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The History Of Canada’s Largest Aquarium

The Vancouver Aquarium is an Ocean Wise ® initiative. Through visionary, responsible growth programs, with building additions starting in 1967, the Vancouver Aquarium has become the largest aquarium in Canada and one of the five largest in North America.

Vancouver Aquarium Today

Opening Day In 1956

Our Beginnings

The Vancouver Aquarium was formed as the Vancouver Public Aquarium Association in 1951. We were officially Canada's first public aquarium and opened on June 15, 1956. Today, there are approximately 48 aquariums in North America, only a few of which are in Canada. Worldwide, the number of aquariums has grown to more than 200.

Our Founding Principles

The founding principles of the Vancouver Aquarium have been to attain the highest possible standard of animal care within a top-notch facility, coupled with an informative and educational guest experience. In 1975, we became the first aquarium accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). In 1987, we were also accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and were designated Canada's Pacific National Aquarium by the Canadian Federal Government. In 2016 the Vancouver Aquarium was among the first in the world to achieve Humane Certification from American Humane.

Our Founding Principles
otter

Internationally Recognized

The Vancouver Aquarium is internationally recognized for display and interpretation excellence, and was the first facility to incorporate professional naturalists and interpretive specialists into galleries to explain animal behaviors. Aquarium research projects extend world-wide and we are internationally recognized for our successful Marine Mammal Rescue Program. Innovative programming, superlative animal care and a commitment to aquatic research have seen the Aquarium held in high esteem year after year.

Our Evolution

In 2017, Ocean Wise ® was launched as a new global ocean conservation organization focused on protecting and restoring our world’s oceans. Building on the roots of the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, which started as a community-based not-for-profit organization, Ocean Wise aims to inspire people in every corner of the planet to participate in creating healthy oceans. The transformation is a natural evolution of Vancouver Aquarium’s 61 years of conservation research, education and engagement, extending its world-renowned leadership to Ocean Wise, and committing its positive impact to other parts of the world.

Learn more at ocean.org

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Did You Know?

Did You Know?

Sea otters hold hands to rest in groups called “rafts”.
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