Vancouver, B.C. – Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre’s AquaVan 150: Connecting Communities to Coastlines tour officially kicked off today as the mobile education program began its cross-country journey in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. AquaVan 150 is the first-ever trip from coast to coast for the mobile education program in its 22-year history.
Over the next seven months, this Canada 150 signature project will celebrate Canada’s anniversary at 150 stops in cities big and small. The interactive AquaVan 150 program, offered in both English and French, will deliver experiential programming to Canadians of all ages. It will visit community events, schools and camps in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island before ending with a homecoming in British Columbia in fall 2017.
“The AquaVan 150 tour is a milestone not only for the Vancouver Aquarium but also for Canadians, from the Rockies to the Prairies to the Maritimes, who will have an opportunity to interact with the ocean and the fascinating life it holds. This journey is about celebrating the rich biodiversity of our country and joining together in the shared need to conserve it,” said John Nightingale, president and CEO, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. “Since opening our doors in 1956 we have connected with millions of people from around the world through our conservation programs, such as Ocean Wise and Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, and through visits to our Aquarium. With this nationwide tour during Canada’s 150th year, we will engage and inspire thousands more ocean champions in our own backyard to care for our precious waterways. That, too, is something to celebrate.”
AquaVan 150 will deliver fully interactive aquatic programming to Canadians of all ages at community events, schools and camps. In addition to getting hands-on at various touch pools, programming will focus on encouraging ocean literacy and exploring the impacts humans are having on our rivers, lake and oceans through topics such as local history and regional environmental issues. Participants will gain a better understanding of the role Canadians can play to ensure the country’s waterways are healthy and abundant for future generations.
The new AquaVan features a 28-foot mobile aquarium, with resident creatures including sea stars, sea cucumbers, crabs and sea anemones, among other invertebrates from the Pacific Coast. These animals serve as ambassadors for aquatic life and help to bring the ocean to Canadians, regardless of where they live. The AquaVan has been outfitted with all of the necessary life support systems for the animals; it will also feature a 70” flatscreen TV with videoconferencing capabilities, which will allow for communication with other experts back at the Vancouver Aquarium in real-time from stops across the country.
While school visits are targeted for students and youth, communities can get involved with AquaVan 150 in a number of different ways. At the public events, visitors can participate in a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, where they will help to rehabilitate a local shoreline and clear it of litter and debris through a hands-on cleanup.
The AquaVan 150: Connecting Communities to Coastlines tour will be tracked online and regular updates will be posted on Vancouver Aquarium’s AquaBlog and Vancouver Aquarium’s Facebook page. You may support this signature journey through a donation here and request to have the AquaVan visit your community here.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and its AquaVan 150 team are proud to be part of the Canada 150 celebrations and recognize the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Government of Canada for helping to fund the AquaVan 150: Connecting Communities to Coastlines tour. The 2017 programming is also made possible through the support the Aquarium’s sponsors and donors.
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
The Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre is a non-profit society dedicated to the conservation of aquatic life. www.vanaqua.org
Note to editors: photos of the AquaVan and its programs are available on request.