Children at Benny Library in NDG were in for a surprise that was out of this world on Sunday.

They got to take part in a free workshop on coding and outer space.

The guest of honour? Marc Garneau, one of Canada’s first astronauts and the four-term MP for the riding.

The event was part of Science Literary Week, with the workshop being hosted by Kids Code Jeunesse.

Garneau fielded questions ranging from whether he enjoyed floating around in zero-gravity conditions to how he’d go to the bathroom in space.

“Well, kids have great imaginations, so they’re imagining themselves up there,” he said.


The participants learned how to code an animated project, based on a children’s book about space.

The program was written by another Canadian astronaut, Dave Williams.

Garneau feels that the skills being taught at the workshop will have a lasting impact.

“We live in an increasingly digital world today,” he said. “Being able to code, that is writing the instructions that make up software that runs just about everything, is a very valuable skill for young people to learn.”

Parents agreed.

“It’s certainly part of everybody’s future to know about it,” said Nathalie Duguay.

Kids Code Jeunesse hosts these free workshops for kids across the country.

This fall, kids from around the world can participate in Astro Pi, a series of competitions where the winners will have their code sent to the International Space Station. 

“I wish it had been around for me when I was a young person,” Garneau said. “Who knows, it may motivate some of them not only to write code, but to one day become astronauts.”