Why doesn’t Halifax have an aquarium?

With Halifax’s seaside location and the critical role the ocean plays in our culture and economy, it’s surprising Halifax doesn’t have an aquarium.
While aquariums may be viewed as a tourist attraction, they can be much more. “The most successful aquariums are those that understand how to integrate education, research and environmental components into an attraction,” says Darlene Grant Fiander, the president of the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia, in an email.
With institutions such as the Bedford Institute of Oceanography and Dalhousie University, there would be an exceptional local knowledge base upon which to draw from. (According to Nova Scotia Business Inc., Nova Scotia has the world’s highest concentration of PhDs in ocean-related disciplines.)
Fiander thinks an aquarium could be a big draw. “We… have a unique biodiversity here, a strong fishing, naval and coast guard heritage, and having an authentic aquarium experience that showcases all this could substantively increase visitation,” she says.
For its part, the provincial government says it is happy to discuss any project that will bring more visitors to Nova Scotia. That being said, the province currently does support “a popular aquarium as part of the Nova Scotia Museum,” says Patrick Sullivan, CEO of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency, in a statement. The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenburg features a two-metre, 22,700-litre tank. The museum attracted over 80,000 visitors last year. Boston’s New England Aquarium has a 757,000-litre tank and attracted almost 1.4 million visitors last year.

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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