in 2015, which will include adding an outdoor geology science park onto our 14-hectare site. We’re also going to change our underground experience to focus even more on modern mining and technology, add exhibits and make changes to our galleries and open a 200sq m (2,153sq ft) special effects theatre. I envisage some kind of 3D effect that really showcases the meteorite hitting the earth and creating the Sudbury Basin.
What will the new exhibits be?
One of the important areas for us to focus on is communicating what modern mining is all about and how different it is from even 20 years ago.
We’d also like an exhibition about the diamond industry in Canada. This has been a developing mining sector in the last decades and we now have the highest quality diamonds in the world coming out of Canada.
What are the challenges?
Securing the funding to do everything we want to do. There’s no limit to our ideas – the limit is the budget. We anticipate having continued support from the mining sector and special government grants and programmes that will help us to tap into funding.
What is the Big Nickel?
The summer of 2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Big Nickel – a gigantic five-cent coin. Dynamic Earth used to be called The Big Nickel Mine, which was opened by a local businessman named Ted Szilva. He created the Big Nickel and the model mine tour experience. Science North opened in 1984 and took over the Big Nickel Mine.
Ten years ago it transformed it into an earth sciences centre with galleries, an HD theatre, gift store and F&B, as well as the underground experience. We’ll have a huge party on 22 July with fireworks and hopefully the Canadian band Nickleback will play. We’ll also host a new exhibit about currency called In The Money.
What are your future plans?
I work for an attraction that I love. I see myself staying and leading new projects and initiatives at a senior executive level for the next 10 or 15 years. Who knows what’ll happen after that. As we say at Dynamic Earth, change is always in motion.