Proposal for a one hour Documentary and Stage Play on J.S. Plaskett – Canada’s Pre-eminent astronomer

John Stanley Plaskett was Canada’s pre-eminent astronomer in the first half of the twentieth century. His legacy lives on in the observatory he founded in Victoria, BC, and the reputation he built for Canada as a nation making vital contribution to science.

Plaskett’s pioneering work on the most massive stars and his definitive determination of the rotation of the Milky Way Galaxy earned him international recognition of the highest order.

In the documentary and stage play “Northern Star” we will explore Plaskett’s fascinating life from his rural roots on his father’s farm in Ontario to his greatest achievement in convincing the government of Canada, in spite of the strictures of the First World War, to finance what was then the world’s largest telescope.

There’s no better place to tell Plaskett’s story than at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria.

We propose to create a one hour documentary first. The story will be told by Bob McDonald and acted by an actor playing J.S. Plaskett. We will then use footage created for the documentary as visuals for the stage play.

On the first stage at the Centre of the Universe, we will tell the story of J.S.Plaskett growing up, his first jobs, his experiments, and his dream to build a gigantic observatory in Victoria.

Part two of the play will be in the dome with the large telescope. Here we will listen to all the discoveries Plaskett made while watching on large screens images related to the story.

For more information on how to get involved in this project, please contact

Producer Nick Versteeg: