We are less than two months away from our first look inside the Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, and with opening day coming quickly, exhibits are now being installed in the 135,000 square-foot facility. On July 23 we stumbled across a unique scene as portable hoists helped to maneuver part of a large skeleton up the front steps of the aquarium, giving us a rare bit of insight into what's going to be behind the building's walls.

Exhibit being moved in to Ripley's Aquarium, image by Jack Landau

Taking a closer look, we're betting on whale ribcage and vertebrae. The size of this specimen is quite apparent, with the bones dwarfing the construction worker in the foreground.

Exhibit being moved in to Ripley's Aquarium, image by Jack Landau

Situated between the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium will surely see a high volume of traffic upon opening this September. The project will be notable for its 315 foot moving walkway through the world's longest acrylic aquarium tunnel. The 750,000-gallon tank will be filled with 12-foot long sand tiger sharks, largetooth sawfish and dozens of other exotic species of sea life.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada approaching completion, image by Jack Landau

The unconventionally angular structure that will house these attractions, designed by B+H Architects, is now almost entirely clad in white and grey aluminum panels, with less and less of the vibrant orange weatherproofing undercoat left exposed.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada almost fully clad, image by Jack Landau

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada almost fully clad, image by Jack Landau

While the Bremner Boulevard and public piazza sides of the building feature the classier cladding, the aquarium’s east and north sides are clad in a utilitarian corrugated metal siding. This area features the service entrances and loading docks which every building needs, but it will not exactly be hidden from the public: the SkyWalk brings people walking from Union Station past these elevations of the building. We are left with an obvious question: why cheap out so much here?

The building's east side, image by Jack Landau

The building's east side and loading docks, image by Jack Landau

One place where the Aquarium might have cheaped out—but did not—was the roof. This right-up-to-date shot by UT Forum contributor MafaldaBoy shows the view of the building that visitors to the CN Tower will have.

The roof at Ripley's Aquarium of Canada viewed from the CN Tower, image by MafaldaBoy

The swimming sharks, nicely pixelated in the roof tiles, are a terrific touch, so it's a shame that the same attention to detail was not paid to all aspects of the exterior that the public will regularly view.

That said, with over 13,500 exotic sea and freshwater creatures, comprising more than 450 different species—none of which, we are happy to report, will be marine mammals—we are genuinely excited about the Ripley’s Aquarium imminent opening. How about you?

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada viewed from Roundhouse Park, image by Jack Landau

For additional information including building facts and renderings, please visit our dataBase page, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or voice your opinion in the comments section provided below.

Related Companies:  American Standard (part of Lixil Canada Inc.), B+H Architects, Entuitive, Ripley Entertainment, RJC Engineers, The Mitchell Partnership Inc.