A ribbon cutting ceremony, attended by a large group of community VIPs, was held at the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre Thursday to mark the official opening of the new home for Sault Ste. Marie insectarium Entomica.
Entomica is a popular attraction for both Sault and area residents and tourists, as well as being an educational eye opener to the insect world for all ages.
Entomica was the brainchild of John Dedes, a Great Lakes Forestry Centre biologist who serves as Entomica president and CEO.
“This has been a grassroots community effort since day one,” said an appreciative Dedes, known for his fascination with the insect world, speaking to an audience at the Bushplane Museum.
“Just within the last year, we reached over 3,000 students at over 30 schools across the Algoma district from Hornepayne to Elliot Lake. We’ve visited over a dozen seniors homes in the Algoma district and we received the distinction of the 2019 Tourism Ambassador of the Year Award,” said Michael Odom, Entomica executive director.
“Entomica and the Bushplane Centre are really a great fit. They both serve as places that spark discovery, a learning and educational experience. I’m happy to see they will be working closely together in the future,” said Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano.
Dedes had a vision for a live insect zoo for the Sault, as an attraction for locals and tourists, for several years.
Dedes was introduced to Justus Veldman, the original developer of the former St. Marys Paper site, who also envisioned an insectarium for the Sault, to be located in one of the old mill’s buildings.
Dedes launched Entomica at Mill Market in 2014, in the old fish hatchery building, which Veldman leased from the city.
Dan Ingram, Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre executive director, said the relocation of Entomica to the Bushplane Museum was a long held dream not only for the museum and Entomica, but also for many other stakeholders, including officials from Tourism SSM and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.
Ingram acknowledged over $1 million in funding from the federal, provincial and municipal governments made the necessary renovations at the museum for Entomica a reality, also thanking Sault architect David Ellis for designing the new Entomica space.