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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looks like it will be at or near the Ex, not near the Science Centre as I had hoped. Also, it will be small by international standards.

Apr. 19, 2005. 01:00 AM

City floats three aquarium plans
Proposals from U.S., Australia

Tourist site to be on Ex grounds

PETER GORRIE
STAFF REPORTER

Toronto will consider three of four proposals it received to build a "world class" aquarium at Exhibition Place.

Plans call for the aquarium, predicted to cost $55 million to $97 million, to be built near the lakeshore at the western end.

The three proponents, selected mainly on the basis of their experience, will be asked to submit detailed plans by this fall, Exhibition Place CEO Dianne Young said yesterday.

They include:

Ripley Entertainment, of Orlando, Fla., which runs aquariums across the U.S. and is building a $200 million aquarium-hotel complex in Niagara Falls. Ripley is owned by the wealthy Pattison family of Vancouver.

A three-member group headed by Transwestern Commercial Services, a giant U.S. property development and management company. One of its partners is Chermayeff, Sollogub and Poole Inc., of Boston, whose big projects include the National Aquarium in Baltimore and a freshwater facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. It was involved in previous attempts to build a Toronto aquarium. The other is the Toronto-based Zeidler Partnership, which developed the Eaton Centre, the Hospital for Sick Children atrium and the World Trade Centre condos at Queens Quay and Yonge St.

Oceanis Holdings Inc., of Melbourne, Australia, which operates aquariums in Melbourne and Brisbane.

"These are very, very real consortiums who are very, very serious," said Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone, who chairs the Exhibition Place board. "I'm personally ecstatic that we've got people who know what they're doing, have money and are willing to invest in the Toronto area."

To cut costs, the site has been shifted from a lakeside lot south of Lake Shore Blvd. to a parcel north of it, Pantalone says. "If it's more costly, we'd get not as good an aquarium or they'd need financial help."

The city says its only contribution will be a 99-year lease on the site at "favourable terms."

Exhibition Place and the city say Toronto could support an aquarium of up to 125,000 square feet, fairly small by international standards. It could attract up to 1.4 million visitors a year and create 160 to 275 jobs.
 

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I like aquariums, but this one could be a big let down if not done right.

RBT, if you like fish, you should go to the aquarium in Baltimore. It is huge and some of its tanks are huge.
 

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I'm not really into these fish zoos. They seem so commonplace now.

I would much prefer having a major casino in Toronto.
 

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416 said:
I'm not really into these fish zoos. They seem so commonplace now.

I would much prefer having a major casino in Toronto.

But casinos are commonplace around Ontario. I don't get your reasoning.
 

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RBT, if you like fish, you should go to the aquarium in Baltimore. It is huge and some of its tanks are huge.

That, and regularly go on diving trips -- but that's about the same as travelling to see art. Visiting european gallery X once every couple of years is a far cry from a membership at the AGO which you can visit (and relax at) frequently.
 

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^True.

Have you done much diving in the eastern Mediterranian near Crete?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
SD said:
Why is the city so obsessed with an Aquarium?
It's one of those things a lot of tourists like to see. The aquarium in Vancouver is seen as one of their premiere destinations. Toronto is one of the few second tier cities in North America that lack an aquarium and a planetarium. If Toronto didn't have a museum, or an art gallery, you can bet the city would be pushing for one of those too. An aquarium is not everybody's cup of tea, but after visiting the one in Vancouver, I can safely say that if done right, it could become a very valuable attraction for the tourism industry.
 

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Have you done much diving in the eastern Mediterranian near Crete?

Afraid not. Until recently I've not had the money to do very much at all and now I'm short on blocks of time.

In a couple of years I plan on travelling quite a bit more, until then I've got career considerations to attend to.
 

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DRTO said:
It's one of those things a lot of tourists like to see. The aquarium in Vancouver is seen as one of their premiere destinations. Toronto is one of the few second tier cities in North America that lack an aquarium and a planetarium. If Toronto didn't have a museum, or an art gallery, you can bet the city would be pushing for one of those too. An aquarium is not everybody's cup of tea, but after visiting the one in Vancouver, I can safely say that if done right, it could become a very valuable attraction for the tourism industry.
I still don't get it. We're building a half-assed aquarium in a town that has very little connection to sea-life and planetariums are pretty passe if you ask me. Why do we need them here, of all places? Who goes to the aquarium in Montreal? It's the last place I'd go to when I'm there.

If I was into fish (like Troy McClure), I'd invest in my own aquarium.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Buster said:
I still don't get it. We're building a half-assed aquarium in a town that has very little connection to sea-life and planetariums are pretty passe if you ask me. Why do we need them here, of all places? Who goes to the aquarium in Montreal? It's the last place I'd go to when I'm there.

If I was into fish (like Troy McClure), I'd invest in my own aquarium.
It might be the last place you'd go, but there are plenty of people who like going to aquariums, just as there are people who like going to the zoo. This past summer, I met some Americans on their way to the zoo. They asked if Toronto had an aquarium, and were disappointed when I told them we didn't. Not being near the ocean is irrelevant. The Toronto zoo has animals from Australia, even though we are not exactly close to that continent. The key with an aquarium would be to have visually interesting fish, and good presentation. It should also have an educational aspect. The key with the planetarium would be to have something technologically and visually cutting edge, perhaps three dimensional. There are plenty of people who are interested in space, and the planetarium could also be used for laser shows, just like in the old days.
 

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SD said:
Why is the city so obsessed with an Aquarium?
Yeah, as much as I can appreciate a good angle fish or hungry barracuda from time to time, I can't figure out why the city is so intent on building an aquarium, especially when Niagara Falls has one, one much larger than what's being proposed here in TO. Maybe if it was to be built at the zoo, but on its own it’s a bit like building a standalone, multi-million dollar complex for birds or reptiles on prime downtown real estate. Why privilege sea life?

There are other potential tourist attractions the city could invest in that might be a bit more fitting for Toronto (how about a decent contemporary art museum – look at what the Tate Modern has done for London), rather than go half-assed on a blind myriad of attractions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
alex h1 said:
Yeah, as much as I can appreciate a good angle fish or hungry barracuda from time to time, I can't figure out why the city is so intent on building an aquarium, especially when Niagara Falls has one, one much larger than what's being proposed here in TO. Maybe if it was to be built at the zoo, but on its own it’s a bit like building a standalone, multi-million dollar complex for birds or reptiles on prime downtown real estate. Why privilege sea life?

There are other potential tourist attractions the city could invest in that might be a bit more fitting for Toronto (how about a decent contemporary art museum – look at what the Tate Modern has done for London), rather than go half-assed on a blind myriad of attractions.
Are you talking about a museum with a permanent collection? If so, where would the collection come from? We already have the Power Plant for international contemporary art, and MOCCA for contemporary Canadian art. I hope the MOCCA expands into the parking lot.
 

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Toronto has a planetarium...and it was quite popular and economically self sufficient...but the Harris government gave the ROM a big funding cut and told them make it obvious...so they did the only thing they could to save the rest of ROM...close the planetarium. Toronto actually needs one more than ever, as the student/institutional need for one has increased, and the public interest is always there.

As for an aquarium??? eh...if it's going to be a stand-alone, world-beater version...then go ahead and build it on the waterfront...EX or whereever. But if it's just your average one, then I'd say prop up one of the other major attractions with it...probably the Zoo.

If they decide to do it right, and not just build a mediocre one just for the sake of it, but rather spend some money and build a damned great one, then I think a great spot would be part of the Spit....make it another one of the many little peninsulas they have off that thing. The Spit needs this kind of atraction, as it's highly under-rated as a major natural urban wildlife refuge...it's actually quite unique. An aquarium would fit in perfectly in the larger scheme of things there, and would give it more of an image. Not to mention start giving the Portlands area some basic recreational/institutional attractions to get interest flowing....there's already great boating, cycling and beach there...as well as the new terminal for the new lake ferry.






KGB
 
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alex h1 said:
Yeah, as much as I can appreciate a good angle fish or hungry barracuda from time to time, I can't figure out why the city is so intent on building an aquarium, especially when Niagara Falls has one, one much larger than what's being proposed here in TO. Maybe if it was to be built at the zoo, but on its own it’s a bit like building a standalone, multi-million dollar complex for birds or reptiles on prime downtown real estate. Why privilege sea life?

There are other potential tourist attractions the city could invest in that might be a bit more fitting for Toronto (how about a decent contemporary art museum – look at what the Tate Modern has done for London), rather than go half-assed on a blind myriad of attractions.

I totally agree.
 
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DRTO said:
It's one of those things a lot of tourists like to see. The aquarium in Vancouver is seen as one of their premiere destinations. Toronto is one of the few second tier cities in North America that lack an aquarium and a planetarium. If Toronto didn't have a museum, or an art gallery, you can bet the city would be pushing for one of those too. An aquarium is not everybody's cup of tea, but after visiting the one in Vancouver, I can safely say that if done right, it could become a very valuable attraction for the tourism industry.

True, but I think there are a lot of things tourists like to see and we could certainly come up with something unique and more fitting to the city. I'd rather see them invest the money in the Planetarium...which is already built!
 

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KGB said:
If they decide to do it right, and not just build a mediocre one just for the sake of it, but rather spend some money and build a damned great one, then I think a great spot would be part of the Spit....make it another one of the many little peninsulas they have off that thing. The Spit needs this kind of atraction, as it's highly under-rated as a major natural urban wildlife refuge...it's actually quite unique. An aquarium would fit in perfectly in the larger scheme of things there, and would give it more of an image. Not to mention start giving the Portlands area some basic recreational/institutional attractions to get interest flowing....there's already great boating, cycling and beach there...as well as the new terminal for the new lake ferry.
The spit would be a really good location. Not only would the site provide some interesting design opportunities and a more aquatic and natural surrounding than the Ex, but it could also help spur development along the Portlands. Could be a nice counterweight to the Ex/Ontario Place complex. As it stands now though, I say give it home somewhere between penguin land and insect world at the zoo.
 

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DRTO said:
Are you talking about a museum with a permanent collection? If so, where would the collection come from? We already have the Power Plant for international contemporary art, and MOCCA for contemporary Canadian art. I hope the MOCCA expands into the parking lot.
Yank all post-war works from the AGO and there's your permanent collection. It's not Knox-Albright, but it's a start.

It might be the last place you'd go, but there are plenty of people who like going to aquariums, just as there are people who like going to the zoo. This past summer, I met some Americans on their way to the zoo. They asked if Toronto had an aquarium, and were disappointed when I told them we didn't.
Undoubtedly there is a contingent of tourists who upon arriving in a city quickly sift through their complimentary copy of Where in search of the local aquarium. Without an aquarium, we have certainly disappointed these marine-lovers and lost potential tourist dollars. Some, looking to spend their valuable vacation time in the company of angle fish, manta rays and schools of jellyfish will indeed pass over Toronto for say the marine splendour of Baltimore, which has duly accommodated their needs and, consequently, has raked in their clams. Thankfully, I don't our hotel vacancy rate has noticed.

Rather than trying to please everyone, and millions of dollars later discovering that we have pleased no one, I just think that Toronto should strengthen its reputation in areas that we currently or potentially excel in, areas which are more representative of our city and city life than the exotic wonders of the distant sea. Great cities aren't built on theme parks, and the gimmicks of rustbelt cities, where these kind of schemes run abound, are no substitute for actual cultural vitality and institutions reflecting that vitality. People don't visit London to see its recently built aquarium, but to experience the city, it’s history and culture, and although Toronto is no London, I don’t think it needs to resort to theme park distractions either. If TO was rolling in money and public works projects I might be more supportive of the plans, having a deep-seeded and perhaps unhealthy love of the sea myself, but as it stands now I just can’t get too excited about it.
 
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