A group of penguins watch sea lions swim at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Vanaqua/Instagram)

A group of penguins watch sea lions swim at the Vancouver Aquarium. (Vanaqua/Instagram)

Vancouver Aquarium to shut its doors, focus on new business model amid COVID-19 losses

Welfare of animals is top priority, CEO says

The Vancouver Aquarium will shut its doors to the public on Sept. 8 to focus on transforming its public-facing business model to adapt to the pandemic.

In a letter to the public Monday (Aug. 31), Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson said the aquarium has had a difficult time adapting to a COVID-19 model of operations. The facility said it was at risk of permanently closing earlier this spring as the pandemic forced it to temporarily shut its doors.

Although the aquarium reopened this summer, and despite a Vancouver Whitecaps aided fundraising campaign, Gustavsson said the situation has not improved.

READ MORE: Vancouver Aquarium, at risk of permanently closing, raises $600K in donations

“For the two-months we were open this summer, ticket sales were down by almost 80 per cent and our not-for-profit aquarium was losing more than $1 million dollars a month,” he said.

“Over the coming months, we will focus on transforming our business model so that we can be financially sustainable in this new world.”

The aquarium will continue to employ a team of 75 staff, including biologists, animal care experts, water quality technicians and veterinarians, to take care of its animals. The facility received $2 million from the federal government to cover animal care costs in July.

With capacity restrictions expected to continue well into next year, the aquarium has no anticipated reopening date.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Vancouver Aquarium

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Crews had a lot to clean up and they are still working (file photo)
Power restored for the Valley after winter storm

All Bella Coola customers are now out of the dark

Highway 20 is now open but conditions are still challenging (Dawson Road Maintenance photo)
Some customers still without power as additional crews brought in to help

Trees continued to fall onto lines even after the actual storm had passed

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, & 26th November 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10 (file photo)
COVID-19 case confirmed at Acwsalcta School

The exposure occurred on 24th, 25th, & 26th November 2020, and affects Grade 7, 8, 9, 10.

A convoy of vehicles passes through Heckman Pass on Highway 20 as cleanup operations continued Saturday. Dawson Road Maintenance is asking motorists to watch for crews and equipment working throughout the area. (Dawson Road Maintenance photo/Facebook)
Highway 20 reopens between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola after winter storm Friday

“We appreciate your patience as we continue to clear wood debris and widen sections of the road.”

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

An RCMP officer confers with military rescuers outside their Cormorant helicopter near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
Good Samaritan helped Kootenay police nab, rescue suspect which drew armed forces response

Midway RCMP said a Good Samaritan helped track the suspect, then brought the arresting officer dry socks

People line up at a COVID-19 assessment centre during the COVID-19 pandemic in Scarborough, Ont., on Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccine approval could be days away as pressures mount on health-care system

Many health officials in regions across the country have reported increasing pressures on hospitals

Most Read