The Vancouver Aquarium Story
People, Fish and Whales
"The operation of an aquarium like this is one of the livelier arts. Try combining the essential features of a department store, school, fish hatchery with a plumber’s nightmare and a wild animal circus which runs full-time."
Book DescriptionWhen it opened in 1956, the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre was the first public aquarium to be built in Canada. When the first curator ordered some small clownfish and blue damselfish from an aquarium hobby store in Oakland, California, the $300 cost was so exorbitant that he thought surely he would be fired. Today, half a century later, the aquarium is home to 60,000 aquatic creatures and has an annual operating budget topping $13 million.
This is a behind-the-scenes underdog success story, a celebration of what the aquarium has achieved and a look into its future role, as told by Dr. Murray Newman, aquarium director from 1956 to 1993. From its humble beginnings—when it was without collecting equipment or even a cash register—the aquarium grew piece by piece, gallery by gallery, until it became a major biological institution internationally recognized for its exhibits and its programs in education, conservation and research. The aquarium has welcomed 30 million visitors to the underwater world and introduced generations of schoolchildren to the importance of conservation.
With text accompanied by stunning colour photographs from the aquarium archives, Newman recalls the people,creatures, controversies and triumphs that make up a fascinating history of a nonprofit organization entirely supported by the public. Entertaining sidebars feature anecdotes about the aquarium’s resident animals, conservation awareness work, research and personnel.