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Canadian Museum of Nature

11/10/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/10/2021 09:18

November 10, 2021—Popular whale models “migrate” from World Exchange Plaza to Canadian Museum of Nature

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  6. Popular whale models "migrate" from World Exchange Plaza to Canadian Museum of Nature

© QuadReal (left) and Canadian Museum of Nature (right)

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The belugas "swimming" in the World Exchange Plaza (right), and now in their new home in the museum's Water Gallery.

Ottawa, November 10, 2021 - A "pod" of whales-life-size models that have been admired by hundreds of thousands-have a new home at the Canadian Museum of Nature.

After three decades suspended over the spacious concourse of the World Exchange Plaza in downtown Ottawa, the sculptures of three belugas and two narwhals have "migrated" back to where they were first created at the museum.

The relocation is thanks to a donation from QuadReal Property Group, which manages the World Exchange Plaza. The whales are now "swimming" from the ceiling in the hall of the museum's Water Gallery, near the massive skeleton of a blue whale.

The whales had been commissioned for display by the World Exchange Plaza and were inaugurated there in October 1991 in the presence of Diana, the Princess of Wales. Her attendance at the event was part of the itinerary during a royal tour. She was even gifted miniature replicas for her sons, William and Harry, while hundreds of guests looked on from the floors above.

Page from community relations report that shows Diana, the Princess of Wales, at the inauguration of the whales exhibit on October 29, 1991.

"The whales have been part of the World Exchange Plaza for 30 years and during that time have become a great community attraction," says Peter Costa, Senior Vice President, Investment Management at QuadReal. "As we are in the midst of an exciting revitalization plan, we felt it was the perfect time to donate the whales to the Museum of Nature, a place where they can continue to be visited and enjoyed by the community for years to come."

Robert Leuenberger © Canadian Museum of Nature

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The exhibits team hoists one of the beluga models into place in its new home in the Water Gallery. Each one weighs about the same as two canoes.

In their time at World Exchange, the whales soaring high over the escalators inspired artists and were a favourite sight for the plaza's tenants. They were also admired by countless tourists and local residents that passed through on their way to the shops, movie theatre, food court, and offices in the complex.

The donation to the museum is in essence a homecoming. The belugas, which are 3.6 metres long, were created by modelmaker Terry Morgan in the museum's workshop.

© Canadian Museum of Nature

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Model maker Terry Morgan constructs the belugas in the museum's workshop in 1991.

He sought inspiration from photos of belugas in the wild. Morgan first created a wooden mould, then used polyester resin to form the shape and pose of each whale. They have subtle differences, with one diving, and the other surfacing, for example. The longer narwhals, at 6.1 metres long and each with their prominent tooth, had been created for an earlier museum exhibition.

"We're delighted with QuadReal's donation, so that we can welcome home these true-to-life sculptures of two of the Arctic's charismatic marine animals," says Ailsa Barry, the museum's Vice-President of Experience and Engagement. "Now they are finding new life in our Water Gallery, where visitors can enjoy their presence and learn about the important biodiversity and ecology of our oceans."

The Canadian Museum of Nature is located at 240 McLeod Street, Ottawa. Due to COVID precautions, visitors must reserve tickets in advance and for specific times. For more information, visit nature.ca. Follow the museum on social media: Twitter.com/museumofnature, Instagram.com/museumofnature. and Facebook.com/Canadianmuseumofnature.

About the Canadian Museum of Nature
Saving the world through evidence, knowledge and inspiration! The Canadian Museum of Nature provides evidence-based insights, inspiring experiences and meaningful engagement with nature's past, present and future. It achieves this through scientific research, a collection of 14.6 million specimens and artifacts, education programs, signature and travelling exhibitions, and a dynamic web site, nature.ca.

Information for media:
Dan Smythe
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-698-9253
[email protected]

Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-698-7142
[email protected]