1935: Opening of the David Dunlap Observatory
At the time of this archival footage from the University of Toronto, only the Mt. Wilson Observatory hosted a larger telescope than the 1.9m telescope David Dunlap Observatory.
The footage shows the nearly-complete observatory.
You can also hear Clarence A. Chant, who started UofT’s Department of Astronomy in 1904, describing the telescope.
Early 1930s: Three Years of Construction
Before the Dunlap Institute, there was an observatory.
Built by the University of Toronto in farmland 22km North of the University of Toronto’s main campus, the David Dunlap Observatory opened in 1935, a gift from Jessie Donalda Dunlap in memory of her husband.
In this silent archival footage from the University of Toronto, you can see the telescope as it’s being built:
- grinding and polishing the lens,
- fitting the elements and axes together,
- assembling the mechanisms and the dome.
For your enjoyment, the original footage has been edited and sped up.
Award-Winning 1960 Documentary featuring the David Dunlap Observatory
The 1960 Universe movie includes several scenes shot at the David Dunlap Observatory, and goes on for 29 minutes.
It was produced by the National Film Board of Canada.
Here’s the NFB’s own description from their website:
A triumph of film art, creating on the screen a vast, awe-inspiring picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager through space, this film was among the sources used by Stanley Kubrick in his 2001: A Space Odyssey. Realistic animation takes you into far regions of space, beyond the reach of the strongest telescope, past Moon, Sun, and Milky Way into galaxies yet unfathomed.