The Vancouver Aquarium’s personnel and volunteers agreed to clean up a beach in Stanley Park in 1994 to protect the city’s shorelines. The initiative grew from that first cleanup across British Columbia, and by 1997, 400 volunteers were taking part in the Great BC Beach Cleanup at 20 locations.
In 2002, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup was designated as a national environmental effort, and cleanups began in all provinces and territories. More than 20,000 volunteers had signed up by 2003. As Canadians became more aware of the negative consequences of beach trash on ecosystems, wildlife, and humans, public support strengthened. The Vancouver Aquarium began implementing the program alongside WWF-Canada in 2010, and the two organizations have maintained strong cooperation to this day. Over 937,000 people have led and participated in Great Canadian Cleanup cleanups across the country, cleaning 44,262 kilometres of freshwater and marine beaches.
The Shoreline Cleanup has grown to become one of Canada’s largest direct action conservation campaigns. Ocean Wise and WWF-Canada are dedicated to expanding the program in order to reach our goal of inspiring Canadians to keep all shorelines litter-free.