From a young age, University of Toronto alumnus Jesse Hildebrand was captivated by science. Now, as the founder of Science Literacy Week, he has the opportunity to showcase the best of Canadian science in a week-long celebration.

“Science is everywhere ­— if you made a cellphone call, used the internet, saw a doctor or any number of things today, you’d be doing something made possible by science,” said Hildebrand. “Similarly, an awful lot of the biggest issues of the day revolve around science — climate change, vaccinations, [genetically modified organisms], nuclear energy, driverless cars — I could go on.” As a result, there is a growing need for scientifically-literate people; those who are able to dissect and evaluate the scientific claims made in the media and elsewhere.

Science Literacy Week began in 2014 as a way to encourage libraries to highlight their science collections. Hildebrand explained, “Libraries have always been hubs for learning. From being repositories of great books for millennia… to today, where they also serve as internet hubs and outstanding event venues. People of all kinds also go to libraries, making them more accessible than university lectures or the like simply as a result of them reaching a larger demographic.”

What began as a Toronto-based event has grown into a nation-wide campaign, with over 300 events in 40 cities across Canada. This year, support from Indigo Books and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has allowed Hildebrand to reach out to more people. The week has seen 25 per cent growth in the past year.

“Having the biggest bookseller and biggest science funding organization in Canada involved help[ed] highlight that the event is here to stay and that it is important,” said Hildebrand.

Science Literacy Week has partnered with over 140 organizations to bring us the best of Canadian science.


Science Literacy Week Events


Family Funday: Brilliant Science

The Royal Ontario Museum celebrates science with a mobile glass studio, sugar art, and more!

September 17–18, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Royal Ontario Museum

100 Queens Park

Future Food Fair: Pueblo Science Interactive Demo

U of T start-up Pueblo Science has teamed up with Gerstein library for this molecular gastronomy themed event. It features four demonstrations and opportunities for taste testing.

September 19, 12:00–2:00 pm

Gerstein Science Information Centre

Alice Moulton Room (second floor)

7 King’s College Circle

SciChat Talk: Harnessing the Power of CRISPR – A Novel Tool for Cut & Paste

Genome editing has become a reality with the development of CRISPR/Cas. Find out how it works and how it’s being applied to disease research with Nichole Escalante, a PhD candidate in Immunology at the University of Toronto.

September 21, 5:00–6:00 pm

Gerstein Science Information Centre

Alice Moulton Room (second floor)

7 King’s College Circle

From Euclid to Einstein: Milestones in the History of Science

Touch and hold some of the most iconic science books of all time — from U of T’s very own rare book library.

September 22, 4:00–7:00 pm

Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

120 St. George Street

Nerd Nite Toronto: The Final Season

Engage with the latest in evolutionary biology and art! The event features two presentations:

“Convergent Evolution and the Guy with a Botfly in his Scrotum” by Dan Riskin, evolutionary biologist and co-host of Daily Planet

“The Stray Shopping Cart Identification System” by Julian Montague, artist, graphic designer and author

September 22, 7:00 pm

Tranzac Club

292 Brunswick Avenue

Additional information can be found at and under the hashtag #scilit2016.