We’re incredibly honoured to be part of the Children’s Healing Experience Project at the new Teck Acute Care Centre at the BC Children’s Hospital, set to open on Sunday, Oct. 29.

The Vancouver Aquarium, an Ocean Wise initiative, is one of six iconic British Columbia institutions that participated in the project. The others are the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Museum of Anthropology, Royal BC Museum, Science World, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

We’re passionate about connecting people to our oceans, so it was a no brainer for the Aquarium to say “yes!’ when the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation approached us to participate in the Children’s Healing Experience Project – a project with a vision to heal not just children’s bodies, but also their mind and spirit.

So with the goal of healing in mind, we set out to engage the patients with some of BC’s wild coastal scenes and introduce them to the diversity of marine animals in our emerald seas. We hoped to distract them and their families with some fun and compelling bits of information as they travel through the corridors of this new, technologically advanced hospital.

We provided stories for 16 of the Emergency and Medical Imaging hallways in the Teck Acute Care Centre’s main floor. Photo courtesy of RAEF.ca, supplied by BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Armed with the theme of coastal BC and a set of wayfinding icons that the hospital clinicians had chosen for the different corridors, we got to work.

Here are some of the distractions patients and their families will encounter as they walk through the Emergency and Medical Imaging departments in the Teck Acute Care Centre’s main floor:

Photo courtesy of NOAA & Ocean Wise

The above Emergency Department mural shows a pod of travelling killer whales taken by a drone in 2015 at Johnstone Strait. A closer look at the photo will reveal something more – moms with calves. We chose photos that further reward patients and families who choose to dig deeper.

Photo by Kevin Schafer, SeaPics.com

We layered our story telling, targeting some stories to younger patients that can read, and took advantage of little gifts like the photo above of a leatherback pooping. We hope that the patients will have loads of fun with this one!

To have the opportunity to inspire BC residents to protect the diversity of our coast – our home – beyond the Aquarium’s footprint in Stanley Park is important to us. To have the opportunity to transport children from the hospital to our province’s emerald seas was undeniable.

We hope that we meet our collective goals of distracting the patients with content that sparks and engages their curiosity to learn more, while they work on healing their bodies. We also hope that they get distracted enough so that they journey from learning to caring to becoming an ocean champion and protector of our precious coast.

But, most importantly, we brought a bit of the Aquarium to this project because we believe in and support the critical work that the BC Children’s Hospital does for our province and our community.

Written by Catherine Po, content developer at Ocean Wise.

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