The sixth annual iconic Night at the Aquarium gala fundraiser held last night, June 21, raised an incredible $316,433 for the Vancouver Aquarium. As a self-sustaining, non-profit organization, one hundred per cent of the event’s proceeds go towards the Aquarium’s conservation, research, and education programs.

The dazzle of champagne, caviar and Ocean Wise tasting plates entertained last night’s 500 guests as they celebrated a sparkling evening at Night at the Aquarium. Guests played a key role in contributing to the Aquarium’s efforts to connect people to our natural world. Supporting the Aquarium’s direct action programs such as Ocean Wise, Marine Mammal Rescue Centre or AquaVan, presented by BC Hydro (which brought the Aquarium on wheels to over 40 communities in 2011), helps to protect the world’s oceans and surrounding habitats.

The signature gala event treated guests to Ocean Wise culinary delights created by 20 of Vancouver’s top chefs including chef Frank Pabst from Blue Water Café who prepared a delicious halibut ceviche with corn, yam, red onion, cilantro, aji amarillo and leche de tigre. Chef Andrew Winfield from River Café in Calgary tantalized guests with a giant Pacific octopus carpaccio and cured bison chorizo chive blossom, solefood French breakfast radish, venturi schulze verjus and nasturtium vinaigrette. Curious Oyster Catering served delicious East coast oysters on a half shell. An assortment of wines from around the world, all from sustainable and organic wineries, accompanied these masterful delicacies.

Amongst familiar faces and celebrities, were other notable guests: over 50,000 wonderful sea creatures who live at the Aquarium, and the newly arrived African penguins who showed up in none other than their own version of black-tie.

An animated atmosphere of celebration was present all night, particularly with the live and silent auctions. Guests showed their competitive spirits – and generous inclinations – in bidding for dream items such as the exclusive vacation package from Sonora Resort, aptly named the Journey of the Salmon: From the stream to the plate.

It was a great night–truly a celebration of the Aquarium and our efforts to conserve aquatic life. We are thankful for the generosity shown by our guests and our community partners. The support of the community makes it possible for us to further our research work, create new education programs, develop captivating new galleries, and engage more people in our mission.

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