Canada's largest optical telescope, the 74" reflector at the David Dunlap Observatory is to be closed and its lands redeveloped as part of a plan announced on September 10th by the University of Toronto.

David Dunlap Observatory

Donated by Jessie Dunlap to the University of Toronto in the 1930s in memory of her husband David, the David Dunlap Observatory houses Canada's largest optical telescope. While overshadowed by the enormous light pollution in the Greater Toronto Area the observatory has nevertheless continued to make a substantial contribution in the area of stellar spectroscopy.

In its press release the University noted that an agreement in principle has been reached with the Dunlap family to endow a new Dunlap Institute in Astronomy with the proceeds from the sale of the observatory.  A final vote by the University's Governing Council is expected on October 30th.

An active public tour program at the DDO has provided hundreds of thousands of Ontarians with the opportunity to see a real working telescope facility. Combined with the 1996 loss of the McLaughlin Planetarium this latest closing will will leave the Greater Toronto Area without any major public facility devoted to astronomy.

For further information, please refer to the University Press Release:

eNews date: 
Monday, September 10, 2007