Marineland (Ontario)

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This article is about the theme park in Ontario. For other uses, see Marineland.
Marineland of Canada Inc.
Official logo of Marineland
Slogan Everyone Loves Marineland!
Location Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates 43°03′56″N 79°04′21″W / 43.06556°N 79.07250°W / 43.06556; -79.07250Coordinates: 43°03′56″N 79°04′21″W / 43.06556°N 79.07250°W / 43.06556; -79.07250
Owner John Holer
Opened 1961
Previous names
  • Marine Wonderland and Animal Park
  • Marineland and Game Farm
Operating season May – October
Total 15
Roller coasters 2
Website Official site
A 1967 flyer for Marineland, using the older name "Marineland and Game Farm"

Marineland (official name Marineland of Canada Inc. and marketing as MarineLand)[1] is a themed amusement park and zoo for both marine and land animals, in the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. It is one of the main tourist attractions in Niagara Falls.[2] The park has been a center of controversy over its handling of animals at the park.


The park was founded by John Holer, a Slovenian immigrant who had worked for circuses in Europe before coming to Canada in the late 1950s.[3] It first opened in 1961 as "Marine Wonderland and Animal Farm".[3][4] Holer welded two large steel tanks together and brought in three sea lions and charged one quarter for admission and another to feed the animals.[3] The attraction also featured an underwater show featuring two female swimmers.[5] In 1964 Holer added two dolphins, along with a few other animals and the attraction became known as "Marineland And Game Farm".[5] By 1966, a 2,000 seat "aquatheatre" was completed along with a "grotto" of aquariums and shops.[5] In the 1970s Kandu the killer whale became the park's major attraction and the "And Game Farm" part of the name was dropped, although it was still referred to as "Marineland And Game Farm" until the late 1970s in television and radio advertisements. It was also around this time that the park began adding rides such as Dragon Mountain to attract teenagers and younger children.


On May 28, 2015, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Amendment Act, which prohibits the acquisition or breeding of Orcas in Ontario.[6][7]


Marineland is open from the Victoria Day weekend through to Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in October. Rides operate until nightfall.[8]

Animal exhibits[edit]

  • Friendship Cove: The world's largest whale habitat for viewing orcas ('killer whales') above ground and below.[9] Opened on July 22, 1998, it has held orcas ever since. Until the 2006 season, guests were able to pet and feed the whales. 'Splash Sessions' replaced the interactive sessions in response to guest feedback. These 'Sessions' included the whales jumping and splashing the guests around the walls of the pool, however these stopped after the 2011 season due to Ikaika's transfer back to SeaWorld. Friendship Cove currently holds one orca: Kiska (female, estimated age 38 years). Marineland has stated to the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) that it is trying to bring in additional killer whales. Marineland is in negotiations with a Russian facility holding orcas. Beluga whales were held in Friendship Cove from May 30, 1999 until the opening of Arctic Cove in late 2003. Belugas returned to Friendship Cove in December 2008 following the importation of 8 individuals, and has held belugas since. Upon the recent 2014 opening season, several belugas were switched between Arctic Cove and Friendship Cove.

Living arrangements are:

A (Front) Pool: 11: Burnaby, Eve, Horus, Jellybean, Orion, Qila, Neva, Mira, Gia, Osiris and Tuk

B (Side) Pool: 1 Kiska

C Medical Pool: Open to Kiska

  • Arctic Cove: Opened November 23, 2003, it features beluga whales, and is much like Arctic Cove allowing guests to view belugas above and below ground. Guests also have the opportunity to pet and feed the beluga whales for a fee. These interaction sessions occur throughout the day.[10] Marineland keeps beluga whales in 3 locations, Arctic Cove, and King Waldorf Stadium. Marineland currently holds the world record for having the most beluga whales on exhibit, with a total of 45 beluga whales. They do not use any assistive reproduction methods, only natural conception. With 31 live beluga whale births since 2002, 20 currently alive, at the park 4 residing in the United States, making the park the best for beluga breeding and care. In recent years Arctic Cove has been averaging about 6 beluga whales per year. Beluga whales typically give birth in the summer months from June - August, as the temperature begins to warm the water to 55 degrees making it suitable to give birth. This wild beluga whale phenomenon is also seen at Marineland. So far, Rose, Aurora, Acadia, Isis and Skyla have given birth in July and August 2014.

Living arrangements are:

"A" (Front) Pool: 27: Jubilee& Uba, Sierra and Frankie, Xena and Xavier, Meeka and Ruby, Cleo and Yara, Peekachu and Wink, Andre, Kodiak, Caspian, Tank, Isis and Titan, Skyla and Jetta, Rose and Ivy, Acadia and Sahara, Aurora and Kharabali and Talia

"B" (Side/Baby Cove) Pool 10: Gemini and Calf, Secord and Calf, Rain and Calf, Lillooet and Calf, Kelowna and Calf

"C" Medical Pool: 0: Empty,

  • The King Waldorf Stadium Show: Featuring sea lions, walrus and bottlenose dolphins, and soon belugas. The King Waldorf Stadium Show includes dolphins jumping in the air, sea lions with comedy, a beluga whale ballet, and lovely greetings from King Waldorf himself. King Waldorf's opened on July 1, 1971.

Living Arrangements:

Left (Side) Pool: Dolphins: 5: Tsunami, Echo, Lida, Sonar and Marina

Right (Side) Pool: Beluga Whales: 2: Charmin and Tofino

Backstage: Female California SeaLions: 5: Holly, Malibu, Sydney, Maui, Cleveland

Backstage: Walruses: Buttercup, Apollo, Sonja, Zeus and Smooshi

  • Aquarium Dome: This facility, opened in 1966, is now a retirement centre for the elderly sea lions and seals.

Harbor Seals: 6: Curry, Poppy, Baby, Squamish Larry and Rolo (located back stage)

California Sealions: 3: Pebbles, Coral, Surfer

Grey Seal: Delphine

  • Warehouse: This area has a 4 quadron pool area, along with a separate pool currently used to house dolphins during the winter months. Marineland has several animals off exhibit from King Waldorf Theatre. This structure was added in the mid 1970s.

California Sealions: 5: Holly, Malibu, Sydney, Maui, Cleveland

Walruses: 5: Apollo, Smooshi, Sonja, Zeus and Buttercup Dolphins(winter): 5: Lida, Echo, Tsunami, Sonar, and Marina

  • Other animals: Marineland has many animals throughout the park that are not cetaceans or pinnipeds. Marineland has carried over these animals from its days as a 'game farm'.
  • Bear Country: an area featuring black bears sits below a viewing deck, where visitors can throw Corn Pops cereal (originally marshmallows) to them.
  • Deer Park: European Fallow Deer are in a fenced in area which allow people to move about freely. Food is provided for a fee.
  • Carp Pond: An area in which carp and koi gather around "deck bridges", allowing easy viewing and feeding for a fee.
  • Elk and Buffalo: allow for easy viewing of these creatures grazing. Feeding also available for a fee.


  • Dragon Mountain Roller Coaster: an Arrow Huss roller coaster which opened as the world's largest (not longest) non-stop roller coaster - covering 30 acres (1,300,000 sq ft). It features tunnels that lead to the queue area, has two consecutive vertical loops and the only bowtie loop of its kind in the world.[11]
  • Sky Hawk: a spinning ride which also moves vertically up and down. Features one- or two-person cages without restricting belts or harnesses.
  • Wave Swinger: a swing ride with a moving top that allows the swings to move up and down. The first adult ride the park ever had.
  • Lady Bug Coaster: children's roller coaster, features a lady bug cart.
  • Tivoli Wheel: a "hanging" ferris wheel.
  • Magic Experience: a spinning ride located near the bear area; features statues of bears on the ride.
  • Kandu's Twister: Opened in 2002, this ride is a "teacup" style ride that features orcas on the sides of the cups.
  • Space Avenger: a spinning ride that features a control panel in the cages allowing the rider to move vertically up and down.
  • Dragon Boats: a simple carousel with a Viking boat theme.
  • Flying Dragon: a ride that offers thrills for a lot of ages, goes up into the air then falls back down without inversion.
  • Hurricane Cove: a generic Mack Sea Storm ride.
  • Sky Screamer: Opened in 2004 and is the world's highest triple tower ride at 300 feet (91 m). It is situated on a 150-foot-tall (46 m) hill, making the total height of the ride 450 feet (140 m), which affords the rider an impressive view of the city and the falls. It is a recognizable landmark with the logo at the top clearly visible at night. Ascending riders experience 4G's, while descending riders experience a -2G's.[12]
  • Topple Tower: Opened in 2008, this ride has a circular gondola where the passengers sit, is elevated into the air and then starts spinning, and the tower rocks back and forth on a 60-degree angle, giving it a 30-degree angle with the ground, and its scenery features a walrus on top of the tower.
  • Viking Adventure: Opened in 2006, it is a small-sized Viking boat ride that operates on a track to rock passengers back and forth and spin them around.
  • Orca Screamer: Opened in 2005, this is a miniature, child-size one-tower version of the famous Sky Screamer.
  • Bumble Bee: Opened in 2005, this brightly coloured children's ride allows parents and children to sit in a car together a be elevated and spun around.
  • Ocean Odyssey: Opened in 2010, this family ride allows guests to sit in fish-shaped cars that are attached to large arms. The ride spins in a circular motion while the arms move up and down.


Marineland and its owner John Holer have been involved in many controversies throughout the park's history. Most have centered around the concerns of animals rights activists and some politicians, who have expressed concerns about the treatment of animals at the park for many years.

In 1977, The U.S. Department of Fisheries seized six bottlenose dolphins that had been illegally caught by John Holer in the Gulf of Mexico.[3]

In 2001, a member of Parliament, Libby Davies, tabled a private member's bill which aimed to ban the live-capture and trade of whales and dolphins.[13] The Department of Fisheries and Oceans commissioned a scientific study, but Minister Herb Dhaliwal chose not to act on any of the recommendations.

In September 2011, SeaWorld won a court battle with Marineland over the fate of Ikaika The Killer Whale. Ikaika had been originally loaned to Marineland under the terms of a breeding loan agreement between the two organizations, but SeaWorld decided to terminate the agreement due to concerns about Ikaika's mental and physical well-being due to deteriorating conditions at the park. Marineland initially refused to return Ikaika, but was eventually ordered to by the Ontario Superior Court as well as pay $255,000 in compensation to SeaWorld for legal expenses.[14]

On August 15, 2012, the Toronto Star published an article alleging that many sea mammals at Marineland live in inhumane conditions and suffer from a variety of illnesses caused by problems with water quality and chronic under-staffing. John Holer denied the allegations in the report, which was largely based on interviews conducted with former Marineland employees.[15]

On September 10, 2012 the Toronto Star published an article quoting former Marineland supervisor Jim Hammond alleging that Marineland owner, John Holer, had shot one of the baby deer in his park through the windpipe with a 12-gauge shotgun, leaving it to choke on its blood without dying. Hammond claimed the park owner refused his pleas for humane euthanasia.[16]

On December 20, 2012 the Ontario Ministry of the Environment announced an investigation into several mass animal graves at the park. The ministry had no previous knowledge of the graves, as Marineland lacks permits for such use.[17]

On March 5, 2013, the Toronto Star published an article quoting Hammond and a local resident alleging that John Holer had shot two Labrador Retrievers that had escaped a neighbour's house and entered Marineland property. The article also mentioned that Hammond was told by Holer “to check if there were any collars . . . around their necks and if there were, to remove them.” [18]

In September 2013, it was reported that the Ontario College of Veterinarians was investigating an unspecified number of veterinarians at Marineland.[19]

Beluga whale deaths[edit]

A beluga whale died in 2000.[20]

Sasha, a beluga whale born in 2008 at Marineland died around Oct. 10th 2011, several days before the off season.

In May 2012, a 9-month old beluga, Scoot, born to Skyla, succumbed to its injuries after a two-hour attack by two adult males in a shared tank. Only an untrained guide was on hand to try to stop the attack. It took trainers two hours to arrive to the aid of the baby beluga. By that time, the calf had already died.

Charlotte and Luna, two calves born to Kelowna and Lilloet in 2009 and 2012 respectively, died in November 2012 and late 2013 respectively. Charlotte had a rare metabolic disorder, and the cause of Luna's death is still unknown.

Killer whale deaths[edit]

The following is a list of dead killer whales who were at Marineland:

  • An unnamed whale died at the park in October 1992 from drowning.[21]
  • Junior, a wild Icelandic male Orca, died in June 1994.[22]
  • Kanuck, separated from mother, Kiska, and stored in a warehouse. Died at age 4 in 1998.[23][24]
  • An unnamed whale born at Marineland died in June 1998.[25]
  • Nova died in August 2001.[26]
  • Algonquin died in August 2002 due to a twisted intestine.[27]
  • April died in April 2004.[26][28]
  • Neocia died in August 2004 at Marineland.[26]
  • Hudson died in 2004 with the cause of death being meningitis.[29]
  • Kandu 7 was a wild whale from Iceland that died in 2005.[26]
  • Katak/Splash was born at Marineland and was moved to SeaWorld in 1992 for health treatment. He died in April 2005.[26]
  • Athena died sometime in spring 2009. The cause of death was by infection.[30]
  • Malik, a three-year-old orca, died due to a deficient immune system.[31]
  • An unnamed wild died while being moved from Marineland to Japan.[26]

Black Water lawsuit[edit]

On May 10, 2016, Marineland filed a lawsuit against filmmaker Zach Affolter to prevent the release of his documentary, Black Water. The park alleges that the film contains footage illegally taken at Marineland, and is a violation of their policy preventing the use of footage for commercial purposes. Affolter responded by asserting that "Black Water is meant as an educational, non-commercial film that dives into the moral question behind keeping cetaceans in captivity."[32]


Marineland's main advertising comes through a series of commercials with the jingle "Everyone Loves Marineland". Marineland has also used other slogans over the years in its advertising:

  • "Come to Marineland" - (1980-1985)
  • "Where the Fun Never Stops" - (1986-1988)
  • "Happiness is Marineland" - (1987-1991)
  • "Everyone Loves Marineland" - (1992–present)


  • Locker, stroller and wheelchair rentals.
  • Allows picnicking and has a corporate area for picnics.
  • Offers live musical entertainment with Polka music legend Walter Ostanek performing daily during the peak season.


  1. ^ "Marineland of Canada Inc. Privacy Protection Policy". Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  2. ^ "Marineland of Canada". Niagara Falls Tourism. Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d Casey, Liam (October 3, 2011). "The man behind Marineland: 50 years of controversy". Toronto Star. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Attraction is being expanded". Reading Eagle. July 18, 1976. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "Niagara Exhibit plans call for big expansion". Windsor Star. August 28, 1970. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ Retrieved 13 June 2015.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Ont. passes killer whale ban, other animal protection measures". Retrieved 13 June 2015. 
  8. ^ "Marineland Canada - Niagara Falls Tour Guide". Niagara Falls Kiosk. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  9. ^ "Marineland Canada - Niagara Falls Aquarium - Amusement Park". Clifton Hill Resorts. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  10. ^ "Marineland Canada". Destination 360. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  11. ^ "Dragon Mountain Roller Coaster". Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  12. ^ "Thrilling Rides". Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  13. ^ "Ndp's libby davies to table motion to ban the trade of marine mammals". Coalition for No Whale in Captivity. Retrieved 2001-03-30. 
  14. ^ "Send killer whale back to Florida, court tells Marineland | Toronto Star". 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  15. ^ "Marineland animals suffering, former staffers say | Toronto Star". 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  16. ^ "Marineland: Allegations of poor treatment of deer, bears | Toronto Star". 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  17. ^ "Marineland: Environment ministry launches probe into mass animal graves | Toronto Star". 2012-12-20. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  18. ^ "Marineland owner John Holer shot dead neighbours' dogs, according to witnesses | Toronto Star". 2013-03-05. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  19. ^ Diebel, Linda (13 September 2013). "Marineland: College investigating Marineland veterinarians". Toronto Star. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Abstract: Third whale dies at Marineland; Animal rights groups call for moratorium on imports". August 19, 2000. Retrieved September 3, 2014. 
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ [2] Archived March 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ "~Orca Spirit~". ~Orca Spirit~. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  24. ^ [3] Archived March 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ [4][dead link]
  26. ^ a b c d e f "Marineland Cetacean Inventory" (PDF). Zoocheck Canada. Retrieved August 28, 2012. 
  27. ^ [5] Archived March 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ [6] Archived March 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  29. ^ [7] Archived March 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  30. ^ [8] Archived March 11, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  31. ^ "More Whales Die at Marineland". CFHS. Retrieved 2009-07-10. 
  32. ^ Law, John. "Marineland files lawsuit against teen filmmaker". Niagara Falls Review. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 15 May 2016. 

External links[edit]