Posted by: Celine Cousteau | July 21, 2009

Shaw Ocean Discovery Center

On June 20 I helped inaugurate the wonderful Shaw Ocean Discovery Center in Sidney, BC.

The Center is a tremendous example of an integral approach to an educational opportunity, including hands on experiences with the touch pools, close-up glimpses under microscopes, interactive ‘games’ throughout the facility, biologists on hand to answer all questions and really make the place alive, not to mention scientific information and of course all the beautiful life inside the aquariums. Local First Nations were an important part of the creation process and honored the inauguration with an opening ceremony, following up with a water blessing of the center.

Photos by Bruce Obee

Photos by Bruce Obee

After the inauguration ceremony, I had the tremendous opportunity to go out on a boat with First Nation Elders to learn of their islands, myths, and traditions.

20090620SODC-Cousteau boat ©Bruce Obee (5) 72dpi

When Angus Mathhews, Executive Director, invited me as guest speaker for this event, I did not know how I was going to make it as I had been back and forth across the Atlantic for work quite a bit and was already in between events. When I read about the Center and their approach to sharing the Salish Sea with the public and especially the integration of the knowledge and experience of the people who have lived in the area for generations, I knew I was going to make it there. I am so glad I took the opportunity to be there and I highly recommend a visit when you’re in the area.

20090620SODC-Cousteau boat ©Bruce Obee 72dpi

Local artist Charles Elliott gifted me with a hand carved and painted paddle that will soon be hanging on my wall, local dive club Sunday Divers gave me a red cap (wink to JYC) and T-shirt from their club, and a sweet woman gave me a small sash with motifs of local paintings.

Check out the video by BC Field Reporter Chris Wheeler:



  1. Great place to visit when you are in the area. It is an educational aquarium where you really get to experience the life in our local ocean. The entrance is one of a kind that makes it feel as though you are decending beneath the sea. Very Cool!

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