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Magnificent Vancouver Aquarium: Captured Killer Whales Now in the Past

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Killer Whale show at Vancouver's Aquarium

Killer Whale show at Vancouver's Aquarium

Canada's Vancouver Aquarium

One of the premier attractions in Stanley Park and Vancouver, British Columbia, for that matter, is the magnificent Vancouver Aquarium. It was the very first public aquarium in Canada and is also the largest. It also happens to be one of the five largest aquariums in all of North America. Its primary focus is on conservation and research. There are over 166 aquatic displays.

Among other things, one can view some of the following: sharks, stonefish, angelfishes, eels, seahorses, and more in the H.R. MacMillan Tropical Gallery.

One can see beautiful and luminous jellyfish, anemones, octopus, and more in the Sandwell North Pacific Gallery.

If you desire to see freshwater fish like salmon, steelhead, and arctic grayling, plan to visit the Rufe Gibbs Hall.

The Max Bell Marine Mammal Centre offers views of the larger animals like whales, seals, sea lions, and the like.

Our Visit and Impressions

My mother, niece, and I were staying at the Westin Bayshore Hotel. We were within walking distance of Stanley Park and availed ourselves of exploring it several times during our 5-day vacation in Vancouver.

One day we decided to visit the renowned aquarium located in Stanley Park. A giant orca statue greets one at the entrance to the aquarium. It is titled Chief of the Undersea World, and Bill Reid gets the credit for its artistry.

The orca (killer whale) show was terrific. The trainers/handlers had the giant black and white orcas leaping out of the water and doing tricks on command. White beluga whales also performed in unison.

Warnings were issued that people in the audience just might get splashed. As the orcas would whip their tails against the water delivering a massive spray of water into the crowd, we heard peals of laughter. My main concern was to keep my camera dry.

The Vancouver Aquarium was the first to capture and put orcas on display. Much as we enjoyed the show, I would rather think of these magnificent marine animals having the freedom of the ocean and their pods to travel and interact.

End of an Era

As of a decision made in 1996, the Vancouver Aquarium will never again be responsible for capturing wild whales, dolphins, or other cetaceans. Their prime focus, as mentioned above, is conservation and research. People at the aquarium do help abandoned animals or sick ones and nurse them back to health to be released into the wild.

I am delighted to hear about the direction that they are taking.

Performing Beluga Whales

After the beluga whales' performances, chunks of ice were thrown into their pool. They love playing with the ice before it melts. The beluga whales would push the chunks of ice ahead of them and do all sorts of gymnastic moves while the ice was still intact.

Their smooth white faces, which always seem to have a perpetual smile on them, appeared to enjoy this special treat, and it was fun watching their antics with the ice. These were not a trick but just seemed to be a joyful play on their part.

The crowd of people watching the belugas playing also wore many smiles upon their faces.

Update Regarding the Whales

I recently received this comment from Charles Barnes, who lives in Vancouver. Sharing it in his own words, here it is:

"Hello, Peggy,

So glad you enjoyed your time at the Vancouver Aquarium. Being a Vancouverite, and a father of 6 children, the aquarium has been a staple for entertainment/education for our family for many years.

Your visit was clearly many years ago now as the aquarium has not kept orcas in captivity since 2001, and sadly, I regret to inform you that the aquarium's last Beluga whale, Aurora, has passed away as of Friday night. Now, the aquarium owns other belugas who are on loan to other facilities around North America. Whether or not one or more of these animals will return to Vancouver is unknown at this time, but you may want to update this page for your visitors.

The Vancouver Aquarium is still very much a worthwhile place to visit and so much to offer beyond the whales. I highly recommend reserving a full day for the experience as there is a lot to take in, and the education through hands-on experience is second to none. If your visitors still wish to see whales, I recommend a whale watching tour to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. All the best to you. Charles"

I am happy to hear that those beautiful orca whales are no longer in captivity. A whale watching tour is the best way to see them while they swim freely with their kind. The Vancouver Aquarium is a great place to spend some time even without whales. I would still highly recommend it.

Thanks again, Charles, for the update!

Personal Recommendation

After spending some time at the magnificent aquarium in Stanley Park, I would heartily recommend visiting there if your travel plans take you to that area.

There is much more to see and enjoy in beautiful Stanley Park, but the aquarium is one that gets a big "thumbs up" from our experience. Enjoy the many YouTube videos in this article.

Sources:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on February 15, 2021:

Hi Amy,

It was fun getting to see what we did at the Vancouver Aquarium. I am glad that they will no longer be using captured wild whales for their shows.

Amy on February 14, 2021:

Always a joy to see these marvelous sea creatures.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 28, 2018:

Hi RedElf,

Nice that you got to visit Stanley Park and the Aquarium when you were visiting your grandparents who lived in Vancouver. Lucky you! It is such a beautiful city and area in general.

RedElf from Canada on April 28, 2018:

Thanks for this walk down memory lane. My grandparents lived in Vancouver, and Stanley Park and the Aquarium were always staples of our visits to the coast.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on December 13, 2017:

Hi Roberta,

The park in which this aquarium is situated is reason enough to pay a visit. Vancouver is such a lovely city to visit with so many different things to see and do. Glad you liked this peek at the Vancouver aquarium.

RTalloni on December 12, 2017:

Thanks for this look at Vancouver's aquarium. It's good to read of the progress they've made at such a nice place to visit.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 29, 2016:

Hello Charles Barnes,

Thanks for the update. You are correct in that it was many years ago when we visited Vancouver and the Vancouver Aquarium. Many people many not read your comment so I think I will just copy much of it and put it in an update in the body of the article. Again...thanks!

Charles Barnes on November 26, 2016:

Hello Peggy,

So glad you enjoyed your time at the Vancouver Aquarium. Being a Vancouverite, and a father of 6 children, the Aquarium has been a staple for entertainment/education for our family for many years.

Your visit was clearly many years ago now as the aquarium has not kept orcas in captivity since 2001 and sadly, I regret to inform you that the aqaurium's last Beluga whale, Aurora, has past away as of Friday night. Now, the aquarium owns other belugas who are on loan to other facilities around North America. Whether or not one or more of these animals will return to Vancouver is unknown at this time but you may want to update this page for your visitors. The Vancouver Aquarium is still very much a worthwhile place to visit and so much to offer beyond the whales. I highly recommend reserving a full day for the experience as there is a lot to take in and the education through hands-on experience is second to none. If your visitors still wish to see whales, I recommend a whale-watching tour to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. All the best to you. Charles

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 17, 2016:

Hi Robert,

Yes...the beluga whales also performed. It was wonderful getting to see the magnificent Vancouver Aquarium.

Robert Sacchi on May 16, 2016:

Enjoyed the article. I didn't know beluga whales performed. This seems to be a magnificent aquarium.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 02, 2012:

Hi Alocsin,

The Vancouver Aquarium is definitely worth a visit...and of course, it is situated in the beautiful Stanley Park. Terrific setting! Thanks for your visit and votes.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 02, 2012:

This is another attraction I missed when I was last in Vancouver. I'll have to make time for it. Voting this Up and Interesting.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on November 08, 2011:

Hello Jellyfishlady,

Thanks for adding this bit of information to the Vancouver Aquarium hub.

Jellyfishlady on November 08, 2011:

Sunset Marine labs have worked with the Vancouver Aquarium and continue to worth with them.

http://sunsetmarinelabs.com/

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on July 04, 2010:

Greetings love2scrap,

Enjoy your visit to Vancouver's Aquarium in Stanley Park and be sure to spend a little extra time checking out the entire park. It is a beautiful and very scenic area. Happy to hear that you liked the photos. Thanks!

love2scrap on July 04, 2010:

Fabulous hub and fabulous photos. I can't wait to visit the aquarium next month when we are in Vancouver!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 24, 2010:

Hello ss sneh,

Yes, the Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park would definitely be a great place to spend a vacation with kids. Thanks for the visit.

ss sneh from the Incredible India! on June 24, 2010:

Hi! Amazing videos and pictures! Very useful info! Nice place to spend a vacation with kids. -- Thanks

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 03, 2010:

Greetings TINA V,

Thanks for enjoying and linking this hub about the Aquarium in Stanley Park located in Vancouver, Canada to your hub. Will go and read yours and hopefully we can interlink not only this hub but others as well. Thanks!

TINA V on June 03, 2010:

You have a well written hub, great photos and videos. The otters are so cute holding hands together. I like it. It's good that Hubpages has a new feature "suggest link." I suggested this as a link using the word "aquarium" in my previous article about Aquarium of the Pacific.

Great hub!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 08, 2009:

Hi mp,

So happy that this brought back some great memories for you. The Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park created ones for us as well. Thanks for the comment.

mp on August 08, 2009:

I love the Van Aquarium... I've been there many times but still need to take my sons there... thanks for the Hub and bringing back such great memories.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Thanks kiran. You can probably tell that I am reliving this vacation piece by piece. Thanks as always for your comments.

kiran8 from Mangalore, India on May 20, 2009:

Another very interesting hub, thanks a lot :)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Hi Paper Moon,

That video is really cute. Glad that I was able to find it and share it with you...especially with your love of otters. Thanks for commenting.

Paper Moon from In the clouds on May 20, 2009:

I would love to go if ever in the area. I loved the otter vid. I have loved otters ever since I saw them on the Wonderful World of Disney when I was really little.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Hi Ashley,

They would be even more fun to see in the wild swimming in pods. They are truly beautiful creatures. Maybe someday you will get a chance to see them. Thanks for your comment.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Hi Birte, You've got me accurately pegged! Thanks for the comment.

AshleyVictoria from Los Angeles on May 20, 2009:

Those Beluga Whales are gorgeous. Unfortunately I've never had the chance to see any !

BirteEdwards on May 20, 2009:

This hub shows your love of wildlife, and your understanding of the importance of conservation

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 20, 2009:

Not yet, Pete! Stay tuned...

Pete Maida on May 20, 2009:

That pretty much covers Vancouver.