The Canadian Museum of Civilization won the GSCA 2013 Big Idea Award for their out-of-this-world idea of getting Commander Chris Hadfield to promote the theater's launch of Space Station—from space. Commander Hadfield recorded a video message promoting the film while on board the International Space Station. Pictured here accepting the award are Michele Canto, David Henderson, and Marie-Claude Vachon.

View the video here: Canadian Museum of Civilization Chris Hadfield Space Station promotion

Goals and Strategies
Our primary objective was to have the re-launch of the film Space Station as the principal film that will help us increase our attendance for the March Break period, and indeed for the month of March. In addition, we wanted find a way to leverage the enormous popularity of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who at the time
of our re-launch, was Commander on board the International Space Station.

Our ultimate objectives were to convince Commander Hadfield and the Canadian Space Agency to create a video from space, in which Cmdr Hadfield would speak directly to camera, welcoming the audience to the IMAX theatre at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and to speak about the special themes of the film.

The video from space would be projected on our Dome screen before every screening of Space Station. We also wanted Cmdr Hadfield to send a Tweet from space, announcing to his over 500,000 Twitter followers that we were showing the film (today, he has over 1 million followers).

The Canadian Space Agency approved our idea but asked the Manager of the IMAX theatre (David Henderson) to write a script for Cmdr Hadfield, which he did.

It is worth mentioning that our audience speaks English and French, and Cmdr Hadfield created two videos for us, in English and in French. 

The videos provided a superb opportunity to share on our social media channels, and to contact local media.

In summary, the compelling reasons we wanted to re-launch Space Station and have Cmdr Hadfield involved in our launch from space via video and to send a Tweet:

  1. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield was on board the Space Station and we wanted to honour his mission and honor his accomplishment as the first ever Canadian to be selected as Commander of the International Space Station.
  2. Cmdr Hadfield has generated over 500,000 followers on Twitter and was quickly becoming an international media star for his fascinating video interviews, his remarkable photographs and his creative use of social media, which had generated a global following.
  3. A younger Chris Hadfield appeared in the film Space Station.


The first success was to have Commander Hadfield create the videos on board the International Space Station, which he did, in both English and in French. We projected the videos on the Dome screen before every screening of Space Station.

Another success was attained when the region's largest newspaper, the Ottawa Citizen, sent its senior film critic to see the film and to witness the video from space. He wrote a spirited article about the experience.

It was tremendously gratifying to be in the theatre and wait until the video played. Often, audiences would break out in loud applause the moment Commander Hadfield appeared on screen. 

Commander Hadfield tweeted to say the film was playing at our theatre to over 500,000 of his followers.

We may be the very first IMAX theatre to have a dedicated video recorded from space, and to have a tweet sent from the Space Station announcing the re-launch of one of our films.

We shared the news of the video via the theatre Facebook page, and also included the article about the video. The museum tweeted to its followers about this as well. Commander Hadfield's video from space and his tweet were sources of great pride for our museum and our theatre. It energized audiences, created media attention, and lastly, increased our attendance. Due to popular demand, we extended the run of the film until May 13, a full month and a half longer than we expected. We ended the film's run on the day Commander Hadfield safely returned to Earth.

In conclusion, it was also a very proud moment to share this news with the director of the film, Toni Myers and to IMAX, and indeed to the Canadian Space Agency, who were very pleased with the results. Lastly, Cmdr Chris Hadfield, upon his return to earth, autographed the copy of the script that he read in space which was written by the IMAX theatre manager, David Henderson.