The Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre Opens - GTEC Blog

Thank you for making our Opening Celebrations Day a success!

We are grateful to everyone who participated in celebrating the Sunshine Coast’s first aquarium and honouring the legacy of Nicholas Sonntag, one of our Society’s founders and our first president. Big thanks to the Squamish Nation for blessing all aspects of the aquarium–from the pumps and life support systems to the exhibits.

We are transitioning from developing a facility to becoming a unique place of learning. We invite you to participate with us in achieving our goals for meaningful community engagement:

  • To make it easy and fun for residents and visitors of all ages to satisfy their curiosity and discover the rich marine life of Howe Sound and Sechelt Inlet, and
  • To inspire individuals to make better everyday choices and take positive actions that will keep our local waters and the wonderful life within healthy for the enjoyment of generations to come.

The Centre is a registered charity operated by the Gibsons Community Building Society. We rely on the on-going generosity of our donors and supporters so that together we can:

  • collect, care and safely release the species showcased our 30 exhibits
  • develop and deliver inspiring programming for learners of all ages both inside the Centre and in nature, including impactful activities that connect classroom teachings to our community’s vital marine environments
  • lead community-based conservation initiatives to improve the health of our oceans

On your next visit at the public market, look for the “Waves of Generosity” created as a tribute to our supporters. The groundswell of encouragement received on April 7th resulted in many new rockfish charms, including a $4000 donation from the Rotary Club of Gibsons.

You are invited to help keep the Centre an exciting learning destination for our community. Donations can be made through Canada Helps or directly with us if you prefer to make a multi-year pledge.

Other ways to engage:

Make a Donation – Each donation of $500 will put your name or the name of someone special to you on a rockfish charm. Online donations can be made here or cheques can be dropped off at the public market (tax receipts will be provided at year end). The rockfish charms can be renewed annually and you can get as many as you want, whenever you want.

Become a Sponsor – We welcome sponsors to support our educational programs and exhibits and we look forward to celebrating each with customized recognition and benefits.

Contribute to our Endowment – In partnership with the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation we established an endowment for the Centre to be held by the Foundation in perpetuity with annual earnings directed to Centre programs. This is an excellent option for individuals interested in supporting our work into the future, potentially as part of an estate plan.

Invest in an Annual Pass – Purchase a singles or family annual pass for yourself or as a gift. Pass holders can enjoy unlimited visits.

(All photos by Arlene Littler)


With Deep Blue Gratitude

We are grateful to the generous supporters of the aquarium:

  • Our strategic partners: Town of Gibsons, Community Futures and Sunshine Coast Community Foundation
  • Our amazing 350+ volunteers and hundreds of donors
  • Our major contributors who supported our capital campaign:
  • Island Coast Economic Trust, TELUS, Government of Canada, Province of BC, Washington Foundation (Seaspan), Craftsman Collision, the Humphries Family and the family and friends of Nicholas Sonntag.

April is “plastic free” month and Earth Day is April 22nd.
Special thanks to Sandy Buck of Deer Crossing the Art Farm for encouraging our guests to make a pledge to cut out “use it and toss it” single-use plastic products that too often end up in our oceans.
Make your pledge on your next visit at the Centre!