The Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre opened in Summer 2017. The Centre is located in the heart of the Gibsons Public Market, adjacent to Howe Sound, a network of fjords situated northwest of Vancouver, BC.
The Centre is modelled after similar and successful facilities: the Ucluelet Aquarium Society, the Discovery Passage SeaLife Society in Campbell River and the St. John’s Aquarium Incorporated in Petty Harbour Newfoundland.
On March 17th 2017 the Gibsons Marine Education Centre (Society) was formed to advance education by establishing and operating a public marine education centre on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia and to protect the environment for the benefit of the public by undertaking projects that sustain the marine ecosystem of Howe Sound, British Columbia and beyond.
The Society has secured a facility at the Gibsons Public Market in Gibsons BC. Gibsons Community Building Society (“GCBS”), a not-for-profit organization, developed and operates the Gibsons Public Market and was initially the driving force behind this initiative to create the Centre.
The Society’s volunteer Board of Directors, the Centre’s volunteer committee and expert partners have collective experiences in aquarium start-up, public education, non-profit management, marine research, specimen collections, volunteer management, fundraising, and integrated coastal zone management. They share a passion for marine education and see the untapped potential of an organization like this and the immeasurable impact it could have on our residents, visitors and blue planet.
After a short stay at the Centre, animals will be released back to their environment. This forward-thinking “collect-and-release” policy is unique to only three other aquarium societies in Canada, making the Centre a leader in the field of ocean conservation practices and animal care standards. "Release days" will be memorable events organized with community groups and volunteers.
We are confident that the Centre will positively impact those who enter, the organizations we partner with, the community as a whole and the oceans.
Our focus is to ensure that our projects improve the conditions that support sustainability of our local ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations relying on our local waters for their food supply, livelihood, recreation and enjoyment.