The Eurêka Festival, which celebrates science and technology, takes place this weekend at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal. Young people are welcome to come and enjoy a range of free outdoor activities under the motto: “Water in all its forms”.
For the 15th year of the festival, people can start participating in live activities again after the event is canceled in 2020 and introduced virtually in 2021.
The theme of water aims to encourage festival-goers to think of ways to conserve this natural resource and to discover innovative technologies related to the field of water.
Marianne Grolicks, the festival’s organiser, stresses that this is not a science fair. The various stalls offer “highly interactive” activities, which are fairly short in duration to allow youngsters to try different things.
“Eureka allows science to be experienced in a festive atmosphere and to show that science is fun. We hope to ignite a lot of sparks […] And make sure those young people who come and notice and test and get their hands on science, choose careers in science or technology of the future,” said Ms Groulkes.
This weekend’s event consists of scientific shows, performances and various recreational activities that take place at the foot of the biosphere and also indoors.
School-age children are the festival’s target customers, but Marianne Groulks hopes to attract teens, too.
“Up until the age of twelve, young people are very curious about everything related to science and technology. There is a great curiosity to learn, to understand, to see and to be tested. This curiosity falls on the adolescents and it is something we want to work on with teenagers,” explains Ms. Groulkes.
However, she believes that the pandemic has had a positive role in the general public’s interest in science. “We all realized very quickly that without science, we would not be able to go very far. What we had just witnessed aroused the interest of the citizens in general”, confirms Ms. Groulkes.
She notes that an effort is also being made to attract young girls because few of them choose to pursue a career in science. “We are working hard with different partners to get girls interested in science and technology,” says the organizer.
Ile Saint Helens intersects with different subject areas, such as technology, energy, biology or nature. So families can participate in the “small thematic villages” that interest them most. Ms. Groulx expects to welcome at least 50,000 visitors this year.
Festival favourite, entomologist Bill Pistol, atomic neuron team and chemist Yannick Bergeron will showcase their scientific prowess.
Simon Dubois, the first Quebec to complete a circumnavigation of the world, will share his experience with the public. In addition, Bishop University will display a seaplane drone that maps lakes and helps prevent pollution of waterways.
Participants will also have the opportunity to generate hydroelectric power, experience an avatar of surfing through a school of sharks using artificial intelligence or explore cultural heritage buried deep in the Saint Lawrence River.
In addition, a virtual item is now part of the festival and is available year-round on the MiValeureka website. In the form of a game, we find the island has thematic areas such as the festival and young people can explore it by accumulating points by participating in quizzes.
On Saturday evening, at 8 pm, the festival’s spokesperson, who is also the host of the Génial program broadcast on Télé-Québec, Stéphane Bellavance, will present a unique version of the Génial competition in the company of his scientific friend, Martin Carly.
The Eureka Festival runs through Sunday evening. Activities will take place even when it rains. Festival-goers are invited to come to Parc Jean-Drapeau on the metro, where the Jacques-Cartier bridge will be closed to vehicular traffic at Gran Défi Pierre Lavoie.
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