Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story

Open to the Public March 11, 2017

In 2014, the story of nine rare blue whales becoming trapped in ice and dying, off the coast of Newfoundland, went viral when two of the blue whales washed ashore into Rocky Harbour. The devastating loss to the blue whale population, which is equivalent to the population of Saskatchewan, by human standards, was quite disturbing. Scientists were shocked with the discovery, as blue whales usually sink when they die and this created a very large scale problem for the tiny community of Rocky Harbour – population 979. As the Blue Whale is the largest animal on earth, weighing in at 330,000 lbs, many were at a loss as to what could be done.


Scientists at the ROM agreed that this situation could become a true learning experience to share with others and worked quickly to obtain the necessary permits from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Research Casting International and the local communities in Newfoundland, to procure the skeleton of one of the whales. After three years of rigorous efforts to recover the bones and move them to Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum has now unveiled the massive 80-foot blue whale in their newest special exhibition, Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story.

Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story is an original exhibition at the ROM that retells the tragic story of 2014, and the opportunity for research and conservation that resulted. For the first time, visitors can get up close and personal with the enormous skeleton, and discover the biology of blue whales; the flabbergasting size of their heart, how they communicate and even gain insight into the global decline of the blue whale population and what is being done to protect the world’s largest animal … ever.

Blue Whale heart
The gigantic Blue Whale Heart!

The ROM is also pleased to partner with Bloor-Yorkville BIA Member J. Crew who, as part of its Garments for Goods program, has created blue whale merchandise, including the children’s tee (pictured below), hand-sketched by J. Crew’s head of women’s design, Somsack Sikhounmuong. 50 per cent of each sale will be donated to the ROM’s research into the understanding and conservation of the threatened species. You can purchase this special nautical and whale-themed merchandise at the ROM Boutique, in-store at J.Crew, 110 Bloor Street West (and other select locations) or online.

Blue Whale Garments for Good Collection
The ROM Boutique displays the J.Crew Garments For Good Collection

Visitors of all ages can experience the ROM’s underwater adventure with some of the activities listed below:

Blue Whale activity
Interactive activities. Help the Blue Whale find krill to eat!


  • Dive into ocean facts and mysteries and explore the ROM’s Blue Whale Story
  • Try on a pair of echolocation goggles and hunt for tasty fish like a dolphin with Fish Finder: A Dolphin Quest
  • See awesome big-blue-sea-inspired balloon sculpting by world champion balloon artist Mark Verge
  • Sail into the heart of a historical mystery as you explore The Franklin Exploration and learn how archeologists piece together this 170-year old ill-fated expedition
  • Get up close and personal with wildlife from our friends at Hands-On Exotics
  • And so much more!

For more information about the exhibit, please go to https://www.rom.on.ca/en/blue-whale


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