Admission to the Science Centre also included one timed entry to Aqua, a temporary exhibition produced by the One Drop Foundation. Billed as "A Journey Into the World of Water," it starts off in a room with a waterfall on the right, and what looks like some sort of sculpture on the left. This objet d'art has a cluster of cylindrical metal pedestals, each of which has a large blue plastic teardrop-shaped light on top. The guides direct each visitor to pick up and hold onto one of the drops for the remainder of the presentation. The glowing drops appear to have no openings, so the cylindrical pedestals must obviously house inductive chargers. That's so cool.
Then the presentation begins, and it's OK. They project onto the waterfall, which is a pretty nice effect. Then, after you think that's all there is to it, the waterfall parts, and an entrance to another room is revealed.
This room is circular, with screens all around. In the center there's a brick well with what looks like a hand pump, although it's pumping all by itself, and water is flowing into the top of the well, whose base is lined with large, smooth stones. The entrance seals, forming a 360-degree screen.
Video projectors beam images onto the outside walls, and a translucent circular screen drops around the pump; images are projected there as well. Parts of the video presentation turn out to be interactive; you can wave your drops in front of the wall, and things move around in perfect synchronization. There are strobe lights hanging from the ceiling, which simulate lightning.
The images begin to change ... from an abundance of clean water to pollution to drought and desolation. The drops of water the we're holding begin to extinguish one by one, until only one remains illuminated. Water no longer flows from the pump: it's now spitting out sand. Wow.
At the end of the presentation, the drops relight, and the guides direct us to place them gently in the well. Then, the wall opposite the one we entered opens, where there's yet a third space. This one showcases various facts about water usage, and features interactive kiosks where visitors can pick one of several different ways to conserve water or otherwise protect the resources we already have.
This is activism for the infomercial generation, and whether or not you agree with the message, the design and production values are outstanding. Aqua would be right at home at a major theme park.
The Montréal Science Centre is located at the bottom of Saint-Laurent Boulevard, on the south side of King-Edward Quay, in the Old Port. All of the exhibitions and activities are open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily, and the exhibitions are open until 9 p.m. six days a week. There's plenty of ($$$) parking available. The building also houses an IMAX theatre, priced separately from Science Centre admission (although discounted combo packages are available).