Friday, August 12, 2011

Marine and Masks

While I was at the Chinatown Festival I happened upon a display from the Vancouver Aquarium. UBC fisheries and oceanography professors Murray Newman, Carl Lietze and Wilbert Clemens formed the Vancouver Public Aquarium Association in 1950. On June 15, 1956, thanks to help from timber baron H.R. MacMillan, alderman and businessman George Cunningham and $100,000 from each of the three levels of government (City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, Federal Government of Canada.) the aquarium opened in Stanley Park.

The Vancouver Aquarium was the first public aquarium in Canada and has not only become the largest in Canada but one of the five largest in North America. It was one of the first aquariums to capture and display an orca whale. And in 1995 the Vancouver Aquarium was home to the first baby beluga to be conceived and born in captivity. A year later, in an agreement with the Vancouver Parks Board, the Vancouver Aquarium agreed to never again capture cetaceans- dolphins, whales and porpoises - from the wild for display.  They also agreed to only obtain cetaceans from other facilities if they were born in captivity, captured before 1996 or were rescued and deemed un-releasable after this date.

The first aquarium to be accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) was the Vancouver Aquarium in 1975. It has also been accredited by the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and in 1987 was designated Canada's Pacific National Aquarium by the Canadian Federal Government.

The Vancouver Aquarium was one of the first of facilities to incorporate professional naturalists into the galleries to interpret animal behaviours. The aquarium is also a place for projects for marine research, conservation and marine animal rehabilitation.

Here's an interesting fact. The aquarium is run by a self-supporting non-profit organization. The operation of the aquarium receives no government funding. The property is owned by the City of Vancouver and rented to the Aquarium for $40,000 a year since 1991 (prior to which it was $1 per year). Or at least that was true when the Wikipedia article I am getting my information from was written.

That was a little glimpse into the world of the Vancouver Aquarium. Perhaps another day I will write more.

I did go to the Robson Square Artisan Market and got a few shots.

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I got there a bit early and things weren't totally set up. But, on the street level, I met a very interesting man.

Freddie Fencepost was more than willing to allow me to take photos of the masks he creates as well as entertain me with stories.
These masks all tell a story and have layers of meanings. Fables - derived from real life events - passed down through the generations are represented in each of these unique faces.

Any one of these would make an interesting addition to a home. And Freddie would be more than willing to tell you the story behind them.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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