ROM Blue Whale Heart Tracker

The World’s Biggest Heart is Coming!

After a 2 year journey from Rocky Harbour Newfoundland to Trenton Ontario to Brandenberg Germany, the great big heart of Canada’s blue whale will be installed in our Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story exhibition on May 18th. Follow its journey and the fascinating process it went through to arrive safely at the ROM, by checking out the Blue Heart Tracker.

Expected date of arrival: May 18th, 2017
See it in the exhibition

Tracking Details

Current Status: On display at the Royal Ontario Museum

Object: Blue whale heart
Weight: 180kg
Destination: Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, Canada




Rocky Harbour, Newfoudland, Canada

May 2014

Heart removed from whale

At the beginning of May 2014, a small team of ROM scientists traveled to Newfoundland and worked with the local communities to salvage the bodies of two blue whales that had washed ashore near the towns of Rocky Harbour and Trout River.

The Rocky Harbour whale’s heart, weighing 180kg and roughly the size of a small car, was pushed out of the carcass, raised onto a truck using a large digger and shipped to its next destination.

Trenton, Ontario, Canada

May 2014

Heart prepared for shipment to Germany

The heart arrived in Trenton at Reasearch Casting International at the end of May 2014, where it was defrosted over the next five days. The team worked quickely to preserve the organ and prepare it for its next destination, before it began to decompose..

The huge heart valves were plugged with anything large enough to fill them including buckets, bottles-even a toilet plunger. After the heart was sealed, hoses were connected to the valves and the heart was pumped with formaldehyde solution, which aids in halting the decomposition and stiffens the muscle.

The heart was then carefully wrapped and prepared to ship across the ocean to be prepped for display.

Guben, Brandenburg, Germany

Nov 2015

Heart arrived in Germany

In November 2015, the heart arrived at Gubener Plastinate in Germany. There the heart would undergo a lengthy process called plastination, which replaces water and fat with various enduring plastics to permanently preserve the organ for display.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 16, 2017

Heart arrived in Toronto

On Monday, May 15, the 180 kg heart arrived at Toronto Pearson International Airport packed in a huge wooden shipping crate. Like all packages travelling internationally, the heart first passed through Canada Customs before travelling the final leg of its journey to the ROM on Tuesday morning.

What's next? Unpacking and installing the heart. On view starting Thursday, March 18th.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

May 18, 2017

Unpacked and Installed

On Thursday, May 18, with help from Research Casting International and with many media on hand, the heart was officially uncrated and lifted onto it's platform within the Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story exhibition.

The Blue Whale heart is now officially on display to visitors. Don't miss your chance to see the first real blue whale heart on display. Ever.