The 3 Largest Aquariums in Canada

Written by Christine Colbert
Updated: November 12, 2023
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Key Points

  • The Vancouver Aquarium is the largest in Canada, with a total water volume of 2.5 million gallons.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is located in Toronto and receives more than 12 million visitors per year.
  • The Aquarium of Quebec features a tunnel that passes through a 92,000-gallon tank.

Caribbean

reef shark

(

Carcharhinus perezii

) in the blue ocean water.

©Dovapi/ via Getty Images

One of the easiest ways to see ocean life up close is to visit an aquarium. With an array of marine plants and animals, aquariums offer the chance to observe nature in a unique and unforgettable way. 

Aquariums are family-friendly and therapeutic. Watching incredible sea creatures like manta rays, sharks, and tropical fish can produce a calming effect that feels almost meditative. They also enable essential scientific research and encourage increased awareness of oceanic conservation. Visiting an aquarium isn’t just a nice way to spend an afternoon; it’s also a way to connect with nature, support conservation, and learn something new.

There are aquariums all over Canada, ranging in size and special features. But there is something about visiting a truly enormous tank that will blow your socks off. Check out the three largest aquariums in all of Canada.

1. Vancouver Aquarium

Tropical fish at the Vancouver Aquarium.

©Dovapi/ via Getty Images

With a water volume of 2.5 million gallons, the Vancouver Aquarium is the largest in Canada and features thousands of aquatic species. Established in 1951, it is also the country’s first public aquarium and is considered one of the best. It was the first to employ professional naturalists and interpretive specialists in its programming — a practice that is now commonplace.

Along with incredible oceanic exhibits, this aquatic center also hosts interactive experiences like its Wet Lab, where you can see and touch invertebrates like sea urchins and sea cucumbers. There are also touch pools where you can interact with aquatic animals.

2. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Ripley’s is known for its incredible shark exhibits.

©Jonas Han – Photographer/ via Getty Images

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada features over 80 attractions, and more than 12 million people visit each year. Measuring 1.5 million gallons, it’s slightly smaller than the Vancouver Aquarium, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less impressive. At Ripley’s, you’ll find North America’s longest underwater viewing tunnel, where you can observe its famous shark exhibits — including sharks measuring 10 feet long. 

With fun, interactive features appropriate for all ages, there is plenty to do when visiting this enormous underwater park. There are even overnight sleepovers where you can spend the night exploring and sleeping in the Dangerous Lagoon tunnel. You can also get up close to a variety of stingray species at Ripley’s Stingray Experience.

3. Aquarium of Quebec

A

seahorse

up close at the Aquarium of Quebec.

©Angeliquepharand/ via Getty Images

The Aquarium of Quebec isn’t quite as large as Vancouver or Ripley’s, but it offers a unique experience worth traveling for. Specializing in boreal and arctic wildlife, this aquarium doesn’t just feature sea life. Visitors can also see polar bears, arctic foxes, and harbor seals on the 40-acre property.

With a tunnel that passes through its 92,000 tanks, the establishment showcases deep-sea life from a diver’s perspective. You can get the chance to see a variety of native and exotic fish, including leopard sharks, scorpion fish, and blue lobsters.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © robertzwinchell/Shutterstock.com


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