ripleys aquarium toronto

Ripley's Aquarium is closing in Toronto over the coronavirus pandemic

One of the last major tourist attractions in Toronto to remain open after public health officials officially recommended banning public gatherings has finally announced that it, too, will be suspending operations until the fast-spreading coronavirus outbreak is controlled.

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, one of the largest (and at times most densely-packed) exhibition spaces in the city, announced on Monday that it would be temporarily closing as of March 16th at 6 p.m.

"In light of the evolving situation unfolding around COVID-19 and following advice from government health officials advising Canadians to practice social distancing to flatten the curve, we have made the decision to temporarily close Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada," reads a statement emailed by the company issued just after noon on Monday.

"As the community copes with the fast-moving spread of COVID-19, effective Monday, March 16th at 6pm, Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada will temporarily close to the public to ensure the safety and well-being of our team members, guests and animals," the statement continues.

"During this closure, we will continue to provide round the clock care to our animals and facility upkeep."

The aquarium says that it is  "committed to providing the utmost flexibility for our guests who have purchased tickets," and are thus encouraging customers with questions regarding extensions or refunds to contact the, at TGServices@ripleysaquariumofcanada.com.

Previous to the closure announcement, Ripley's had been coming under fire online for not closing earlier. 

A petition demanding that the aquarium reconsider its stance on staying open had earlier accused the company of trying to profit from a health crisis despite the fact that other major attractions, such as the neighbouring CN Tower, were shutting down to encourage social distancing.

"Can we please talk about how Ripley's Aquarium is the only attraction open in Toronto right now?" wrote one critic on Twitter Sunday. "They're privately owned by a billion dollar company who frankly, doesn’t give a fuck about public health."

Some online may try to take credit for pressuring Ripley's into closing, but the aquarium said on Monday that its decision was motivated by the advice of government health officials.

"We thank you for your understanding," reads the company's temporary closure announcement. "We look forward to reopening the Aquarium doors to the community and welcoming everyone back."

Lead photo by

Frank Lemire


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