Planetarium planned for Montreal

A new sientific museum and planetarium is set to open in Montreal, Canada in 2012.

Montreal's mayor, Gérald Tremblay has this week launched an international architectural competition to find a designer for the attraction, after mining giant Rio Tinto announced that it will contribute CA$4m as the founding sponsor for the construction of the new planetarium.

The new facility will be named the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium of Montreal and will be built close to the city's other scientific institutions, such as the Biodome, Insectarium, and Botanical Gardens.

Tremblay said: "The proposed new planetarium is in keeping with Montréal's character as a cultural metropolis, city of knowledge and a UNESCO city of design.

"Architectural firms from around the world will be able to enter the competition provided that they meet the requirements of the Ordre des architectes du Québec."

Tremblay added that architectural firms will be invited to submit anonymous architectural concepts for the new planetarium from which a jury will form a short list of five.

The finalists will then work with a team of experts to develop and fine tune their concepts and a winner will be announced next spring.

The proposal for a new planetarium, first announced in December 12007, are being supported financially by all three levels of government and Rio Tinto Alcan.

"We are pleased to be part of creating an institution that will contribute to the social fabric and prosperity of Quebec and to advancing scientific literacy among the general public," emphasized Dick Evans, chief executive of Rio Tinto Alcan.

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