Last week we visited the new aquarium. Toronto’s only one. Franchised by Ripley’s (believe it or not). It is a monstrous building poorly camouflaged into the concrete of the waterfront’s ‘entertainment’ area.
Worth a visit, I’d say, despite the steep price, but only if you can divine a time when it is not overcrowded with school groups and families (we didn’t have such luck). While the displays are attractive, shimmery eye candy, on second look you notice that the kelp swaying in the simulated waves is plastic and jellyfish artificially lit to change colours. The whole thing feels rather like an amusement park, loud and dizzying.
You might be deflated, but nature does takes the reins occasionally and you can’t help but gasp as a large sand tiger shark glides inches above your head in the tunnel-like lagoon or a delicate, lacy sea dragon shimmies next to you.
I can imagine that on a quiet day, the aquarium could be a sanctuary, and that you might overlook the flaws as you float by on the moving sidewalk past the kaleidoscope of fish dancing just for you. The pictures tell that story, of what the experience could have been…