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Algonquin Radio Observatory

Archray Road, RR#6, Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario K8A 6W7 Canada
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simeon wrote a review Aug. 2015
Kingston, Canada203 contributions197 helpful votes
The Algonquin Radio Observatory was developed by National Research Council in the 1960's. It is a guest house on a sandy beach on beautiful Lake Travers. It is now operated as a division of Thoth Technology Inc., an Ontario-based space company. We were able to visit this historic scientific site, which until now could be visited only by educators, students, researchers and scientists, and see the radio telescope in operation. The observatory house (guest house) was once a place that scientists and researchers stayed while they worked on any number of radio astronomy projects. The Canadian government decided to mothball the ARO. Thoth Technology negotiated a long term lease as they develop commercial applications for the telescope. We booked this past weekend far in advance as the ARO is now known to amateur astronomers as one of the best places to view space in Ontario. You will need to purchase park day passes for the days you are staying as the ARO is situated well into the park, some 55km from the gate. We arrived on Friday night to be warmly greeted by Catherine, the head of research and development at Thoth. We were shown to our rooms which were clean and comfortable. There were shared washrooms / showers which were also clean and quite adequate. Once all of our party arrived we were given a short orientation session by Catherine and then shown a short DVD on the history of the ARO. We then had time to explore the gorgeous property until dinnertime. The observatory house is located overlooking Lake Travers and has their own private sandy beach with complimentary canoes and kayaks to use. They supply the life jackets, paddles and emergency kit as well. The beach had ample chairs for all of the guests to enjoy. At dinner we met some other members of the Thoth team including the Chief Technical Officer and CEO / President. They were the ones preparing the wonderful meals we enjoyed all weekend. You will want to purchase the accommodation with meal package as the closest town is 75km away. Saturday we had a wonderful continental breakfast and then headed over to the radio telescope for the full morning tour given by Brendan, the Chief Technical Officer. They moved the radio telescope from it's side position to pointing directly up so that we could take lots of pictures. We were given access to almost all parts of facility and given a fascinating overview of the scientific discoveries made at this site. We saw the atomic clock and most of the other technology on site. The high-light was the tour of the radio telescope itself which included being able to walk out on the telescope surface!! See the included pictures. We went back to the observatory for a wonderful lunch of wraps, soup, and cookies and then had the afternoon to explore the area. Some chose to hike on the trails, most of us spent the afternoon at the beach swimming, canoeing, kayaking and just sitting at the beach. Dinner was a delicious roast beef with peach cobbler. We had a leisurely dinner as we waited for the sun to go down. The sky was magnificent as it was a new moon with no clouds. We saw the Northern Lights, the Milky Way, falling stars and lots of other things that folks who are astronomers could describe. Most of the group headed back over to the radio telescope as their was absolute darkness there. Sunday morning was another great breakfast and then we all packed up and headed home. If you want to see the stars and planets in a stunning setting, or want to experience a piece of Canadian scientific history (that is still making discoveries), or want to have a quiet weekend in a tranquil setting come and visit the ARO. The hosts are generous with their time and willing to talk about their work or answer questions.
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Date of stay: August 2015
Sleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
Room Tip: Book early as the best weekends for star gazing get sold out.
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CanadaOntarioAlgonquin Provincial Park
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Frequently Asked Questions about Algonquin Radio Observatory
Which popular attractions are close to Algonquin Radio Observatory?
Nearby attractions include Track & Tower Trail (0.00 km), Algonquin Art Centre (3.4 km), and Big Pines Trail (0.00 km).
What are some restaurants close to Algonquin Radio Observatory?
Conveniently located restaurants include Bartlett Lodge Restaurant, Arowhon Pines in Algonquin Park Restaurant, and Lake of Two Rivers Cafe & Grill.