Sale of face masks to boost cash-strapped Vancouver Aquarium going gangbusters

The Vancouver Whitecaps had sold more than 57,000 masks as of Monday morning with all net proceeds going to help the financially troubled Vancouver Aquarium. Whitecaps goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau and his dog Diego are seen in an undated handout photo.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Whitecaps

VANCOUVER - The Vancouver Whitecaps had sold more than 57,000 masks as of Monday morning with all net proceeds going to help the financially troubled Vancouver Aquarium.

The MLS team said it has sold more $1 million worth of face masks since the two groups announced the fundraising campaign on Friday. Masks have been sold in every province and two of three territories in Canada as well as Austria, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

The aquarium store website crashed temporarily Saturday and Sunday morning due to volume.

Alliance Mercantile/Boardroom Clothing, which is making the masks, says the demand has allowed them to keep their staff while some of their suppliers are bringing staff back, according to the Whitecaps.

The aquarium, a not-for-profit operation, closed March 17 because of the pandemic and is struggling to survive with more than 60 per cent of its staff temporarily laid off.

"Every dollar matters now," Lasse Gustavsson, president and CEO of the Ocean Wise Conservation Association which operates the aquarium, said Friday. "We're months away from bankruptcy and we need $1 million at least a month."

The masks sport designs drawing inspiration from the Whitecaps crest and the aquarium itself.

The face masks are available on the websites of the Vancouver Aquarium (www.vanaquashop.org) and the Whitecaps (www.whitecapsfc.com).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2020.


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