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New Exhibits to Share History of Bushplanes and Their Role in Forest Fire Fighting in the North


Science North in Sudbury, and the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste Marie have shared knowledge, resources and expertise to launch new visitor experiences in their respective cities. The storylines focus on forest fires, the science of fire behaviour and the advancements that have been made in aviation over the years to battle forest fires. These new attractions are all now open to visitors.

Through the use of 3D filming techniques along with special effects, the Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie shows deliver an intensely immersive and entertaining experience that will focus on the history of bushplanes in Northern Ontario and the role they once played, and continue to play, in forest fire fighting in the North.

“Wildfires! A Firefighting Adventure in 4D, replaces Science North’s production of Wings Over the North, which has played for the last seven years in the Vale Cavern at Science North and at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre, ” says Guy Labine, Science North CEO.  “This collaboration between both centres, translates into new tourism opportunities for each community and adds to the potential for repeat and first-time visits, as well as longer stays from out-of-town visitors.  In addition this project will create and sustain new jobs and stimulate economic activity in the North.”

New space at Sault Ste. Marie’s Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre will complement Wildfires!, retaining visitor appeal. “The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre is excited to be again working with the tremendous creative team at Science North to develop Wildfires!  A 3D Firefighting Adventure , ” says Hugh N. MacDonald, President of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.“The new theatre and its theme fit perfectly with our core offerings and our business plan. We totally support the regional joint development  approach  to pool talents and benefits for the North.”

“This new film showcases forest protection and firefighting technologies that were invented in Sault Ste Marie. It is a fitting testament to the aviation pioneers who flew the planes we display in our museum that protect people and resources worldwide, says Michael A. Delfre, Executive Director of the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre.

Forest fires have been a part of the natural landscape for millions of years.  They play an important role in the renewal of forest ecosystems and the natural regeneration of forests but they also have a huge impact on our lives, particularly in the boreal forest regions of North America. 

The early planes like the Curtis, the Tiger Moth, and later the Norseman, Beaver and Otter were used primarily for spotting and for transporting crews to the fires.  Another great advancement came with the invention of the water bomber, huge planes designed specifically to drop large volumes of water in a concentrated area.  The most sophisticated and effective water bomber ever built is Bombardier’s CL 415 used to fight forest fires all around the world.  It has turned forest fire fighting into a science!



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