Have you been to the new Ripley's Aquarium of Canada, next to the CN Tower in Toronto?

It's a wonderful experience for people all ages, and all levels of knowledge about lakes and oceans.

Even babies are wide-eyed at the colours and movement of the marine animals, according to my friend Carol, who went with her four-month-old granddaughter.

There is a huge variety, from species found in the Great Lakes Basin (which includes Lake Simcoe) to blue lobsters and upside-down jellyfish. You can learn about each species from information on nearby screens, or simply enjoy the view. The moving sidewalk that passes through a tunnel, with sharks swimming over your head and ghost-like rays drifting past, is one of the highlights.

Many of the marine animals at the aquarium were "rescues," while others came from other aquariums, one guide told us.
They live in carefully designed and maintained habitats. There is a vast network of pipes and filtration systems to keep the various marine environments the right temperature and water quality for the different species.

So, we asked, why don't the sharks eat the other animals gliding past their mouths?
In the wild, sharks normally hunt every two weeks. The sharks in these tanks are fed high-quality frozen fish every three days, so they are not hungry.

The aquarium has a strong conservation policy and advocates the purchase of sustainable seafood. You can find guidelines at www.seachoice.org or www.davidsuzuki.org.

To visit Ripley's Aquarium, hours and tickets are available at www.ripleyaquariums.com/canada/ — you can even go for a sleepover!