Few parts of Toronto see as much tourist traffic as the area surrounding the base of the CN Tower. Each year, millions of visitors from across the globe stand at the base of this monolithic concrete tower in awe of the feat of engineering that we locals now normally take for granted. The surrounding landscape, however, has been often times described as barren and lacking in both adequate retail and additional family-friendly entertainment. Both of those needs are soon to be addressed, with construction speeding along on both the entry pavilion at the foot of the CN Tower and the adjacent Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada B+H Architects CN Tower TorontoPanorama of Ripleys' Aquarium and new CN Tower retail, image by Jack Landau

Work on that 135,000-square-foot major family attraction is kicking into high gear in anticipation of the planned opening this summer. The 1.5 million gallon aquarium will contain over 13,500 marine creatures from more than 450 different species.   

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada B+H Architects CN Tower TorontoOngoing construction at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, image by Jack Landau

The overall highlight of the B+H Architects-designed aquarium is sure to be the 315 foot moving walkway, which meanders through an acrylic-window tunnel through the 750,000-gallon Shark Lagoon. The trip takes 20 minutes, though visitors will be able to step off of the moving platform at any time to stop and take in the unique subaquatic view. 

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada B+H Architects CN Tower TorontoConstruction at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada viewed from the south side of Bremner Blvd, image by Jack Landau

The aquarium is expected to generate more than $11 million in tax revenues per annum, with a projected annual economic impact of over $35 million on GDP including the touris spending. In addition, the estimated 300-350 jobs created by the project will provide employment opportunities for those in the rapidly growing neighbourhoods nearby.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada B+H Architects CN Tower TorontoOngoing construction at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, image by Jack Landau

Canada Lands Company is the federal Crown corporation which owns the CN Tower and the land on where the Aquarium is being built. The company is investing $10 million in upgrading signage, local pedestrian infrastructure, and most of all a new entrance pavilion for the CN Tower designed by the IBI Group. The addition's recently installed vibrant red-orange and blue glass glazing has injected the shock of colour into the muted tones of the existing cityscape south of the rail tracks.

The shots below, captured by UT Forum member TOCondoGarden, provide us with a great look at the colourful new glazing as well as the newly installed KDA-designed CN Tower signage.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada B+H Architects CN Tower TorontoCurrent progress of new CN Tower retail base, image by forum member TOCondoGarden

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada B+H Architects CN Tower TorontoNew CN Tower signage at under-construction retail base, image by forum member TOCondoGarden

New signage is also being installed on the south side of Front Street, beckoning visitors to make the short walk over the suspension bridge and check out the CN Tower and soon-to-be-open aquarium.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada B+H Architects CN Tower TorontoNew CN Tower and Aquarium signage at Front and John, image by Jack Landau

Looking for more information? A comprehensive collection of renderings and additional facts regarding both the CN Tower's new entry pavilion and the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada can be found at the project’s associated dataBase pages, linked below. To get involved in the discussion, you can click on the associated Forum threads, or voice your opinion in the comments section on this page.