Canada’s Oceans and YOU: The Event (Part II)

Posted: April 18, 2012 - 11:30 , by Dave Ireland

Five months of planning, three partners, one event.

Expectations were high for the WWF-Canada and ROM exhibit, presented by Loblaw Companies Limited, at the 2012 Green Living Show at the Direct Energy Centre, Toronto, April 13-15. “Canada’s Oceans and You” did not disappoint.

Title wall at Green Living Show.

The Green Living Show is North America’s largest sustainable living consumer show with over 30,000 visitors over a three day period. The Show has over 400 exhibitors and includes main stage attractions, programs, and a full array of pop-up food stalls. The Oceans and You Exhibit could be seen from everywhere, with its three dimensional design, lighting and awesomeness.

A view of the final exhibition.

The Oceans and You exhibit was placed on a 800 square foot plot, but the canopy and hanging specimens made the space feel larger.

The message of the exhibit was simple: ocean biodiversity sustains us, and Canada has a lot of ocean and ocean life to steward. The seafood industry and fishing have a huge impact on our seas, and how we learn from our past and present fishing practices will have a significant influence on our future.

A view of one of the exhibition walls with posters and models.

Total text in the exhibit was less than 5000 words; down from an original submission of more than 15000! Kudos to ROM interpretive planners.

We told two stories from each of our three oceans: the Atlantic Grand Banks, the Pacific Great Bear Rainforest and Sea, and the Arctic Last Ice Area. WWF and ROM expertise were combined to bring these stories to life, with natural history information and conservation messages intertwined.

Visitors were blown away with the scope and beauty of our exhibit. It’s safe to say that most people coming to the Green Living Show strolled through our exhibit, at least once. Interacting with WWF and ROM staff was a highlight for visitors, as is evidenced from our conversations and feedback. Visitors lingered, read the information, and often returned to the exhibit a second or third time.

Looking up into the canopy where models of fishes and birds hang above the exhibition.

WWF staff member identifies one of the twelve species hanging from the canopy, our “ocean in the rafters”.

Stories about the biodiversity of Canada’s oceans and the threats to our seas culminated in a powerful message of hope: we must learn from our mistakes in the Atlantic, and support the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) global certification program for fisheries everywhere.

The ROM exhibit is crowded with Green Living Show visitors.

WWF and ROM staff used one of five outreach stations to provide tactile experiences and one-on-one stories to engage audiences.

A visitor inside the exhibition.

The exhibit was for all ages, something for everyone.

Support from Loblaw was crucial to the project – we couldn’t have done it without them. And the shared messaging around sustainable fishing and the MSC program brought clearly to light the importance of partnerships between conservation organisations and the private sector toward a unified goal.

A view of the entry to the ROM exhibition.

The iconic Narwhal, the ‘Unicorn of the Sea’ points toward information on the MSC program, and our partners from Loblaw Companies Limited.

A look at the display table.

The LCL booth was nicely linked, physically and thematically to the Oceans and You exhibit – and some tasty, and sustainable, seafood was on the menu!

Thanks to everyone who came by our booth – it was our pleasure talking with you and sharing our passion for ocean life, our life. We hope that something from the exhibit sticks with you for the future, whether it’s that Canada has sharks, or that whales learn songs on our coasts, or that the infamous Atlantic Cod may one day return to the economy of Newfoundland – whatever story you remember most, hold it close, and share it with others. And if you missed the Show, check out the virtual tour.

Or better, come down to the ROM and visit the Life in Crisis: Schad Gallery of Biodiversity where all this and much more awaits you.

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