From the Titanic to space, in Lego – The Recorder and Times

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Author of the article:

Catherine Orth  •  Special to The Recorder and Times

Published Jun 01, 2023  •  2 minute read

Thomas Harder, executive director of the Aquatarium, stretches his arms to give scale to the Lego replica of the Titanic, at the Travelling Bricks Exhibit on Saturday. (CATHERINE ORTH/Special to The Recorder and Times) jpg, BT

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Travelling Bricks has come to town.

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The dynamic Lego exhibit arrived in Brockville from Europe – Venice, to be exact – making its mainland North American debut on May 20 at the Centennial Youth Arena. Presented by the Aquatarium, it’s part of the hands-on science and education museum’s ever-evolving commitment to keep Brockville on the tourist map.

Lego fans came from near and far for the exhibit’s first weekend. There’s still lots of time to catch the show as it will be on display until Aug. 20.

Josee and James McOrmond took a “fun road trip” from Ottawa specifically to see the show over the weekend, and found it “very cool.”

“We could not believe the detail on the Titanic and the Space Shuttle,” said a smiling Josee. “It was definitely worth the trip.”

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The Titanic and the Space Shuttle are just the beginning. There are a total of 120 models in 60 displays. Moments in history, like the first man in space and the science that made it possible, the Vostok 1 spacecraft, to spaceships that in some future century may take us to the far reaches of our galaxy, are represented.

The models were created by a group of Lego builders hired by a European travelling exhibit company. That project itself took quite a few months to complete. Each display comes with its own talking points plaque.

Aquatarium executive director Thomas Harder said he was looking for something new. Over a year ago he came upon the travelling exhibit company.

“We wanted to do another something. Something that young and old would enjoy,” he said.

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The travelling exhibit company had much to offer. The challenge was to bring it all together.

“It’s been a year of concentrated effort to bring Travelling Bricks to the Aquatarium. We worked in close collaboration with the city of Brockville and Brockville Tourism. Their support and cooperation have been invaluable,” said Harder.

From a broad menu the company had to offer, Harder was attracted to the Lego show.

“Lego is ubiquitous. Everyone from kids to adults likes it.”

His first thought was, what a great idea.

“It made sense to bring something big and new to draw more tourists. With more to do in Brockville, we’d increase people’s dwell time, and hopefully bring more tourist dollars into our community.”

But the next thought was, where would they put it?

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“We soon realized that we did not have the square footage at our Tall Ships location.”

Indeed, the exhibit takes up the entire hockey arena.

But the project presented him with an opportunity to do something new and different, so the hunt for a venue was on.

“We were excited to discover that we might be able to use the Youth Arena during its off season,” he said.

It immediately became a win/win situation, as the Youth Arena is not used in the summer, which is the Aquatarium’s peak attendance period.

“It became clear this was the right place. When the ice goes out May 20th, we’re in and when the ice goes back in August 20th, we’re out,” said Harder.

Travelling Bricks is a debut project for the Aquatarium’s Youth Centre summer location.

“Everything is in place now, so it will be easier to bring in a new show next year. It may have a Lego theme, or it may be something completely different.”

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