• Clarke Wallace


Ever taken somewhere for granted? In the city you live in, or one close by? Yeah, yeah, been there, done that!

Tell me, then, how many who live in Toronto area, or from anywhere, who have taken time to visit Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada? I hadn’t. It took three years of planning and design and a little more than two years to build when it opened October 13, 2013.

It’s tucked under the massive CN tower and sharing space with the stadium whose massive roof trundles open in good weather, remains closed when it’s lousy.

To take the formidable aquarium’s size and the thousands species of sea and fresh water creatures it's nothing short of mind boggling. Acrylic panels alone form a walkway through the Dangerous Lagoon using three million litres of recycled water which is filtered back. Visitors move through a passage where sharks and other fish swim not far above and around you.

In this section alone there’s a narrow moving sidewalk – the longest in North America - carrying you by the inhabitants to bring you nose to nose with sharks and huge, inquisitive sea turtles.

What amazed me is how interactive is the aquarium listed under THINGS TO DO. You can sleep overnight; find your sea legs or events such as Beach Bash or Night at the Aqueerium. (Get it?)

Certified scuba divers can go what they call behind the scenes tour before ‘dropping in for a 30-minute guided dive in the Dangerous Lagoon exhibit. Yikes! Be an aquarist by spending the day helping to prepare food for the creature, test water quality and help (help!) feed the sharks.

Throw in morning yoga right where the fish are the spectators. Jazz music is plugged in live throughout the complex the second Friday of every month, backed by fish ‘groupies’ listening behind the trio.

Author’s comment: And this: Wandering around with a drink in your hand. Booze in plastic glasses. Beer in cans. My wife Rosanne shot my favorite creature while we spent the evening at the Aquarium. It was a little, tiny seahorse looking majestic on her own. (See Roe’s photo). Nor did I realize seahorses swim while standing up. Apart from males bearing the unborn young.

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