Alcan - Aquarium - Expo Montreal 1967

Alcan - Aquarium at the Exhibition Expo Montreal 1967
© expo67
Architect(s) : George F. Eber

The Montreal Aquarium consists of two buildings: the Alcan Pavilion, which is the aquarium itself, and the Alcan Marine Circus.

The architecture, with its composition of interlocking cylindrical forms, evokes the circular movement of the wave when pebbles are thrown into the water. An interesting feature of the roof of the Alcan Marine Circus is that it consists of two series of spirals turning in opposite directions and rising towards the centre, like a breaking wave.

This ensemble is a joint achievement of Aluminium Company of Canada Limited and the City of Montreal. Opened to visitors on April 28, 1967, at the same time as Expo, the Aquarium is a permanent construction. Since the closing of Expo, it has been operated by the City of Montreal.

Entering the first building, the Alcan Pavilion, visitors enter a circular area with a penguin tank and 26 freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. Upstairs, a coral reef displays tropical fish in their natural habitat. From there, visitors descend to the exit, surrounded by lush tropical vegetation.

The large tanks, with their 1.75 inch thick glass windows, are lit from behind to give visitors the best possible view of the fish. The water is continuously circulated, heated or cooled as required and chemically treated to suppress algae and disease. The Alcan Pavilion, with its saltwater systems, features fish from all over the world, from the smallest - one-tenth of an ounce - to those weighing over three hundred and fifty pounds.

The Alcan Marine Circus, the more impressive of the two buildings, houses a vast elliptical tank 75 feet long and 39 feet wide under its dome. From their seats arranged in tiers, 900 spectators can watch twelve dolphins evolve in turn and be amused by their clever games. They can even follow their evolutions underwater since four of the seventeen feet of the pool, with its thick glass walls, are above ground level.

The basement of the building houses the mechanical installations and a hospital for the dolphins. Special equipment makes it possible for scientists to study dolphins and fish.

© Expo67 - General Report