Vancouver Aquarium to close to the public on Sept. 8

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Aquarium to shut down again' Vancouver Aquarium to shut down again
The Vancouver Aquarium will shut down again this month saying it's losing too much money with COVID-19 restrictions on visitors. As Linda Aylesworth reports, the aquarium says it will be a different attraction when it re-opens – Aug 31, 2020

The Vancouver Aquarium has announced it is pausing all public programming and closing its doors to the public as of Sept. 8 in order to transition to a new model of operation.

In a release Monday, the organization said this has been one of the most financially challenging times in its history, including an almost 80 per cent decline in ticket sales due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The animals who live at the aquarium will continue to be cared for by a team of 75 staff.

Read more: Tiny baby sea otter receiving around-the-clock care at marine rescue centre

More than 200 full-time, part-time and casual staff will be laid off.

Other programs, such as Ocean Wise Research, Ocean Wise Education, Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, Arctic programs, Ocean Wise Seafood, Marine Mammal Rescue, and others – will continue without interruption.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'The Vancouver Aquarium closes to the public in an effort to save money' The Vancouver Aquarium closes to the public in an effort to save money
The Vancouver Aquarium closes to the public in an effort to save money – Sep 1, 2020

The focus going forward will be to transition to a new model that is both financially viable and also accelerates ocean conservation programs.

“We are committed to getting the aquarium back on solid financial footing so that we can continue to build on its legacy and tackle the most pressing ocean conservation challenges of our time, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing, ” Christian Baxter, board chair of Ocean Wise, said in a release.

“Staff reductions were an incredibly difficult decision and one we truly hoped to avoid.”

Story continues below advertisement

The aquarium was closed to the public for three months during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. When it opened in June, visitor restrictions meant the facility was not able to cover operating costs, which the organization says exceed $1 million a month.

“Under these difficult circumstances, transforming the aquarium is the most responsible thing we can do,” Lasse Gustavsson, president and CEO of Ocean Wise said in a release.

The Vancouver Aquarium was founded in 1956.

Sponsored content