Ripley Entretainment officially launched construction of their $130 Million Aquarium of Canada today, to be built at the base of the CN Tower. The ceremony was attended by Jim Pattison, Chairman and CEO of the Jim Pattison Group which owns Ripley Entertainment Inc., along with federal MP Tim Optiz, Ontario Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Mark Laroche, President and CEO of Canada Lands Company, and Jim Pattison Jr., President of Ripley Entertainment inc. The aquarium, designed by Toronto's Bregman + Hamann Architects, is set to open in the summer of 2013.

 Plaza-sideRipley's Aquarium of Canada from the west: Plaza-side

 Bremner-sideRipley's Aquarium of Canada from the south: Bremner-side

 Convention Centre-sideRipley's Aquarium of Canada from the east: Convention Centre-side

Support is coming from all three levels of government. Canada Lands Company, the federal Crown corporation which owns the CN Tower and the land that the aquairum will sit on, will spend $10 Million to upgrade the John Street corridor with new signage and infrastructure improvements to bring more pedestrian traffic to the site from Front Street. The Government of Ontario is investing more than $11 million to support the construction of the new Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, while the City of Toronto is providing property tax incentives of between $8 adn $12 Million over a 12-year period under the Imagination, Manufacturing, Innovations, Technology (IMIT) Grants program.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada LobbyRipley's Aquarium of Canada: Lobby

Quick Facts

  • Aquarium construction will create more than 600 jobs, generating an immediate economic impact of more than $50 million, $35 million of which will be labor income.  In addition, during the two-year construction timeline, the project is forecast to generate more than $25 million in taxes for all three levels of government; 
  • When operational, the Aquarium will generate 300 to 350 jobs and will have a projected annual economic impact of more than $35 million on GDP;
  • During the first 20 years of operation, the Aquarium is expected to generate more than $220 million in tax revenues for all three levels of government;
  • The most significant new family attraction in Toronto since the Hockey Hall of Fame, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is expected to draw nearly two-million visitors each year;
  • The 135,00-square-foot Aquarium will have a capacity of 1.5-million gallons;
  • Featuring 450 species, the Aquarium will be home to more than 13,500 inhabitants;
  • The two existing U.S. Ripley’s aquariums are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the organization that sets and maintains the highest level of animal welfare standards, a distinction of which Ripley's is proud;
  • The Aquarium will conduct ongoing breeding/conservation programs for endangered species, including ongoing tagging and tracking programs for sand tiger sharks in conjunction with universities and government agencies;

 Tropical ReefRipley's Aquarium of Canada: Tropical Reef

 Shark Tank TunnelRipley's Aquarium of Canada: Shark Tank Tunnel

 Mid-Tunnel ViewRipley's Aquarium of Canada: Mid-Tunnel View

UrbanToronto will bring you more information soon, including a dataBase listing. Stay tuned!