Protecting our blue planet

Our oceans are under threat—overfishing, acidification and marine pollution are just three of the issues challenging our aquatic world. As a conservation organization, Vancouver Aquarium takes its responsibility as a guardian to our oceans seriously.

Like a pearl gleaming in an oyster, our public face is only the showiest aspect of our persona. You’ll find evidence of our dedication to conservation, research and education in our gallery displays and school programs, but what we do behind the scenes is even more important.

Take meaningful programs like our Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver and supported by Teekay Shipping, which is the only hospital of its kind in Canada. Our veterinarian, Dr. Martin Haulena, recently led the rehabilitation of an ailing harbour porpoise called Levi. After 23 weeks of intensive care, his subsequent release back into the wild was a Canadian first that will inform global studies.

Meanwhile, our internationally renowned Marine Mammal Research Program continues to investigate and draw attention to mysteries like why the West Coast’s highly vocal orcas seem to have fallen silent.

Our conservation efforts directly contribute to protecting our planet’s resources and the aquatic life that depends on them.


This trash talk works waterside wonders

Vancouver Aquarium’s conservation victories are most visible the day after its Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, but they continue to have an impact year-round.

This 20-year-old program, presented in partnership with the WWF, began as a small, local endeavor by a handful of Aquarium staff and volunteers and was soon embraced by Canadians countrywide.

Now tens of thousands of people every year clear away trash on their shorelines alongside fellow locals.

From coast to coast, 58,500 people registered to participate at 1,950 sites in 2013, helping to protect our waterways from the harmful environmental effects of shoreline litter and aquatic debris.


  • 99,280 Kilograms of litter removed as part of our Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (equivalent to the weight of seven school buses)
  • 58,500 Canadians participated in protecting our waterways through our Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup
  • 30,000+ Hours of rehabilitation and care provided to sick and abandoned marine animals
  • 528 Ocean Wise partners across Canada
  • 4 Arctic research partnerships launched

Take Action

Our oceans need our help, and the Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to start. The more of us who pitch in, the better our world will be. Please consider getting involved—you can take action in all kinds of ways, and every little bit means a whole lot.

Choose to consume only Ocean Wise sustainable seafood, and visit Ocean Wise restaurants and retailers.

Provide a few days each year to your community’s shoreline cleanup through our Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

Donate your time or your financial support to wild animals in need through our Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Reduce your role in the changing Arctic by using only what you need and being aware of the environmental impacts of the products you purchase.


We’re looking to the whales for answers

Vancouver Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Research Program is part of the longest-running collaborative study of whales in the world. Our four experts, including leader Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, continually forge new paths in individual whale identification, vocalization analysis, and genetic testing.

Positioned at the top of the food chain, killer whales resonate with us because they’re sociable, family-oriented and can live as long as we do. They’re also seen as “ecological sentinels”, the ocean’s equivalent of canaries in the coalmine. If whales are ailing, the oceans themselves are sick.

Our research team’s studies of orcas’ habits and their coping skills in the face of environmental threats provide information that is valued internationally by fellow scientists and conservationists. Barrett-Lennard himself invented a floating lightweight biopsy dart that allows researchers to take a plug of skin from wild orcas and extract DNA that permits the detection of contaminants.

We can’t solve the ocean’s problems if we don’t first figure out what’s wrong.


  • 5,020 Cetacean sightings reported to our B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network
  • 4,800+ Kilometres surveyed in the field by our Cetacean Research team
  • 80 Killer whales confirmed in the southern resident population
  • 63 Active animal breeding projects
  • 63 Informal research projects taking place at Vancouver Aquarium
  • 37 Active research projects

Take Action

Our oceans need our help, and the Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to start. The more of us who pitch in, the better our world will be. Please consider contributing to our research or providing financial support to us as a not-for-profit organization.

Consider adopting a whale in the wild through our Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program.

Share your powers of observation with our BC Cetacean Sightings Network.

Join the Howe Sound Group and to contribute to the monitoring, research and conservation of fish and invertebrates in Howe Sound.


Our students bubble with ideas

Vancouver Aquarium’s educational programs truly connect people to the ocean. Our Education team is constantly developing programs that help students understand aspects of nature that aren’t usually in their line of vision.

People describe the ocean’s surface as a huge barrier to people’s imagination. The Aquarium helps people break that barrier and see what’s really happening underneath.

In 2013, some 22,000 students took advantage of staff- and volunteer-led education programs at the Aquarium, with another 40,000 students taking self-guided tours.

Its AquaVan, presented by BC Hydro and BG Group, has taken curriculum-based programs on the road to more than 12,500 students and has reached 23,000 community visitors as far away as Alberta.

Whether in the wet lab, galleries, online or on the road, our team is ceaselessly aiming to increase student understanding and appreciation of aquatic life.


  • 23,000+ Community members engaged in far-reaching AquaVan visits
  • 13,077 Students inspired to become stewards of the sea through our AquaVan program
  • 1,000+ Teachers embraced aquatic learning with students at the Aquarium
  • 611 Award-winning school programs delivered at the Aquarium
  • 63 Schools across 42 communities connected to aquatic life through our travelling AquaVan

Take Action

Our oceans need our help, and the Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to start. Please consider supporting our conservation efforts by taking part in one of our education programs.

Think about booking the AquaVan, or making a donation to the Bennett Bursary to send students to the Aquarium.

Give your child an educational experience never to be forgotten and register for AquaCamp.


Photo of Nikki Clouthier receiving the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Our Aquatic Ambassadors

More than 1,000 people volunteer at the Vancouver Aquarium every year and they don't take their responsibilities lightly. They pledge to work a minimum of 100 hours a year and undergo an intensive 15-hour training program before they begin.

Volunteers are found all over the Aquarium, providing customer service, information and educational programs and caring for our animals. They also provide support behind the scenes, in our travelling AquaVan and at our Marine Mammal Rescue Centre.

Many become familiar faces to staff and visitors, such as long-time volunteer Nikki Clouthier who has been volunteering in many capacities and departments for 46 years. It's no wonder she recently received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


  • 1,000,000+ Amazed visitors connected to the natural world at the Aquarium
  • 113,103 Donated volunteer hours to help conserve aquatic life
  • 25,900 Member households
  • 1,000+ Dedicated volunteers
  • 450 Committed staff

Take Action

Our oceans need our help, and the Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to start. Please consider getting involved and supporting our conservation efforts by volunteering your time.

Explore volunteering at the Aquarium.


Photo taken at the Vancouver Aquarium Toast to the Coast event

Toast to the Coast

Vancouver’s hottest ticket, Toast to the Coast, presented by CIBC, is a chic fundraising event with an urban edge featuring delicious Ocean Wise tastings, BC wines and an incredible silent auction.

Photo taken at the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown event

Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown

Canada’s top chefs compete live with their original, sustainable chowders for the coveted title of Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown Champion in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Guests are invited to sample delectable chowders, with paired beers, and cast their vote for People’s Choice.

Photo taken at the Vancouver Aquarium's Dreamnight event


On this special night, we open our doors to more than 500 children living with life-threatening illnesses and their families. As many of these children are unable to visit during regular hours, Dreamnight, presented by Shaw Communications, provides an opportunity for our guests to connect with aquatic life in a private setting.

Our Signature Events

Vancouver Aquarium is the stunning backdrop to unparalleled signature events that raise critical funds to support its conservation efforts.

Our galleries and their fascinating inhabitants provide a marvelous, engaging backdrop to Dreamnight, presented by Shaw Communications, a special evening for children and families coping with chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

Glamorous guests also join us for our annual fundraising gala, Night at the Aquarium, presented by PCL Construction Group Inc. Others enjoy fine Ocean Wise fare and glorious B.C. wines served at Toast to the Coast, presented by CIBC. Every November, guests look forward to the hearty food and competitive zeal of chefs vying for the championship title of our Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown.

Beyond the immersive experience, our events are an excellent way for community partners and guests to support our critical programs and directly contribute to the conservation of aquatic environments. Please join us.



The newly revamped Vancouver Aquarium is delighted to have received its largest community gift ever from the locally-based diversified resource company Teck. Its support helped fund our stunning Teck Connections Gallery and the Teck Water Drops Program.

BC Hydro

Thanks to co-presenter BC Hydro, the Vancouver Aquarium’s AquaVan takes to the road throughout BC with its aquatic outreach education program. This year, AquaVan visited such communities as Dawson Creek, Prince Rupert and Thompson Okanagan.


FortisBC’s support of the Vancouver Aquarium’s FortisBC AquaGuide allows students to engage in an interactive educational program that teaches them the importance of using energy and water responsibly.

Port Metro Vancouver

Some 74 sick and injured marine animals were rescued in 2013 by the Aquarium’s Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, presented by Port Metro Vancouver, whose much-valued space is essential to our efforts.

Vancouver Airport Authority

Richmond’s Iona Beach has been the site of the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup program’s kickoff for the past two years, supported with huge enthusiasm by our provincial sponsor, YVR, the Vancouver Airport Authority.

It’s Time to Dive Deep

Vancouver Aquarium is a conservation organization—our conservation, research and education programs have formed its backbone since it was founded in 1956.

We believe that spreading the word about the importance of conserving the Earth’s life-giving oceans makes a world of difference. If you’re considering a cause to support, this one is fundamental. As a non-profit society, the Aquarium relies on the donations of individuals and companies that are as committed as we are to improving the health of our natural world and encouraging future generations to embrace that goal.

We are deeply grateful to the generous donors who enable the Aquarium’s achievements as we expand, reach further and make an unforgettable impression on every mind we touch, young and old. Everybody benefits from healthy waterways—our oceans are the lungs of the Earth.

If you haven’t yet become a donor, please consider contributing to our efforts to conserve this beautiful blue planet of ours. After all, it’s the only one we’ve got.

Board & Patrons


We would like to extend a warm thank you to our Patrons for their significant and valued contributions to aquatic conservation. To be nominated as a Patron is the Aquarium’s highest level of recognition.

  • Marilyn and Dr. Stewart Blusson, O.C.
  • Joanne and Peter Brown, O.B.C.
  • May Brown, C.M., O.B.C.
  • Nicole Clouthier
  • Kim (Ursula) Fisher
  • Margaret Fisher
  • The Honourable John A. Fraser, O.C., O.B.C.
  • Don and Margaret Garnett
  • Isabelle J. Graham
  • Dr. Richard O. Hooper
  • W.R. Hourston
  • Mary C. Jordan
  • Lily and Robert H. Lee, C.M., O.B.C.
  • Lucile MacKay
  • Dr. Patrick McGeer, O.C., O.B.C
  • Dr. Murray A. Newman, C.M., O.B.C.
  • The Honourable John L. Nichol, C.C.
  • Rudy North, C.M.
  • Jim Pattison
  • Jane Rogers
  • Jane E. Van Roggen, C.M.
  • Brooke N. Wade
  • Shirley Waldichuk
  • Maurice White

In memory

  • Patricia Angus
  • Joanne and William Barker
  • Graham R. Dawson
  • Flo FitzGerald
  • James S. Graham
  • Dr. William S. Hoar, O.C.
  • Joyce MacCrostie Shives
  • Robert E. McLaren
  • Dr. Ian McTaggart-Cowan, O.C., O.B.C.
  • Arthur Phillips
  • The Honourable Robert G. Rogers
  • P.R. Sandwell
  • Jean MacMillan Southam, C.M.
  • Walt Walmesley
  • Mary Margaret and Maurice Young

Board of Directors

Executive Committee

  • Brian Hanna, Chair
  • Margot Spence, Past Chair
  • Mary Buttery, Secretary
  • Rizwan Gehlen, Treasurer
  • Barbara Atkinson
  • J. Thomas English
  • Kenneth Galbraith
  • Stephen Holmes
  • Janet Landucci
  • Marian MacFarlane
  • Jane Maisonville-Phillips
  • Shelley-Mae Mitchell
  • Derral Moriyama
  • Randy Pratt
  • Cameron Walker
  • John Webster


  • Betsy Bennett
  • Pam Boparai
  • Patricia Chew
  • Allan Copping
  • Edward Donaldson
  • Joseph Granato
  • Patti Hanneson-Hatch
  • David Harper
  • Robert Harper
  • Doug Horswill
  • James Lyman
  • Nicholas Miller
  • Ryan Patryluk
  • David Rebak
  • Tristan Sawtell
  • Wei Shao
  • Shawn Siak
  • Bruce Sprague
  • Daniel Steiner
  • Mark Stevens
  • Dixie Sullivan
  • Norman Yurik

Take Action

Our oceans need our help, and the Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to start. Please consider supporting our conservation efforts by providing financial support to us as a not-for-profit organization. You can take action in all kinds of ways, and every little bit means a whole lot.

Buy a membership and you'll experience a whole new level of access to the Aquarium and our incredible marine life.

Attend one of our festive signature fundraising events.

Provide much-needed and greatly appreciated financial support through your company or on your own.