Astronomical Observatory

Your Pathway to the Stars!

Named after one of the greatest explorers and cartographers, the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory (DTAO) is home to one of the largest publicly accessible telescopes in Central Canada! The DTAO offers an array of illuminating events and programs year-round to explore the mysteries of the universe, including public events, day and evening educational programs, overnight adventures, and adventures for Guides and Scouts.

Astronomical Experiences

A full moon

Solar Eclipse

April 8 from 1 to 5 p.m.

Join us to safely watch the total solar eclipse crossing North and Central America. We’ll have solar glasses and our solar telescopes available for use. We’ll also be working with partners across Canada, and the world, to provide a live video feed of the solar eclipse. More details coming soon.

Perseid Meteor Shower

August 12 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

More details coming soon.

About the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory

The DTAO is home to a 20” Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) Telescope, one of the largest publicly available telescopes in Central Canada. This amazing telescope can bring a variety of celestial bodies into sharp focus including galaxies, nebulas, star clusters, and planets! The DTAO also features collection of meteorites and authentic astronomy instruments used by explorers such as David Thompson in the 1700s.

Who was David Thompson?

David Thompson was a British fur trader, surveyor, astronomer and cartographer, and has been described as the “greatest land geographer who ever lived.” Thompson joined the North West Company as a surveyor in 1797. Over a 20-year period, Thompson mapped almost 4 million square kilometres of North America! A reproduction of Thompson’s massive map hangs in Fort William Historical Park’s Great Hall. During his vast explorations he became intimately acquainted with numerous Indigenous Peoples and their cultures, and discovered a viable trade route to the West Coast.