Grade 6 Uplands students Shawn Devcic, Logan Myers, and Brome Hansen dig a hole in which to place the informational plaque for the Earth along the Grand Trunk Pathway Oct. 18. Margaret Speirs photo

Solar system starts to take shape along Grand Trunk Pathway

Uplands Grade 6 students presented idea to city council earlier this year

Uplands Elementary Grade 6 students dug holes alongside the Grand Trunk Pathway last week, taking the next step in placing information about our planets to show just how big our solar system is.

The idea to pare down the planets’ sizes and relative distances arose in April when the then-Grade 6 class told city council that science textbooks show all the planets on the same page, which is inaccurate to scale and unhelpful.

A scale model of 1 metre to 1,000,000 km the students calculated the solar system would measure 5.9 kilometres from the sun’s centre to the outer orbit of Pluto, which approximates the 5.9 billion kilometres of its real size.

Along with Tony Walker, the students asked council to support their plan to put plaques along the trail showing a more realistic distance between the planets, which would help with understanding the full scale of the solar system, and maybe encourage people to get some exercise to see them, and attract tourists as well.

“You know, walk your dog to Jupiter,” Walker said to councillors.

Last week, students visited locations along the pathway to dig holes for the plaques, which lay flush with the sidewalk and grass to minimize the inconvenience for city maintenance crews.

The first six planets have their own plaques laid out while the last three planets, Pluto included, will have their information displayed on signs along the highway.

Students are also working on a website about the solar system, which teacher Kasey Acton said will hopefully be done in November.

As told to city council earlier this year, here are the locations of the planets in the solar system as laid out along the Grand Trunk Pathway and further west:

The solar system laid out to scale starting from the corner of Eby St. and Hwy 16 at a scale of 1 metre = 1,000,000 km:

Sun: Eby and Hwy 16

Mercury: Kal Tire

Venus: Sunshine Inn

Earth: Sherwood Brewery

Mars: Sandman Inn

Asteroid belt: Golder and Associates->Dodge car dealership

Jupiter: Kenney St.

Saturn: 100 m east of Hwy113

Uranus: Rainbow Inn

Neptune: Kitsumkalum Hall

Pluto: Mighty Moe highway pullout

And the nearest star to Earth, Proximi Centauri: circumference of the Earth.


William Mckay, Stephanie Monkman, Brandon Stehling, and Grace Lukasser get ready to lift the plaque for Mars into its place along the Grand Trunk Pathway. Margaret Speirs photo

William Mckay, Stephanie Monkman, Brandon Stehling, and Grace Lukasser heave the plaque for Mars into its hole under the watchful eyes of Tony Walker and teacher Kasey Acton, holding umbrella. Margaret Speirs photo

William Mckay, Stephanie Monkman, Brandon Stehling, and Grace Lukasser lower Mars into place. Margaret Speirs photo

Emma Buck with the Spirit Bear statue on the Grand Trunk Pathway. Margaret Speirs photo

Mark Robinson, Corvin Anderson and Ryland Pritchard take a break on the rail car near the Chill Soda Shop. Margaret Speirs photo

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