Nationwide partnership ignites the innovator in all of us for Canada’s 150th year

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

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Innovation150 logo and the partner logos
Five of Canada’s leading science outreach organizations launch Innovation150, a national program that celebrates our country’s innovative past and sparks ideas and discoveries to propel our future.

Mar. 15, 2016 (Halifax, Nova Scotia)Travelling science exhibitions, major city-wide festivals, guest speakers, a touring MakerMobile, and dynamic online experiences are some of the inspirational activities Canadians can engage in during a new national partnership unveiled today by five of the top innovation organizations in Canada.

Innovation150 is an interactive, year-long celebration of Canadian innovation that will offer cutting-edge opportunities for youth, families, and communities across the country to experience innovation first-hand. As a Signature Initiative of the Government of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations, Innovation150 will share Canadian innovations of the past and focus on the innovations that will drive our future.

Five of Canada's leading science outreach organizations have partnered to bring Innovation150 to life. Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Actua, the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo, the Canada Science & Technology Museums Corporation, and the Canadian Association of Science Centres, along with its members, will bring Innovation150 exhibits and programming to locations across the country. The program starts in Waterloo Region in October 2016 and then travels coast to coast to coast throughout 2017.

The Honourable Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly unveiled the initiative today in Halifax, N.S., where she announced $5,875,000 in funding for Innovation150 programming from the Government of Canada, through the Canada 150 Fund. Innovation150 is one of several Signature Initiatives planned to celebrate the country’s past, present, and future nationwide in 2017.

“The Innovation150 project will highlight the innovation and creativity that represent us so well, and I am sure it will be able to inspire a whole generation of young Canadians,” said The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “The festivities for the 150th anniversary of Confederation are a unique opportunity to promote and celebrate our outstanding talents in this fields of science, innovation and culture!”

"Canada’s greatest resource has always been the ingenuity of its people,” said Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute, the lead partner of the Innovation150 collaboration. “Innovation and the brave pursuit of opportunities have always characterized us, from Indigenous peoples' deeply rooted knowledge of this harsh, beautiful landscape to today’s increasingly urban, diverse, and progressive society. Through Innovation150, we will honour all the dreamers and doers that have made Canada innovative, and encourage future innovators – especially youth – to pursue ideas, inventions, and initiatives which will solve big problems and open new pathways for the world.”

Innovation150 will provide Canadians of all ages with unprecedented access to exciting science, technology, engineering, and math related activities. The portfolio of integrated activities includes:

  • Power of Ideas National Tour – A highly engaging, travelling celebration that will feature an interactive science exhibit from Perimeter Institute where youth can explore the incredible power of the human mind, plus a speaker series, a MakerMobile from Actua, and in-classroom legacy resources – delivered directly to 80 communities coast to coast to coast.
  • MakerMobile A moving maker space, produced by Actua, that will be full of exciting technology like 3D printers that will allow youth to experiment with hands-on learning and create their own innovations. Part of the Power of Ideas National Tour and in partnership with Actua's national network, the MakerMobile will be focused on visiting remote and Indigenous communities and engaging youth that would otherwise not have access to these experiences.
  • Quantum: The Exhibition – A fully bilingual, interactive, travelling exhibition from the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo that shares the wonders of the quantum world and the emerging quantum technologies that will shape our future. Quantum: The Exhibition will travel to science centres across Canada launching at THE MUSEUM in downtown Kitchener in October 2016.
  • Innovation150 Festivals – Bringing together all travelling components, the Innovation150 Festivals will amplify the excitement of the Canada 150 celebrations and inspire curiosity and innovation through a full range of activities. Hosted by the nation’s leading science centres, these large-scale festivals will include activities to showcase innovation and engage entire communities.  
  • Innovation150 Digital Hub – This go-to digital showcase about Canadian thinkers and new concepts will be the online nexus for Innovation150 activities, with opportunities to explore stories of innovation, share new ideas for a brighter future, and participate in exciting contests that celebrate every corner of Canada.
  • Public Awareness Campaign – Highlighting Canada’s innovation past, present, and future, a national awareness campaign will engage youth, families, and communities with Innovation150 through integrated promotions, media engagement, and interactive online content.


To learn more about this Canada 150 Signature Initiative, please explore:


“Innovation150 will engage Canadians of all ages in truly meaningful and enriching experiences that spark new ideas and build greater capacity for innovators of the future,” said Greg Dick, Director of Educational Outreach at Perimeter Institute. “This is vitally important to the success of Canada as a nation in an internationally competitive world where new knowledge and innovation will be key.”

“Actua is honoured to be partnering with four other leading innovation organizations in celebration of Canada’s amazing innovation past,” said Jennifer Flanagan, President and CEO of Actua. “The Actua MakerMobile will engage thousands of youth in experiences that build their potential as future innovators.  We will be particularly focused on bringing the tour to youth who would not otherwise have access to these types of hands-on STEM experiences. We will also work with our network of university and college-based members to deliver Innovation150 activities in every corner of the country.”

“Quantum technologies are poised to transform the world as we know it,” said Raymond Laflamme, Executive Director at IQC. “IQC is proud to be a part of this unique project that will bring innovative science and technology to communities right across the country. Innovation150 will give Canadians a first-hand glimpse into the ground-breaking quantum science that is happening right here at home, in Canada.”

“Canada’s Science Centres will be the marquee locations for the Innovation 150 programs being developed by our partners and our association is excited to be part of this collaborative experience,” said Stephanie Deschenes, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Science Centres. “Science Centres offer families, youth and school groups the opportunity to directly interact with the science that affects their daily lives, demonstrating current research and encouraging innovation.  The InnovationCanada150 digital platform offers the opportunity to deepen the experience even further.”

“The Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation is proud to join with our partners in this participatory digital heritage endeavour to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday," said Alex Benay, the Corporation’s President and CEO. “The engaging, interactive, crowdsourced InnovationCanada150 digital hub will inspire today’s youth and this country’s future innovators, and allow Canadians from coast to coast to coast to share their unique and fascinating stories of innovation. We are grateful to Canadian Heritage for their generous support for this initiative."

Innovation150 partners

Perimeter Institute

The Perimeter Institute is the world’s largest research hub devoted to theoretical physics. The independent Institute was founded in 1999 to foster breakthroughs in the fundamental understanding of our universe, from the smallest particles to the entire cosmos. Research at Perimeter is motivated by the understanding that fundamental science advances human knowledge and catalyzes innovation, and that today’s theoretical physics is tomorrow’s technology. Located in the Region of Waterloo, the not-for-profit Institute is a unique public-private endeavour, including the Governments of Ontario and Canada, that enables cutting-edge research, trains the next generation of scientific pioneers, and shares the power of physics through award-winning educational outreach and public engagement.


A​ctua is Canada’s leading science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) youth outreach network representing 33 university and college based members. Over 3 million young Canadians have been inspired through their participation in Actua’s hands on educational workshops, camps and community outreach initiatives. Each year, Actua’s growing network of member organizations reach over 250,000 young Canadians in over 500 communities nationwide. At the national level Actua focuses on the engagement of underrepresented audiences through specialized programs for Indigenous youth, girls and young women, at-risk youth and youth living in Northern and remote communities. Actua’s major funders include: Google Canada, Suncor Energy Foundation, GE Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo

The Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) is a world-leading research centre in quantum information science and technology at the University of Waterloo. IQC’s mission is to develop and advance quantum information science and technology through interdisciplinary collaboration at the highest international level. Enabled by IQC’s unique infrastructure, the world’s top experimentalists and theorists are making powerful new advances in fields spanning quantum computing, communications, sensors and materials. IQC’s award-winning outreach opportunities foster scientific curiosity and discovery among students, teachers and the community.

The University of Waterloo is Canada’s top innovation university. With more than 36,000 students we are home to the world's largest co-operative education system of its kind. Our unmatched entrepreneurial culture, combined with an intensive focus on research, powers one of the top innovation hubs in the world.

Canadian Association of Science Centres

The Canadian Association of Science Centres (CASC) is a national platform for Canada’s Science Centres and informal science engagement.  Founded in 1985, the association was created with a goal to create synergy among Canada's science centres and science-related museums, to assist in finding solutions to the challenges faced by these important public institutions, and to provide a single voice before government. The association provides professional development and networking opportunities for the more than 2,000 science communications, support professionals and 10,000 volunteers across Canada.  CASC represents 50 members across Canada that collectively attract an estimated 8 million visitors each year through direct visits, outreach, curriculum-linked school programs, lectures and adult-only events.

Canada Science & Technology Museums Corporation

The Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation is responsible for preserving and protecting Canada’s scientific and technological heritage and promoting and sharing knowledge about it. The Corporation and its three Museums — the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, and the Canada Science and Technology Museum — tell the stories of Canadian ingenuity and achievement in science and technology, and demonstrate how these accomplishments have contributed to the building of our country.