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IAC 2014 in Toronto: “The World Needs Space” Opening Ceremony

The International Astronautical Congress (IAC) kicked off its 65th space congress this morning in downtown Toronto with a heartfelt, funny, musical show with lots of star power.

Canadian Space Agency astronauts David St-Jacques and Jeremy Hansen were the genial hosts and did a great job making everyone feel welcome and entertained. Notable participants included Cirque du Soleil performers, a video presentation by space tourist and Cirque founder Guy Laliberté, Canadian Industry Minister James Moore, some touching songs by accoustic guitar-playing Juno-award nominee Peter Katz, a cross section of Canadian musicians and musical traditions, and a stirring ode to humanity’s history of exploration by retired astronaut Chris Hadfield.

Peter Katz Music

Peter Katz played a short acoustic set

IAC 2014 Opening Ceremony - video by Guy Laliberte

IAC 2014 Opening Ceremony – video by Guy Laliberte, space tourist and Cirque founder

Since this is my first IAC congress I can only imagine what others were like, but I was frankly expecting this to be long on dry and boring, and short on fun. Instead it was the complete opposite.

It was a very impressive achievement for host organization the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI), IAC 2014 Organizing Chair Ron Holdway, the event director and assorted volunteers and sponsors. I think it set the right tone for the 3000 international attendees as they embark on a week of deal-making and networking.

The various candidates cities for next IAC event in 2017 are presumably taking notes.

Chris Hadfield speaking at IAC 2014 Opening Ceremony

Chris Hadfield speaking at IAC 2014 Opening Ceremony

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