Tourist destinations focusing on earth sciences, biology and mining seem like unlikely places to host parties or a corporate meeting.
But according to Erika Theriault, sales leader for special functions at Science North, they are popular destinations, with bookings ranging from retreats to weddings and conferences.
At Dynamic Earth, located in the West End of Sudbury, she said there are several rooms they can set up for different events and layouts to accommodate almost any request.
The original idea when Dynamic Earth was built was to make it a multi-use attraction.
“It was built like that to utilize during peak hours, as well as after hours,” she said. “It has a commanding presence on the hill. It's a gorgeous site.”
Among the most popular rental spaces is the Epiroc Theatre, which seats around 125 people and has its own audio-visual equipment and a floor-to-ceiling screen. It also comes with a technician that will run projection, sound and lighting.
“We do a lot of corporate events and cater to client meetings in there as well,” Theriault said.
Almost every open space in the building can be used for hosting an event. The lobby, she explained, has been closed off and used for gatherings, adding the displays on the mining history add a lot of visual appeal, so it doesn't usually need to be decorated further.
Dynamic Earth can also cater functions held there. They have the in-house Copper Café, as well as a catering contract with Bryston's on the Park in Copper Cliff.
“Often what we will do is have the meeting in the theatre, then have the reception in the lobby, with catering,” Theriault said. “We can transform that area with cruiser tables, linen, food tables. We can do sit-down dinners, as well as standing room receptions.”
Two other areas at Dynamic Earth that are popular for bookings are the Discovery Room and the MacLean Engineering Gallery.
The Discovery Room is located on the main floor beside the Copper Café and can be closed off for private functions. There is an accordion-type moveable wall that can be opened up facing the café, where the two spaces can be connected and double the size of the floor space.
There are groups that come in and use the entire first floor, incorporating the lobby, café, theatre and Discovery Room.
The other is the MacLean Engineering Gallery. During the tourist season, it hosts displays. In the off-season, it can be rented out for events.
Because Dynamic Earth and Science North are under the same banner, events can be split between the two locations. Theriault explained they have hosted events in one, then brought groups to the other.
“They could come on a different time and date to do meetings here as well,” she explained. “They have their meeting at Dynamic Earth, then come here to have dinner in the Ramsey Room or The Cavern.”
At Science North, just off Ramsey Lake Road in the city's south end and boasting a commanding presence over Ramsey Lake, the IMAX theatre and atrium are popular spots to host large gatherings. Theriault said the theatre itself is available for rental for everything from special screenings or media launches.
“It's such an ideal space. The screen is huge, with special seating, and people can see the whole picture,” she said.
Inside Science North, the displays on the third and fourth floors can be closed off, and people can enjoy a private event with the animal ambassadors and interactive displays. Those events come with staff in blue coats doing demonstrations.
Theriault said they've hosted wedding receptions and teambuilding events on those floors.
Outside the atrium, the entrance and outside is often the location for special events like Canada Day celebrations, where there is plenty of space for parking and setting up tents and vendor booths. The advantage is that, in the event of rain, there are contingency plans to have some events and vendors indoors.
Private bookings are a very busy aspect of the organization, Theriault said. As a world-renowned science centre, she said it is great to utilize the space for multiple purposes.