Located at the base of the CN Tower, construction is progressing well on the city's newest major attraction. Developed by Ripley's Entertainment Inc. and designed by B+H Architects, the $130 million aquarium will hopefully constitute a major new draw for visitors to the city. In recognition of the economic value of tourism, the government of Ontario has contributed $11 million toward the project while the city of Toronto is providing a 12-year property tax incentive through the IMIT Program that will amount to $8 to $12 million savings for the project owner. Canada Lands, the owner of the land on which the aquarium is being built, has also committed over $10 million dollars for the redevelopment of the John Street corridor, including new signage and improved pedestrian access to the district. Exciting, too, is the opportunity this presents to better integrate the land around the CN Tower into the surrounding neighbourhood. Rising from what were once rail lands, the tower has always had an oddly unimpressive connection to the city around it; a byproduct of the isolation of the tower at the time of its construction. With the investment in urban design improvements on John Street, the inclusion of 9,000 sq. ft of retail space at the base of the tower and the construction of the aquarium, the CN Tower will be given a more dynamic site that is fitting of its importance to the city. Thanks to UrbanToronto Forum members, below is a quick photo update of construction:

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto. Design by B+H ArchitectsSite as seen from the public space surrounding the Rogers Centre, image by someMidTowner

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto. Design by B+H ArchitectsView of the northeastern portion of the aquarium, image by someMidTowner

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto. Design by B+H ArchitectsLooking southwest across the site, installation of HVAC system has commenced, image by someMidTowner

Some interesting highlights of the project:

 • The aquarium will hold 5.7 million litres of water and house 13,500 sea and fresh water creatures.

 • There will be a over 45 exhibits spread among 130, 000 sq. feet of space.

 • There will be a 96-metre "Shark Lagoon" that will allow visitors to walk through an acrylic tunnel in the heart of a tank filled with sharks. Work has already started on the installation of these specially designed acrylic panels.

 • This will be Ripley's third aquarium in North America. The other two are in Gatlinburg, TN and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Below is a rendering of the project showing what the finished product will look like when completed in 2013:

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, Toronto. Design by B+H ArchitectsRendering of the aquarium, image courtesy of Ripley's Entertainment Inc.

Interested in learning more about the project? Check out our dataBase listing below. To follow construction as it progresses, a link to our Forum discussion can be found here.