Youth Science Canada (YSC) has been Canada's leading not-for-profit organization for the promotion of innovation and celebration of excellence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among our nation's youth since 1962. YSC leads the national science fair network and is best known for its showcase event: The Canada-Wide Science Festival (CWSF).
Formerly called the Canada-Wide Science Fair, it was first hosted in Ottawa in 1962. This is the second time Montreal has hosted the event. The first time was in 1964. This annual event is Canada's only national science festival, showcasing the projects of 500 young finalists from over 100 regional science fairs with students linked to over 16,000 schools across the country.
The fifty-fifth edition of the CWSF took place at McGill University from May 14-21, 2016. Parents, teachers, youth, industry professionals and the general public were encouraged to attend to experience the exciting possibilities available through the pursuit of science and technology. Following a path of "curiosity to discovery," youth investigate a local, regional or global issue of concern to them and build a solution through their science or innovation project — tackling issues ranging from health research and climate change to robotics and Big Data. Every year, participants from Grades 7 to 12, along with students from CEGEP in Quebec (ages ranging from 12 to 20 years), compete for nearly $1,000,000 in cash awards, prizes and scholarships.
A number of co-sponsors made this project possible including LCEEQ who was recognized as a Developer. LCEEQ’s major contribution was in helping organize StemPower, a three-day teachers’ conference integrated into the Canada-Wide Science Festival. It was a pleasure to be able to offer a Professional Development opportunity to teachers and consultants from across Canada.
A major attraction was Astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space, who delivered the opening keynote address. LCEEQ Chair, Cindy Finn had the honour of introducing Mr. Hadfield to an audience of enthusiastic young scientists, parents and chaperones as well as teachers participating in StemPower.
“The Canada-Wide Science Festival is a wonderful and unique opportunity to bring educators together from across the country. The rich discussion and reflection that takes place when teachers are provided a venue for exchange impacts the way science and technology is taught in our classrooms. We are happy to partner with Youth Science Canada in order to provide this element of the festival,” said Cindy Finn.
A special word of thanks is extended to Christie Brown of the Ministry of Education who was the driving force in having the festival in Montreal. The years of planning certainly proved to be most satisfying as she looked at the faces of the excited and proud participants. Let’s hope that Montreal will not have to wait more than fifty years to host another such event.
For more information about StemPower click here.