Ultimate Dinosaurs at the ROM

I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs ever since I can remember. I was the typical 5th grader fascinated with the notion that giant reptilian beasts once roamed the earth. The first time I ever watched Jurassic Park my life changed. The year was 1993, I was 8 years old and watched the film in Huntsville at the Capital Twin Cinema. After watching Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece I remember feeling energized, entirely unable to fall asleep that evening. It was as if the film validated my fascination with an era gone by, untouchable monsters. Over the course of the next few years I would become an avid Michael Crichton fan and library addict. I soaked up stories and went on little adventures in my mind that allowed me to escape beyond the dinosaur genre. My fascination with dinosaurs encouraged me to read, a passion soon followed by my obsession with film, which took place in high school and throughout university. I now find myself creating my own stories as a writer, and now I’ve come full circle, back to the dinosaurs…

Dinosaurs have fascinated children around the world as museums showcase proof they existed through towering and terrifying fossilized skeletons. Children are left up to their own devices to imagine how they would have lived millions of years ago. To be honest even now I get incredibly irritated that I can’t see or touch these magnificent animals in the flesh. During my recent tour of the Ultimate Dinosaurs exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum I stood beside my friend Joaquin while staring up breathlessly at a Tyransaurus Rex, “I wish dinosaurs were alive. This really is so disappointing. I want them to move.” Some things never change…

The Royal Ontario Museums world premiere of Ultimate Dinosaurs: Giants from Gondwana showcases some of the largest and most unusual dinosaurs from the Southern hemisphere making their first stop in Toronto before embarking on an international tour. Based on new, groundbreaking research from scientists around the world, the exhibit reveals strange-looking dinosaurs unfamiliar to North Americans that evolved in isolation throughout South America, Africa and Madagascar. Walking through the exhibit guests are educated about the break-up of Pangaea into the continents we know today and how that monumental movement affected the evolution of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic, 250-65 million years ago. The exhibit features real fossils and 17 full scale skeletal casts, many of which have never before been seen in Canada.

We visited on a Sunday afternoon so the space was filled with screaming children (I could see my toddler self in each of their enthusiastic faces). I spent a good hour dodging hyperactive kids who weaved through the space as their pig-tails trailed in the air. I poked my head under countless dino skeletons and enjoyed observing families and couples as they stared up in disbelief.

On our way out we walked through the main lobby where a Futalognkosaurus stood towering across the entrance. The largest dinosaur ever mounted in Canada this giant long-necked sauropod was one of the biggest animals to have ever walked the Earth.  I quickly gazed up at the dino and closed my eyes, a cool wind whistled through my hair as I tried my best to channel my youth. Desperately trying to bring the beast back to life, the magic we create with our minds.

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