2014 General Assembly in Victoria

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RASC General Assembly 2004 Report

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David Lee at the 2004 GADavid Lee is our National Representative, and attended the RASC General Assembly to represent Victoria Centre at this annual meeting.  Below are his reports and photos.

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Date: Wednesday, June 30, 2004 2:20pm
Subject: I'm here in sunny Newfoundland

I just had dinner. The trip across was a long one, especially the sardine express from Vancouver to Toronto. Landing in Toronto was pretty with a sunset  and a Moon just over the airplane wing. There was thin veil of mist when we landed in St. John's. I remember the strobe lights lighting up the tarmac. I was overdressed expecting bad weather, in fact it was a bit muggy. As soon as
I got to my room at residence I fell asleep on the bed ... was I tired.

This afternoon (morning your time) I located the library's public access PCs.  Handy these things are, better than trying to locate an internet cafe.

Well I'm off to see if I can find the Confederation Building and maybe find out where the Botanical Gardens are before sunset.

I bumped into Gary Diamond from the St. John's Centre. It looks like most people are staying in residence where I am and will be drifting in starting tomorrow. I'm glad I got in early so hopefully I'll be rested before the meetings.


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Date: Saturday, July 10, 2004 8:55am
Subject: Back to the west coast from St. John's Newfoundland

Having been sprayed with the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean I�m back on the west coast recovering from a lingering jetlag. I really didn�t think 4.5 hours would make that much difference. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada GA was a lot of fun where I met a lot of familiar faces and some new ones at the national level. More details for RASC members will follow later.

I was surprised by the weather having packed for the worst and arriving to a balmy 23 degrees in my hiking shorts and sandals. The later part of the trip was different though. When I left St. John�s it was in the misty rain.

More details for RASC members later as you will more than likely be subjected to a visual GA report at a future monthly meeting. I hope to see everyone soon.

David Lee


The screeching ceremony was from the Murphy Slide Show night � Gary Dymond our host was amazingly funny with his Newfie accent and sarcastic humour, the east seeks revenge on the west.

The Memorial University Campus is a mix of Old World and brand new construction. The residence where most of us stayed is in one of the pictures (Rothermere).

The armillary sphere will hold a plaque dedicated to John Winthrop�s sighting of the transit of Venus in 1761 from St. John�s Newfoundland. As a side note Dr. Sara Schechner, Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University gave on excellent talk on the transit of 1761. The collection houses the original instruments used by Winthrop and his team.

The education workshops were certainly one of the highlights as most of us at the conference are doing public outreach. One of the gems was a new boardgame that Ted Dunphy (New Brunswick) created when he was looking for a way to teach his son the constellations. Being in the printing business he was able to produce a very commercial looking prototype. Very nice!  
Like the University campus, downtown St. John�s is a mix of the old and the new, with plenty of construction and re-construction. Water St. is the oldest street in North America.
All the photos of the birds were taken at the Witless Ecological Reserve where tourists take whale and bird watching tours. We saw many humpback whales breeching. Unfortunately I was too busy hanging on to the handrails and my camera to get any shots. The Atlantic Ocean that day was pretty rough. There were many �green� people on board. I was surprised that I felt ok. When we reached the islands where the birds were it was much calmer.

St. John�s is covered in green trailways surrounding ponds. Kenny�s Pond is just an example, there were many ponds and creeks.
  The Johnson Geo Centre is primarily a geological public outreach centre but has a visually dynamic entrance hall where they do presentations on the solar system. It�s amazing what you can do with big props.
The Memorial University Botanical Gardens was an absolutely amazing mix of research gardens, public outreach and some beautiful trails around Oxen Pond. There was even a trail that lead to a lookout where I could see a beautiful panorama of St. John�s. It was a long day though as I was on foot in St. John�s and had walked all the way from the Memorial University Campus. I haven�t calculated the distance but I walked from 10:30am and didn�t get back until 6:00pm in the evening with only a 45 minute stop for lunch, ok some photo stops too J. For those of you that have hiked with me will be amused that on the way back down Mt. Scio to return to the campus it took me quite a bit longer having taken a wrong detour. I was starting to get worried when the descent was getting quite steep and narrow. Obviously the wrong way! I recovered quickly from the mistake and lived to tell the tale. It was a 1.2km trail for the descent with a change of elevation greater than 122 metres.

View from the University Club

Fog at Memorial University

Fog at Memorial University

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Other GA Links:

bullet A Screeching General Assembly - by Jim Low
bulletPhotos - birds, tour, events, party, party2, whales - by Patrice Scattolin
bullet168 Images by Kim Hay & Kevin Kell of the General Assembly
bullet 315 Images by Kim Hay & Kevin Kell of St. John's and the tours at the General Assembly
bulletRASC General Assembly 2005 - Kelowna - next year's GA
bulletRASC General Assemblies


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Last updated: December 12, 2013

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