David Dunlap Observatory Park Returning To Former Splendour
Over the last year the 86-year-old David Dunlap Observatory has undergone a major facelift while the city of Richmond Hill continues to make major progress on restoring the park to its former splendour.
The City of Richmond Hill is continuing to make significant progress restoring the Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory (RHDDO) Park to its former splendour. Richmond Hill’s acting mayor, Joe DiPaola, had a chance to comment on the continuing development of the site. “The Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory Park will be a destination park where visitors come to see Canada’s historic observatory, celebrate the stars and enjoy acres of natural parkland. Already a popular and cherished landmark in our community, I am amazed by the work that was done to these buildings to restore these historic treasures.” The RHDDO property is a 76.5-hectare site located in central Richmond Hill between Bayview Avenue to the east, the CN rail line to the west, 16th Avenue to the south and Hillsview Drive to the north.
During the last year, complex work was cautiously carried out on the 86-year-old buildings to restore the exterior heritage features to their initial state. This consisted of refurbishment of wood windows and doors, repairs and preservation of metal surfaces, replacement of metal roofing and flashing, masonry and concrete repairs and renovation. Ward 6 Councillor Godwin Chan, chair of DDO Park Project Steering Committee, is enthusiastic about the project. “I am excited to see the progress taking place at the Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory site where the buildings have been restored to their former glory. The revitalized buildings add to the natural beauty of the park that can be enjoyed by all residents in the future.” Karen Cilevitz, Ward 5 Councillor and vice-chair of DDO Park Project Steering Committee, is also passionate about the project. “I am proud that the unique Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory is enroute to becoming a vibrant and inclusive place where our community can gather, learn about astronomy and appreciate natural green spaces.” The City of Richmond Hill owns the 40 hectares of parkland, the Observatory Dome facility with the original 1.88-metre telescope and the Administration Building.
“I am excited to see the progress taking place at the Richmond Hill David Dunlap Observatory site where the buildings have been restored to their former glory. The revitalized buildings add to the natural beauty of the park that can be enjoyed by all residents in the future”Ward 6 Councillor Godwin Chan, the chair of DDO Park Project Steering Committee
Supplementary efforts were made to protect the structures for the future, such as the installation of new foundation waterproofing and drainage systems, upgrades to existing municipal services, and improvements to electrical systems. The restoration work is an integral part of the RHDDO Park Master Plan and was finished on time and within budget.
Its unique historical features make the RHDDO a popular commercial filming location. For example, scenes from the well-liked Netflix series The Umbrella Academy were filmed on the site. This site is a vital part of Canadian history and Richmond Hill’s rich heritage. A number of important studies have taken place at the observatory, including the first direct evidence that Cygnus X-1 was a black hole.
The city is also progressing on other projects recognized in the first stage of the plan, setting the groundwork for the improvement and development of this destination park that will draw visitors from the entire the GTA.
Woodlot restoration work already ongoing will protect and improve the natural areas in the parkland and return the woodlands to a healthy forest. More than 8,000 trees and shrubs have been planted and fencing has been installed to guard the recently planted trees from browsing deer and to permit tree growth.
Later on this year the city will commence building a 2.25-km trail system so residents can enjoy more of the natural beauty of this park during all seasons.
For more information about the history of the RHDDO visit RichmondHill.ca/RHDDO.