Future of Canada's oldest aquarium 'under threat' due to coronavirus shutdown
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Future of Canada's oldest aquarium 'under threat' due to coronavirus shutdown

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Vancouver Aquarium is in danger of having to close its doors permanently, due to a collapse in revenues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The attraction – the oldest public aquarium in Canada – was forced to close its doors on 17 March.

Now, a month later, it has made a desperate plea for financial help from the government and the public.

"Without ticket revenue, our need for support has never been greater," the aquarium said in a statement.

"Our animal care teams are still at work ensuring our animals continue to receive the highest level of care. But this costs money.

"We urgently need donations to ensure the future of the aquarium."

Speaking to local media, the aquarium's president and CEO, Lasse Gustavsson, said: "From a financial point of view, the closure is a disaster.

"85 per cent of our revenue comes from aquarium operations."

He added that the aquarium has already laid off around 340 members of staff to cut costs, but its monthly operating expense is still in excess of CA$1m (US$0.7m, €0.66m, £0.57m).

Located in the city's Stanley Park, the Vancouver Aquarium is operated by Ocean Wise and first opened in 1956 - becoming the country's first public aquarium.

As well as a major tourist attraction, the aquarium has established itself as a centre for marine research, ocean literacy education, conservation and marine animal rehabilitation.

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Vancouver Aquarium is in danger of having to close its doors permanently, due to a collapse in revenues brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
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