The old Montreal Centre, RASC, observatory

I was watching the charming movie, Helicopter Canada, made in 1966 by the National Film Board to celebrate the upcoming National Centennial.

In a brief scene showing Molson’s Stadium on Mount Royal, at the top of University Street on the McGill campus, I spotted the little observatory of the Montreal Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

The observatory is gone now. It is where I spent many evenings during the mid-sixties. There, I learned astronomy from the wonderful members of the RASC. And that led to a 20-year career in planetariums.
Old Montreal Centre, RASC, observatory on Mount Royal

Edited to add: Searching on the Internet, I found a picture of the 6-inch refractor that was housed in the observatory’s dome. I remember it was an accomplishment for me to be trusted to open the observatory and navigate the sky with that instrument. The image is posted at the site of Geof Gaherty, who in the 60s, was older than me and one of the Montreal Centre’s most accomplished amateur astronomers. (The site was but, since the death of Geof, it no longer exists. Here is a copy of the image that was at that site:) 

The Topham Refractor, Montreal Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Date of image unknown, circa 1960.

Topham Refractor, Montreal Centre, RASC. I used it during the 1960s. Sometime later (the story that I heard goes) someone broke into the observatory and took the objective lens) It was never replaced. The picture looks like it was taken in the late 50s.



2 Responses to “The old Montreal Centre, RASC, observatory”

  1. 1 Howard Simkover February 25, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Great stuff, Robert…How well we remember the old Observatory just next to Molson Stadium….I recall that it was originally a building used for radar research during WW 2. We both turned up at RASC meetings at around the same time – late 1963….Maybe you were there on February 15, 1964 when I brought a cake for Galileo’s 400th birthday….I wish I had had the foresight to photograph the cake, but I remember that it said on it “Happy Birthday Galileo”. Time flies right along….Cheers, Howard

  1. 1 astronomer Trackback on October 25, 2014 at 11:54 pm

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