Gearing up for Science Rendezvous Kingston 2024

Local Impact

Gearing up for Science Rendezvous Kingston 2024

Queen’s annual science festival will bring researchers and the public together to experience STEAM and have fun.

By Communications Staff

April 17, 2024


Science Rendezvous Festival

Queen’s researchers and community partners will showcase their science and outreach activities at the family-oriented event on May 11.

Every year, Queen’s hosts thousands of visitors for a free, family-friendly festival where university faculty, staff, and students, together with community partners, offer dozens of hands-on activities and demonstrations to foster curiosity and public engagement in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM). Science Rendezvous Kingston has become a sought-after event and something families have come to look forward to each spring. The next event will take place on May 11, 10 am to 3 pm, at the Slush Puppie Place and outside on The Tragically Hip Way.

Science Rendezvous is a country-wide charitable organization focused on bringing exciting STEAM activities to Canadians. Queen’s joined Science Rendezvous in 2011, and the Kingston event has since grown to become one of the largest in the country. In 2023, it gathered more than 430 volunteers and welcomed over 5,300 visitors from across Southeastern Ontario. A number of research groups offered activities highlighting environment-related topics, including Indigenous gardening, plant health, invasive species, pollinators, and sustainable agriculture.

“We take our responsibility to the Kingston community very seriously—always striving for new ways to improve our visitors’ learning experience,” says Professor Emerita Lynda Colgan, founder and co-coordinator of Science Rendezvous Kingston.

“Our roles are made easier by the steadfast support of the many faculty, students and citizen scientists who raise the bar every year, outdoing themselves with their innovative demonstrations, performances and hands-on experiments, giving us the confidence to say that 2024 will be a showcase to remember.”

– Lynda Colgan

Queen's Professor Emerita

Lynda Colgan

This year, Science Rendezvous Kingston will feature a record number of 59 booths, including prominent research institutes such as the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute, the Carbon to Metal Coating Institute at Queen’s University, the Ingenuity Labs Research Institute, and the Beaty Water Research Centre.

To celebrate the event’s 2024 theme of INNOVATE, Queen’s Archives will walk visitors through historical moments of innovation and invention at Queen’s and in the City of Kingston through artifacts, photographs, and documents on display. The Open Plastic Consortium will showcase mealworms eating plastic and show how some bacteria can help create solutions for the world’s plastic waste problems. Other hands-on activities and demonstrations will cover topics ranging from wildlife conservation to robotics and climate change and include an electric vehicle designed by Queen’s students that will be displayed outside on The Tragically Hip Way.

For the first time, Science Rendezvous Kingston will feature The Great Canadian Invention Circus, a live show that recounts how creative Canadians have developed innovative solutions for day-to-day challenges.

A T-Rex skeleton

The 2023 event welcomed over 5,300 people and featured a replica of a Saurophaganax skeleton brought by Research Casting International. This dinosaur was the largest terrestrial carnivore of North America during the late Jurassic period.

The event will also include a Sensory Friendly Science Zone for children and families who prefer to do their STEAM activities in a quieter environment, away from crowds and loud noises. This special area will feature exclusive booths and demos. Access to the Sensory Friendly Science Zone, while free, requires tickets – they will be available at the Slush Puppie Place box office starting April 23.

“We are excited to have researchers, students, and collaborators from across disciplines working together to offer activities to our visitors and engage them in important conversations about science and its impact in our daily lives and in our community,” says Catarina Chagas, co-coordinator of Science Rendezvous Kingston and research outreach and events specialist at the Queen’s Vice-Principal Research Portfolio.

Visit the website to learn more about Science Rendezvous Kingston 2024.

Kids observing a robot

At the 2024 event, Ingenuity Labs Research Institute will display a robot dog and chat with visitors about their research on Artificial Intelligence, robotics, and human-machine interaction.

National recognition

Science Rendezvous Kingston was recently recognized with the STEAM Green Award from Science Rendezvous’ national organization, acknowledging efforts to contribute to the Million Tree Project, which aims to start “one million conversations about tree, environment, and climate sciences.”

In addition to the in-person event, Science Rendezvous Kingston has developed online resources like Wáhta Teachings that draw upon Indigenous and scientific knowledge systems to educate Canadians about one of the country’s most famous tree species, the maple. This resource is available in English, French and Kanyen’keha on the Science Rendezvous Kingston website, and new resources in the works include  Azaadi (Aspen) Teachings and Giizhik (Cedar) Teachings.

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