Early last year, amid many iconic Toronto structures — the Rogers Centre, the MTCC, the CN Tower, and the thriving Entertainment District — Ripley Entertainment, a member of the Jim Pattison Group, began building their multi-million dollar, world-class aquarium. As originally planned, the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is said to be opening its doors this summer. During this time, the city also plans to further develop the areas surrounding Bremner Boulevard, as retail and family-friendly facilities are seemingly limited.
Ripley’s Aquarium in Detail
The 130,000 foot aquatic conservatory will be home to over 13,500 marine creatures from over 450 species. These creatures will swim in a gigantic aquarium of 1.5-million gallons and will be on display in over 45 interactive exhibits. Of these exhibits, you can expect to find:
- Tropic Reefs
- Atlantic and Pacific Ocean Habitats
- Jellyfish, Seahorse, and Stingray Exhibits
- The Great Lakes Dispay
- and much more
What has not been mentioned is the building’s most impressive feature: the 750,000-gallon Shark Lagoon. Designed by B+H Architects, there will be an acrylic glass tunnel with a mobilized-walkway for visitors to ride through the pavilion. Without straying from the path to take a closer look at the marine life, the tour through the Shark Lagoon will take only 20 minutes.
Ripley’s has claimed that the aquarium will create over 600 jobs for Torontonians. Other sources have suggested there will only be 300 new jobs introduced. Despite the contradictory figures, it can be expected that Ripley’s Aquarium will have a significant impact on Canada’s economy. Over the past year, reports from The Star and other popular media have stated that the attraction will yield $11-million in tax revenues annually, with a $35-million impact on GDP. Ripley Entertainment suggests that these figures will actually sit upwards of $50-million.
What the Neighbours Are Doing
Canada Lands Company, who owns the immediate area around the CN Tower, has also taken the initiative to rebuild and has invested $10-million in upgrading the CN Tower’s signage, walkway, and entrance facilities. The job has been contracted to IBI Group
and is also expected to be completed by summer 2013.
If everything continues forth according the plan, Tourists will have further incentive to visit our great city to see these latest attractions. The area around the CN Tower certainly needs additional family-friendly activities and retailers, and Ripley’s Aquarium should more than compensate for this. Although it is not the biggest aquarium in the world, positioned next to the CN Tower, it will complement our city’s icon quite well.
Thank you to Ripley Entertainment and TOCondoGarden for supplying the photos.