A local star

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Image Credit: National Film Board Of Canada

Anyone who’s ever visited the David Dunlap Observatory knows it’s an incredibly special place. Not only is it strikingly beautiful, it also carries an aura that’s almost surreal; perhaps that’s why it was chosen to be a star, -in the figurative sense of course.

In 1960 the film “Universe” was released by the National Film Board of Canada, and was met with much praise. It was nominated for an Oscar in the ‘best documentary’ category the year it was released, and offered some of the most vivid special effects anyone had ever seen. It also happened to feature Richmond Hill’s own David Dunlap Observatory, from which Dr. Donald MacRae can be seen going about his work, which is anything but routine; he’s exploring the universe. Perhaps what’s most interesting about the film though, is how it, its makers, its cast, and its effects inspired another.

It’s said that Stanley Kubrick attended a screening of “Universe” and it inspired him to make his own space-centric film, the Oscar award winning 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick was so enamoured in fact, that he hired Colin Low (one of the directors of “Universe”), Wally Gentleman (the film’s optical effects expert), and Douglas Rain (narrator of “Universe) who would voice the now iconic Hal 9000 to help him with his film.
So, not only does the David Dunlap Observatory have a history of accolades in Canadian space exploration, it’s also has a firm connection to Hollywood and will forever live amongst its many stars. Wouldn’t you love to live near a place steeped in such history, innovation, and inspiration? We know just the place.