"Come on in": Dal lays out the welcome mat for Doors Open Halifax

Sara Daniels - June 6, 2014

April MacQueen, Natasha Mintenko and Jamie Landry open the doors to the Ocean Sciences Building. (Danny Abriel photo)

Dal’s Halifax campuses span the peninsula, meaning every day thousands of people walk, drive or cycle past the university’s buildings. Even those who work or study on campus may occasionally wander past a familiar-but-foreign structure and wonder, “What exactly goes on in there?”

Doors Open Halifax, taking place this weekend, lets people get a glimpse inside the buildings they usually only see from the outside. The event features more than 40 venues across HRM that will be open to the public on June 7 and 8.

Dal is participating for the second year in a row, and this time it’s two of the university’s newest research facilities opening their doors: the Ocean Sciences Building (OSB) and the Life Sciences Research Institute (LSRI).  

"Dalhousie is a proud member of the Halifax community and we're thrilled to be a part of such a terrific event again this year,” says President Richard Florizone. “Doors Open is a great opportunity for the public to get a look inside two of our newest, state-of-the-art research facilities and witness first-hand just some of the great work Dal scientists are doing right here in our city.”

Though both buildings feature impressive atriums, the architecture isn’t the only attraction this weekend. Both buildings will feature exhibits and displays highlighting research by Dal faculty and students.

Fittingly, Doors Open coincides with World Oceans Day (June 8), and on both days visitors to the Ocean Sciences Building will feature:

  • A rare look at the Aquatron, Canada’s leading aquatic research facility.
  • Touch tanks with local marine animals and seaweeds, with Dal Marine Biology students on hand to answer questions.
  • Interactive displays that illustrate marine adaptations, courtesy of SuperNOVA, a student-led Dalhousie initiative
  • The waveglider, the only such marine research drone in Canada, along with a researcher who can answer questions about the Ocean Tracking Network’s research.
  • A demonstration of the Oceanviewer, a real-time browser of ocean conditions and forecasts from buoys, satellites, underwater gliders, ships, webcams, drifters and models. It is a one-stop-shop for surfers, divers, fishermen, sailors and any other ocean-enthusiast.
  • Museum specimens including a humpback whale vertebrate, harbor seal skull, loggerhead turtle, horseshoe crab, fiberglass hammerhead shark, pilot whale skull.

The Life Science Research Institute will have a health sciences hall set up in its atrium, with displays and demonstrations from:

  • Brain Repair Centre. This display will feature models of brains and spines as well as other educational materials from the department of Medical Neuroscience including microscopes with tissue fibres to view. Graduate students will be on hand to talk about the discoveries and ongoing research at the centre.
  • Architecture 49. The building’s designers will be available to discuss the LSRI’s design, construction, building materials and green features, etc.
  • Innovacorp. The Innovacorp Enterprise Centre (north tower of LSRI) will have a booth and has a resource person who can discuss bringing small start ups into the commercial marketplace.
  • DeCell Technologies. This company, headed by a Dal professor, develops and manufactures advanced tissue products for wound healing. The tissues address the unmet need of treating chronic foot ulcers in diabetic patients, but also used for other chronic wounds, burn victims and surgical reconstructions.
  • Immunovaccine. This clinical-stage vaccine development company is advancing patented DepoVax vaccine adjuvanting platform for cancer therapy, infectious disease and animal health. The platform has demonstrated ability to generate fast, strong and long-lasting immune responses against a range of targets.
  • BSc Medical Sciences. A new undergraduate program at Dalhousie for students interested in pursuing a career in the health professions.

If you’re planning on visiting both buildings during Doors Open Halifax, there’s even more to see. Dal has laid out a walking tour between the two venues to give visitors a view into Halifax’s past and present. The buildings on the route, several of which have earned awards for architectural design, date from 1915 to 2013 and run the gamut of design styles from Georgian to Brutalist to contemporary Canadian. Another incentive to take the walking tour? A Twitter contest to win some Dal swag.

Doors Open Halifax takes place from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on both Saturday, June 7 and Sunday, June 8. Faculty, staff and students can also check out the venues for a special “sneak peak” on Friday, June 6 between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. 

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