The David Dunlap Lands Must Be Preserved

1131 words - 5 pages

In 1935 the lands of Richmond Hill became home to the world’s second largest telescope. Jessie Donald Dunlap funded the David Dunlap observatory, DDO, in the memory of her husband Alexander Dunlap. These 189 acres of land were given as a gift to the University of Toronto. For years it has been a helping hand leading towards solar and lunar discoveries. July 2008, The University sold this to a company called Metrus. The DDO has been apart of the community for 76 years and without a doubt should be protected as a part their heritage and environment to be enjoyed by current and future generations. Not only is the observatory inscribed in Richmond Hill’s and Canada’s history, it is also an influential aspect in the environment and home to hundreds of species of animals and plant life. To take over the land and continue with development, surely the previously listed attributes will be lost.

With careful investigation of topographical aspects, Clarence Chant found the ideal land upon which the observatory would be build. Seeing it for the first time, Jessie Dunlap proclaimed “this is the place!” and 1930 the project began. This site is located on a rise in the land in the south of the city of Richmond Hill. From a young age, Chant fervently worked towards establishing this observatory and with the funding of David Alexander Dunlap, this was made possible. Up to today’s date the architectural styles of the era can still be seen and studied. The administrative building is exemplar in demonstrating beaux-arts classical architectural style. It has also been the source of many astronomical discoveries such as Supernova1987; an exploding star. The observatory was also given recognition, as it was there that the very first confirmation of a black hole was made i.e. Cygnus X-1. Throughout the years its doors were open to the ambitious students of the surrounding university and colleges. Prior to the DDO, students were limited with tools needed in astronomy courses. However, the DDO also had days where it was open for tours for the public, allowing the community to join together as one. After all the years of discoveries, memories and events compiling into history, it is all still preserved within the walls of the buildings. A chunk of Canadian history will be forgotten if the lands are not protected. Not only should this be done for history, but it is key for the environment as well.

The David Dunlap Observatory has always encouraged a green space and dark skies to be able to continue with their accurate data. The area has adopted a Light Pollution by-law ; regulating light hours operations, and installments. This law has been able to help the city lower electricity use as well as working towards helping the telescope’s view. This law has been able to promote dark skies and according to the American Health Association, “many species (including humans) need darkness to survive and thrive". With the continuation of development on this land, this...

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