Ucluelet Aquarium

Ucluelet Aquarium Society

Sources of Funding
ICET:$515,000
District of Ucluelet:$100,000
Ucluelet Aquarium Society:$268,164
WestCCAP:$250,000
Western Economic Diversification:$374,500
Inkind Contributions:$321,678
Total Budget: $1,829,342
Quick Facts: 

Less than one year after opening, the Aquarium generated more than 22,000 paid visits. 

The west coast of Vancouver Island has long been a favorite international travel destination.  In recent years, travelers to the area’s famous beaches and resorts have been choosing to explore wider afield into the region’s communities. Ucluelet has benefitted from this trend and developed its own suite of tourism amenities such as the Wild Pacific Trail. However, one of the drawbacks to keeping tourists in the region for longer periods of time is the lack of  indoor tourism and recreation opportunities.  The highly successful ‘mini-aquarium’ in Ucluelet, which filled this niche for many years, had exceeded its modest capacity. Building on the success of its predecessor, the new Ucluelet aquarium proposes a state-of-the-art, hands-on learning environment, well suited for all ages.

The Ucluelet Aquarium, designed to resemble a whale tail, features more than 3000 sq. ft. of aquarium displays and amenities including: touch tanks for hands-on experiences; display areas for static and interactive exhibits; demonstration and teaching stations; a multipurpose lecture and seminar room as well as a marine observation area.  All specimens are gathered from local waters and later released in public participation events.  An innovative system integrates the Ucluelet Aquarium with the local marine ecosystem as fresh water from the harbour flows through the tanks providing the specimens with all of the fresh nutrients found in the wild.

The development of a larger, permanent facility, completed in 2012, has resulted in quality local employment opportunities for naturalists, biologists, guides, as well as service and maintenance staff. The development of a family oriented, indoor experience, is resulting in longer stays in the region and attracting a more diverse visitor base.  The increase in visitors supports tourism-related services within the region, benefitting an area impacted by the loss of forestry and fisheries jobs. Less than one year after opening, the Aquarium has generated more than 22,000 paid visits and resulted in the retirement of all of the construction debt.

2,500
person years employment created (construction phase)
50
locally elected officials and MLAs working together
$10.4
million annual provincial government revenue generated
2,600
post completion jobs created
$4.6
dollars leveraged for every ICET dollar invested
$230
million leveraged into the region
$49.1
million disbursed
$50.9
million committed
185
economic development projects
150
projects completed
36%
projects in small (less than 5,000) communities
50+
communities with ICET projects

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