Traveling the road for hundreds of miles to bring the wonders of the ocean to communities across Canada is nothing new for the Vancouver Aquarium AquaVan, presented by BC Hydro. But for the first time in its history, AquaVan – Vancouver Aquarium’s mobile aquatic classroom – is embarking on a journey this summer to a whole new region: the Northwest Territories!

Today, AquaVan makes its first stop on a five-week tour spanning over 5,000 km, bringing the wonders of the ocean to communities in the Northwest Territories and Northern B.C. Its first stop today will be in Hay River, NT at Hay Days, a local music, arts, and culture festival. AquaVan’s visits in the Northwest Territories will also include Fort Smith, Yellowknife, Fort Simpson, Fort Liard, and Fort Providence. Then after that, the AquaVan will be visiting towns in northern B.C. – specifically Fort Nelson, Fort St. John, Taylor, and Dawson Creek.

“Why is AquaVan visiting the ‘gateway’ to Canada’s North?” you might ask. The ocean is not always accessible to everyone. AquaVan has a unique opportunity to bring the ocean to communities all across Canada in order to demonstrate how we are all connected to the oceans, and why it’s important we work to conserve them. AquaVan is one of a number of Vancouver Aquarium initiatives working in collaboration with Canada’s northern communities.

From July 7 through August 6, members of the communities AquaVan visits in the Northwest Territories and northern B.C. will have the opportunity to discover connections between marine environments, animals and themselves through interaction with a variety of live invertebrate animals – including sea urchins, sea anemones, crabs, sea snails and sea stars.

Although many of AquaVan’s programs typically occur in schools during the academic year, during this tour AquaVan will be featured at community events open to the public (see schedule below). As with the school programs, the community programs will be naturally diverse, and will involve a wide range of activities from touching live ocean creatures, to learning about classification of marine invertebrates.

AquaVan’s engaging activities and teaching tools from the ocean are indeed fun , but one of the end goals for the program is to inspire change and connect people to their role in helping to conserve aquatic life.

Without the support of its generous partners, AquaVan’s journey to the Northwest Territories and Northern B.C. would not have been able to occur. This tour is made possible by the Imperial Oil Foundation, and is supported by Quicksilver Resources and Environment and Natural Resources – Northwest Territories. Additionally, Yellowknife Elks Lodge, lead partner for AquaVan’s visit to Yellowknife, NT, made it possible for the program’s participation at four events in the Yellowknife area.

If you live in one of the communities where AquaVan will be visiting during this trip, see below for the tour schedule. And if you’re interested in having AquaVan visit your community, just click here to find out more!

Date Event/Venue Community
July 7 Hay Days Hay River, NT
July 9 Hay River Recreation Hay River, NT
July 11 Fort Smith Community Hall Fort Smith, NT
July 14 Northern Skies Air Show Yellowknife, NT
July 16 Elks Open House Yellowknife, NT
July 21 Fort Providence Community Hall Fort Providence, NT
July 24 Fort Simpson Community Hall Fort Simpson, NT
July 26 Fort Liard Community Hall Fort Liard, NT
July 29 Fort Nelson First Nation Fort Nelson, B.C.
July 30 Art Fraser Park Fort Nelson, B.C.
August 4 Totem Mall Fort St. John, B.C.
August 5 World’s Invitational Class “A” Gold Panning   Championships Taylor, B.C.
August 6 City of Dawson Creek Dawson Creek, B.C.

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