We’ve already given you ideas for gorgeous science art and all the books for the curious to read, but what about the gift of experiences? This gift guide is for your science-loving friends and family who don’t want yet more stuff, or for the science-gifter who procrastinated until the shipping deadlines whooshed past.
Gift a membership to enjoy year-round.
Give the gift of experience with a membership or a day out to a local science museum, aquariums, and planetariums. Options vary hugely across this enormous country. A few of our favourites:
- New Brunswick: Science East in Fredericton
- Québec: Cosmodome in Laval, La Cité de l’énergie in Shawinigan, and the Montreal Science Museum or Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium in Montreal
- Ontario: Science North in Sudbury, the Canadian Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa, and the Ontario Science Center in Toronto
- Manitoba: the Manitoba Museum in Winnipeg
- Saskatchewan: the Saskatchewan Science Center in Regina
- Alberta: Telus Spark in Calgary and Telus World of Science in Edmonton
- British Columbia: check out Science World, the Vancouver Aquarium, and HR MacMillan Space Centre in Vancouver, and the Royal BC Museum in Victoria
- Nova Scotia: the Discovery Centre in Halifax.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: the Manuels River Experience in Conception Bay South, the Petty Harbour Mini-Aquarium, and the Johnson GEO Centre in St. John’s.
- Yukon Territory: Northern Lights Centre in Watson Lake, and Science Adventures at the Yukon Research Centre in Whitehorse.
Science World in Vancouver, BC is a gorgeous place to watch the sun set. Image credit: Science World
Encourage your recipient to go out and make something cool with a membership to local Hackspaces and Makerspaces.
Have someone on your who loves to work with their hands, but doesn’t have a workshop at their disposal? Sign them up for a membership with their local Makerspace or Hackspace! There are Makerspaces across the country, including in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, London, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Halifax, or check out the grungier atmosphere of a hackspace in Toronto, Edmonton, and Vancouver.
Makerspace North, in Ottawa. Image credit: Makerspace North
Support science communication and spread science literacy at the same time by buying a subscription to your favourite Canadian science publications.
Alternatives Journal (A/J) is a hybrid of magazine and academic journal, pairing accessible popular environmental articles on environmental topics alongside peer-reviewed research. The journal covers environmental science, policy, issues, and debate. It is a registered not-for-profit organization published in Waterloo, Ontario.
Canadian Geographic and its irregularly-published French-language sibling Géographica is the northern answer to National Geographic, a magazine dedicated to covering science and geography. The magazine features gorgeous images, although it’s had recent stumbles with crossovers between its editorial and advertising branches.
Hakai Magazine is all about the coasts — people, creatures, and ecosystems. Sign up for their newsletter for your family and friends who can never get enough time on the ocean.
Support a cause that you admire with a donation in honour of your science-loving friend.
Protect at-risk species with World Wildlife Fund Canada’ (and get a cuddly creature or science-doll to symbolize the adoption), pick up tickets to a Pacific Salmon Foundation dinner and dance to support salmon conservation in British Columbia, or support marine mammals by donating to Québec’s Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM).
Conserve delicate ecosystems with donations to Nature Conservancy of Canada (and get a copy of Ark magazine), or the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper to promote swimmable, drinkable, and fishable water in the Great Lakes.
Did we miss one of your favourite science experiences that’s on your wishlist? Let us know your ideas in the comments, or make suggestions on Twitter with the hashtag #CanSciGift.
Header image credit: Halifax Makerspace