A funding commitment of $638,000 for the Wellington Block Innovation Centre, from the Estate of Dorothy Palmer, has been announced by the City of St. Thomas. The money has been received by the City and plans for its use are underway. The Centre is expected to open in 2016. It will provide opportunities for youth, adults, and families to learn about advanced technologies in an interactive, hands-on environment. During the daytime, elementary and high school students will explore 3D printing, robotics, digital media, and much more. In the evenings and on weekends, the proposed site will host tech-related clubs, workshops and events.
“One main goal of the Dorothy Palmer Estate has been to support new opportunities in education,” comments Andrew Gunn, Trustee of the Palmer Estate. “It is very exciting to see representatives of the City of St. Thomas, St. Thomas Public Library, the Thames Valley District School Board, and other stakeholders come together to develop this concept. This is an opportunity to build a culture of entrepreneurship from the ground up, focusing on digital media and emerging technologies.”
As an introduction to the Innovation Centre concept, “Track to the Future” was held on November 23rd with presentations by two of Canada’s leading innovators. The community was invited to hear Jesse Hirsh (an internet strategist, researcher, and broadcaster) and Natalie Panek (rocket scientist, explorer, and champion for women in engineering) at the Memorial Arena Auditorium in St. Thomas.
The funding commitment from the Estate of Dorothy Palmer is a tremendous Christmas gift for St. Thomas and the surrounding community. In that spirit, I have created an “advent calendar” of concepts/phrases for the first 24 days of December, jotted down as I listened to the thought-provoking talks given by both Hirsh and Panek. Little windows with chocolate are very nice, but opportunities to dream innovation possibilities are even better!
There’s a chance to learn more (and offer your ideas) on December 3rd when another community collaborative input session, Track to the Future 2, will be held at the Wellington Block, starting at 7pm. It’s free to attend and participants can register in advance at http://www.tracktothefuture.ca/. The Wellington block is located at 50 Wellington St, St. Thomas.