Ripley's Aquarium of Canada

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Ripley's Aquarium of Canada
Date opened October 16, 2013 (18 months ago) (2013-10-16)
Location Toronto, Ontario
Coordinates 43°38′33″N 79°23′10″W / 43.642481°N 79.38605°W / 43.642481; -79.38605Coordinates: 43°38′33″N 79°23′10″W / 43.642481°N 79.38605°W / 43.642481; -79.38605
Floor space 12,500 m2 (135,000 sq ft)
Number of animals 16,000[1]
Volume of largest tank 2,840,000 litres (750,000 US gal)
Total volume of tanks 5,700,000 litres (1,506,000 US gal)[1]
Ripley's Aquarium of Canada during construction
Koi tank at the entrance

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada is an aquarium in Toronto, Ontario. The aquarium is one of three aquariums owned and operated by Ripley Entertainment. It is located in downtown Toronto, just south of the CN Tower. The aquarium features several aquatic exhibits including a walk-through tank. The aquarium has 5.7-million litres (1.5-million gallons) of marine and freshwater habitats from across the world. The exhibits hold 13,500 exotic sea and freshwater specimens, from more than 450 species.


Ripley's Aquarium of Canada was originally planned in 2004 to be built in Niagara Falls, Ontario[2] next to what is now Great Wolf Lodge around 2007, but plans fell through and Ripley's eventually relocated to Toronto.[3] Construction began on the attraction in August 2011 with a final cost approaching $130 million. [4] The aquarium opened to the public in October 2013.[5]

The project was a partnership with three levels of government. The Canada Lands Company of the Government of Canada contributed $10 million to the project to develop the "John Street Corridor" linking Front Street with the aquarium, the CN Tower and the Rogers Centre. The Government of Ontario contributed $11 million to the project, and the City of Toronto provided property-tax incentives amounting between $8 million and $12 million over the first twelve years of the aquarium.[6]

Ripley's Aquarium has been the target of animal liberation groups such as TARA (Toronto Aquarium Resistance) and MAD (Marineland Animal Defence) who claim that animal captivity is synonymous with animal abuse and regularly conduct protests and demonstrations at the facility. Prominent animal conservationist Bob Timmons has also publically spoken out against Ripley Aquarium's capture of endangered tiger sharks.[7]


The aquarium holds 5.7 million litres (1.5 million gallons) of water and shows marine and freshwater habitats from around the world.[8] The aquarium is organized into nine galleries: Canadian Waters, Rainbow Reef, Dangerous Lagoon, Discovery Centre, The Gallery, Ray Bay, Planet Jellies, Life Support Systems and the Shoreline Gallery. It is home to 16,000 animals.[1]

The Rainbow Reef features animals from the Indo-Pacific water regions and is the most colourful gallery in the exhibit, hence the name, Rainbow Reef. Some of the species in this exhibit include: Picasso triggerfish, humbug dascyllus, emperor angelfish, pajama cardinalfish, unicorn surgeonfish. The exhibit also features an interactive dive show.[1]

The Ray Bay exhibit is focused around three distinct species of stingrays. Occasionally visitors can see aquarium divers feeding the stingrays during their daily interactive dive shows. Some of the inhabitants of this exhibit include the bonnethead shark, cownose ray, and the southern stingray.[1]

  • The Life Support System gives visitors a behind the scenes look at the aquarium’s life support systems room. The Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada features the largest life support systems room of all three Ripley’s aquariums. This gallery features the equipment for the Dangerous Reef and Ray Bay.[1]


Map showing the location of the Aquarium in Toronto, close to the CN Tower and the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

The building features a multi-faceted shell clad in large aluminum panels, with the roof of the main entrance that "gives the illusion of the earth’s crust peeling away to reveal a window into the aquatic world." There are also coloured surfaces that juxtapose reflective aluminum soffits, per the architects.[9] The building was designed with special shielding so that sharks would not be disturbed by the electrical systems of the building.


The building is located on Bremner Boulevard, to the east of the Rogers Centre, just south of the CN Tower and across the street from the Roundhouse Railway Museum. The aquarium is accessible from the Union subway station using the SkyWalk pedestrian pathway. The building does not have parking of its own. Parking is available in several underground parking garages nearby and surface parking lots. The nearest highway access is the Gardiner Expressway by exiting at York Street. The underground PATH pathway system will eventually be extended to the site from the east.


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