Explore the magic behind your aquatic experience in the Life Support Systems (LSS) gallery. 

By bringing a significant amount of pumping and filtration equipment out into the public areas, the Aquarium offers visitors a unique opportunity to see how its complex environment is maintained.

The Aquarium has over 5 million litres of Toronto municipal water and runs it through carbon filters to remove any impurities. After this process is complete, the water is either circulated through the building for the Aquarium’s freshwater systems or moved to a holding basin where salt and minerals are mixed in to create our salt water. Once mixed, the water must pass through water chemistry testing before it can be moved to any exhibits.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada sits on the shores of Lake Ontario, one of the largest lakes in the world. We understand the significance of preserving our water which is why we recycle 95% of the water used throughout the building. It is treated for reuse and returned within the exhibits. The 5% loss is due to evaporation and human use in the washrooms and kitchens!

“Over Our Heads”

Look up!  This sculpture contains over 12,000 used plastic bottles from the GTA. The same number of bottles are thrown away every 4 minutes in Ontario. Over 1 billion plastic bottles are not recycled in Ontario and end up in landfills or the environment every year.

Rebecca Jane Houston is an artist who works with found and reclaimed materials to create interactive installations that urge and encounter between the audience and the matter of the sculpture itself. Rebecca is fascinated by the transformation matter undergoes in the moment it goes from being useful to humans and under our control, to being waste; when the balance of power seems to shift and matter exerts agency over us. She encourages us to see our use of matter and the environment in political terms, and to look to change the biggest global, corporate and economic forces that lead to pollution, not just to the small actions of individuals who are pushed by these great tides.


• We have 10 pumps that deliver water to all of our larger exhibits. In total, they pump over 68,000 litres of water per minute. This is approximately 98 million litres of water every day!

• Our foam fractionators use ozone gas to kill all of the microscopic bacteria. The clean water is then recycled out the bottom of the fractionator!

• We have about 5.2 million litres of water onsite – that’s about 25,000 bathtubs!

• Learn more with our blog post Water Quality at the Aquarium.”

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is designated as a Certified Autism Center by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

Download and Print Sensory Guides Here

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