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20,000 Leagues Under Toronto

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"Under the sea, under the sea…” I sang that for about three hours after my sneak preview of the new Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. No matter how old I get, I still get as excited as a 5-year-old when I go to the aquarium, and I was one of the lucky people to see it first. The Aquarium is the greatest thing Toronto never knew it needed. It boasts the longest shark tunnel in North America, numerous touch tanks, an interactive kid zone and a specially designed soundtrack to accompany you through all of it.


Originally set to open in September, the Aquarium more than made up for its late opening date. As I arrived through the front doors I stepped into the lobby with light streaming through the huge glass windows, it was like looking up at the surface through clear tropical waters while snorkeling. I walked through the greeting line of sparkling, painted mermaids and entered an exhibit called Canadian Waters: what a perfect place to start. I’m fairly certain my jaw did not leave the floor until I left.

The Ripley’s Aquarium is a great addition to our Toronto itineraries. They have a large cloakroom for day bags, a cafeteria that can have preordered box lunches available and many programs and tours geared directly towards students. There are few places that truly delight all age groups equally, and it would be hard work to not enjoy this journey under the sea. So get to the aquarium as fast as you can and say hi to Gordon for me (that’s what I named the Giant Grouper.)

I’ve been to many aquariums in cities around the world and the Ripley’s Aquarium has taken the top spot. It may be due to my love of jellyfish and the section of the aquarium that is dedicated solely to them. It could be that it’s the only aquarium I know where you can touch a shark without the fear of losing a limb. Maybe it’s the Giant grouper that followed me as I walked across its tank- did you know that Giant Groupers can learn sign language?

Whatever it is, this aquarium is a game changer for Toronto.  In the years to come people are going to have a new must see to add to their list beside the CN tower and a Blue Jays game.

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