aThe 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. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Whitecaps

Whitecaps’ sale of face masks to boost Vancouver Aquarium going gangbusters

The aquarium, a not-for-profit operation, closed March 17 because of the pandemic

The Vancouver Whitecaps had sold more than 65,000 face masks as of 5 p.m. ET Monday with all net proceeds going to help the financially troubled Vancouver Aquarium.

The MLS team said it had sold more than $1 million worth of 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, the United Kingdom and the U.S.

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.

READ MORE: Vancouver Aquarium, at risk of permanently closing, raises $600K in donations

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).

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

The Canadian Press


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