The Madawaska Highlands Observatory
An Extraordinary Canadian Destination
And The Most Powerful Telescopes in Canada
An Extraordinary Canadian Destination
"To have each visitor bring home the excitement of experiencing
our place in the universe."
This is the mission the Madawaska Highlands Observatory Corp.
We are focused on K12 and tourism, with the entire facility and
objective of the corporation dedicated towards this goal.
In this objective we have selected a site in southern Canada
that is free of artificial light, as our ancestors would have
experienced 120 years ago. The night sky here is absolutely insane!
The great bulge of the Milky Way is sufficiently bright to cause
a shadow and the volume of stars is so great that constellations
are virtually unrecognizable. All this within 3.5 hours of some
50% of the Canadian population and millions of our American friends.
The facility will have very large dedicated visitors telescopes
, up to 1-meter, that will give absolutely extraordinary views
of the universe. The views produced will be very bight, colorful
and extremely beautiful.
The facility will host the two most powerful telescopes on Canadian
soil , conducting world-class research as astronomers from across
the globe will be using them. Research conducted on these telescopes
will be exhibited and visualized at the facility.
Located in the Madawaska Highlands 90 minutes west of Ottawa,
Canada's Capital, it is very easy to access only a few kilometers
from Provincial Highway 41 at Griffith, Renfrew County. And spectacularly
set on a 450 metre hill, 250 meters above the Madawaska River
valley, offering panoramic views of the river valley.
A world-class Visitors Centre with displays and exhibits, an
HD theatre with multi 4K projectors and a digital planetarium
with 8K projectors offering 50 Mega pixels for awesome shows.
Visitors will be met with highly trained and experienced interpreters
who will give tours of the Visitors Centre, professional observatories,
energy independent building and views with the large visitors
A one-page summary of what visitors can expect to see and do
is available here.
Visitors Centre and Digital Planetarium
The visitor experience will be unmatched compared to all major
observatories in the world. At the heart of the facility is a
self-sustained energy independent Visitors Centre operating from
solar cells, solar thermal panels and well-water heat-pumps. The
LEED Platinum facility has multiple displays on cosmology, history
of astronomy, cultural influences, current astronomical research,
astronomical photography, astronomy, cosmology, astronomically
influenced art, space, Canadian space achievements and exhibits
on the technology of the professional telescopes. The Visitors'
Centre has logistics, offices, a cafeteria, boutique, native star
lore display, washrooms, astronomers quarters, telescope control
room and a an HD theatre with multiple 4K projectors and high
end sound system. Connected to Visitors Centre will be a 200-seat
digital planetarium using 8K projectors offering 50 Mega pixels
for extremely reality and awesome 3D shows. Guided tours of the
Visitors' Centre, Professional Observatories, Visitors telescopes,
and energy independent building will be offered, all with presentations
in the HD theatre. Additionally geo and nature walks will be offered
with a presentation in the HD theatre. We will have programs and
packages to meet the K12 requirements and curriculum. Camping
may be offered to guests who wish to stay overnight with washroom
and shower facilities in the Visitors Centre.
The facility will host 30" and 40" visitors' telescopes
available year round. These custom engineered telescopes are designed
to be used without ladders for maximum comfort, safety, security
and efficiency. With a short focus, large aperture, superb optics
and an extremely dark night sky it will offer absolutely insanely
wonderful views of the universe available nowhere else in the
world. The views will be interpreter assisted and accompanied
with a presentation in the HD theatre and tablet enhanced for
object identification and sky perspective at the telescope. The
3o" telescopes will be housed in cylinder type roll-off building
immediately north of the Visitors Centre, several will be made
available. The one-meter Visitors Telescopes will be situated
on top of the hill next the two professional observatories, about
a 500 meters walk from the Visitors Centre and be housed in a
similar type roll-off building. Both the 30" and 1-meter
Visitors Telescopes will be elevated off the ground to avoid ground
turbulence to offer the best possible and sharpest views. The
facility will employ some unique technologies to enable ultra-sharp
views of the planets. Far sharper than any telescope visually
in the world, showing exquisite views of Mars, Jupiter, Saturn,
Venus, Uranus and Neptune. Even the tiny satellites of Jupiter
A 4.5-Star Hotel will be located on the north-east side of the
property, nestled on the edge of the hill 150 meters above the
Madawaska River Valley with each room having a spectacular obstructed
panoramic view of the river valley. The Hotel will feature an
upscale restaurant, bar, spa, business meeting rooms, indoor/outdoor
swimming pool and a fully equipped exercise area. Keeping with
the facilities theme the Hotel will have spectacular images from
the professional telescopes on display and related exhibits. The
restaurant will have an open concept where one can dine viewing
the Madawaska River Valley 175m below and views of Canada's most
powerful telescopes. Literally dining on the edge of eternity!
The Hotel is expected to be off-grid and energy independent. So
you can dine knowing that you will have zero impact on the environment!
The facility will be equipped with high-speed internet and cell
phone connectivity through our dedicated 100 Mbps connection.
We may even grow some of own food on-site! The hotel may have
a small conference centre, a good venue for business and a spectacular
setting for weddings.
The flag-ship Wide-Field Telescope (WFT) with a field-of-view
of twenty-five full moons will make many important discoveries.
These discoveries along and those from the second science telescope
will be visualized and highlighted at the Visitors Centre; researchers
from around the world will be invited to speak about their discoveries.
A significant emphasis will be put on exhibiting and visualizing
research conducted at the facility, as many discoveries are expected,
this should prove to be very exciting. Data from the observations
will be animated and visualized so that guests will be able to
understand what is being discovered. The Wide-Field-Telescope
is expected to generate perhaps the best wide-field images of
the night sky in the world. These images will be on display at
the facility and prints made available at the boutique.
Location and Night Sky
The site offers an extraordinary night sky where the Milky Way
produces a shadow and the constellations are unrecognizable due
to the vast number of stars visible. The skies appear as they
did to our ancestors before the advent of the light bulb. This
is the farthest south in Canada where such a night sky is possible
being only 3.5 hours from Montréal and Toronto and 90 minutes
from Ottawa and Kingston and within reach of some 50% of the Canadian
population and 2 hours from the US border at Thousand Islands.
The facility is easily accessible just a few kilometers off of
Highway 41 at Griffith. Signs will be posted on major highways
into the area and as for south as the 401 at Napanee, Ottawa,
the US border, Cornwall and Ajax.
Economic Opportunities and Job Creation
The facility will be very important to the local economy employing
upwards of 200 directly and 100 indirectly. With millions expected
to visit during its lifetime, this will bring economic prosperity
and recognition through its discoveries and high visibility. MHO
is expected to become the premier tourist facility in Eastern
Ontario beyond the large Centers and will have significant international
appeal, as its offering is unrivaled in the world. Within two
hours of the US border at Thousand Islands, it will be convenient
for our American Friends for a weekend stay. We expect many overseas
travelers will visit the facility.
K12 and Educational
Madawaska Highlands Observatory has significant educational potential
in terms of visits from schools to inspire and motivate them to
careers in science and technology. A chance to visit Canada's
premier Observatory on Canadian soil, to see and touch the telescope
that will discover new planets and by the enormously impressive
images that will be generated by these telescopes. The science
telescopes will also be available to science curriculums throughout
Canada. The staff at the facility will be trained and equipped
to handle school groups with educational packages and programs
and focused on the science curriculum.
Star Festival and Solar Telescope
The facility has sufficient space to host a significant star
festival with first class amenities including a covered amphitheatre.
In addition a solar telescope is planned with advanced technology
to enable ultra-sharp images; the solar telescope will have an
accompanying display within the Visitors Centre where the super-sharp
images of the sun can be seen.
Canadian institutions have shown an interest in co-locating with
us, as the site features the best possible location in Southern
Canada to host professional observatories and other related equipment.
Situated on a 450 metre plateau, the site has room to accommodate
many large telescopes. Almost a dozen Canadian Universities with
programs in space, astronomy and astrophysics are within a six
hours drive of the facility, making it very convenient for these
institutions to have astronomers on site. Over 20 American institutions
are within 6-hours of the facility and are expected to show a
We are targeting spring of 2016 for an opening of the facility
to the general public.
More information about the Visitors
Sponsorships are available to
Investor information is available here.
A detailed document is available here.
Dedicated Visitor Telescopes:
- 18" f/3 telescopes for campers to rent
f/2.5 Visitors Telescopes, short focus not requiring a step
- 1.0 metre f/3 Visitors Telescopes, folded design not requiring
a step ladder
metre f/2.4 WFT five square degrees field of view telescope
[25x full moons]
metre f/7 RitcheyChrétien with dual Nasmyth foci