November 14, 2005

Vancouver Aquarium honoured for annual shoreline cleanup initiative

The Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) recently selected the Vancouver Aquarium as the winner of its prestigious Baines Award for its far-reaching TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup initiative. CAZA presents the Baines Award annually to honour an outstanding project by a zoo or aquarium in Canada.

The Vancouver Aquarium began the aquatic debris removal program to contribute to the International Coastal Cleanup held every September around the world. From a modest start 11 years ago with two dozen people on a beach in downtown Vancouver, participation has grown to include almost 37,000 people throughout Canada this year.

Within a few years after the program's launch, the Aquarium expanded the cleanup initiative across Canada, supported by the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. This year, the event was renamed TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup to recognize the vision and support provided by TD Canada Trust and the Foundation. The TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup now boasts more than 800 cleanup sites across the country.

"We now have cleanup sites in Nunavut, on the Great Lakes, in central Canada and along the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, " said Aquarium president Dr John Nightingale. "Last year we removed 64,988 kilograms of garbage from those shorelines."

This year's cleanup, the second biggest national event of its kind in the world, just concluded in September and Vancouver Aquarium staff are now tallying the information collected from the 1,548 km of shoreline cleaned from coast to coast.

In 2004, Canadians cleaned up more than 630 local rivers, lakes and wetlands, and just over 1,100 km of shorelines during a one-week period in September. Over the years, some of the oddest items removed from shorelines have included a couch, a golf cart, a potato gun, a wedding veil and invitation, a snow ski, a set of false teeth and Celine Dion albums.

More information on the TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup is available on-line at www.vanaqua.org/cleanup.

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