VANCOUVER, B.C. – There was much to celebrate at last night’s Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre’s jubilee celebration at Night at the Aquarium, presented by PCL Construction. This annual signature fundraising gala brought 450 guests on a journey back in time in honour of the Aquarium’s six decades of ocean conservation. The event raised more than $460,000 in support of its vital ocean and freshwater conservation, research and education programs.
Since opening on June 15, 1956, Vancouver Aquarium has connected more than 44 million visitors to aquatic life, igniting the first spark of interest needed for people to care about their surrounding world, about the fragile ecosystems that are being disrupted, and about the oceans that are being depleted.
Vancouver Aquarium has been a leader in ocean conservation in Canada and growing globally. Its Marine Mammal Rescue Centre opened in 1960, and to this day is the only hospital of its kind in the country. Vancouver Aquarium has pioneered a number of national conservation initiatives, including the sustainable seafood program Ocean Wise®, and the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, which last year saw more than 59,000 Canadians participate. This year, the Aquarium marks another important milestone – 10 years of hosting the magical Night at the Aquarium.
“Last night could not have been a more perfect tribute to our 60th anniversary. Night at the Aquarium brought together our longtime supporters, community members, Ocean Wise chef ambassadors and passionate conservationists for an evening that will not soon be forgotten,” said Dr. John Nightingale, president and CEO at Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre. “It has been 60 years since we opened our doors to the public and made a commitment to protect our world’s oceans and the aquatic life that call it home. Night at the Aquarium was a memorable evening dedicated to celebrating our long-time supporters who help bring our mission to life.”
Guests started off their evening with a cocktail reception, including wine from Whitehaven Winery, beer courtesy of Red Truck Beer Company, Ocean Wise caesars from Walter Caesar and “Just Keep Swimming”, the signature white port cocktail designed by head bartender at the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge.
For the first time in years, Night at the Aquarium delighted guests with a multi-chef six-course, seated dinner. Delectable Ocean Wise dishes were be prepared by top chefs and Ocean Wise partners Rob Clark of The Fish Counter, Chris Whittaker of Forage, James Walt of Araxi, Frank Pabst of Blue Water Café, Warren Barr of The Wickaninnish Inn and Ned Bell of YEW seafood + bar. These delicious dishes were accompanied by wine pours from Sage Hills and Meiomi, and in the VIP section by Laughing Stock Estate Winery.
After dinner, guests were escorted to the live auction area in Ocean Courtyard, guided by the Strathcona Youth Basketball league who held handmade jellyfish lanterns, creating a stunning and glowing parade through the galleries. The Courtyard was abuzz as guests indulged in friendly competition and placed bids on some of the incredible prizes. Highlights included:
- A seven night cruise to Baja, courtesy of Un-Cruise Adventures, that includes the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go snorkelling with sea lion pups or whale watching for whale sharks.
- Two weeks of accommodation in Costa Rica, courtesy of Lloyds Travel and National Geographic, with an opportunity to take an inside look at sea turtle rescues in the area.
- A 10-day voyage to the stunning region of Canada’s Arctic, courtesy of One Ocean.
Post-auction the night was still young, with live band Side One then taking the stage in Ocean Courtyard to get the crowd grooving and singing along to covers of dance floor favourites into the wee hours of the night.
Night at the Aquarium would not be possible without presenting sponsor PCL Construction Group, gold-level sponsors BMO Financial Group, LNG Canada, Pedersens, Xerox and Leith Wheeler Investment Council, vehicle sponsor Ferrari Maserati and silver-level sponsors BDO, Beedie Development Group, CN, Earnscliffe Strategy Group, Musson Cattell Mackey Partnership, Odlum Brown, Status Electrical, and Waste Control Services & Recycling.
Warm thanks go to raffle showcase sponsor Air Canada and media sponsor BC Business. Special recognition is also shared with the amazing Ocean Wise partners who donate their time in support of our conservation efforts. Through their time and generous support, the event partners, volunteers, guests and supporters make this night an unforgettable success.
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.
Editors: Photos from the event are available on request.