The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea released Pebbles the giant Pacific octopus back into the wild in March. Now the aquarium has welcomed a new octopus dubbed Henry in honour of provincial health office Dr. Bonnie Henry. (Photo by Bob Orchard/Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea)

Vancouver Island aquarium names new octopus after Dr. Bonnie Henry

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea names new octopus for provincial health officer

A new octopus at the Sidney aquarium bears the same name as B.C.’s beloved health official.

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is recognizing B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry by making its new giant Pacific octopus her namesake.

“Before a new octopus arm (arm, arm, arm, arm, arm, arm, arm) stepped ‘foot’ in the centre, the team knew recognizing the incredible grace, kindness, intelligence, compassion, dedication and calm demeanor Dr. Bonnie Henry has shown the province during COVID-19 was a given,” said Tina Kelly, director of communications for the Shaw Centre.

Bonnie Henry (the octopus) turned out to be a boy, and goes by health officer’s surname instead. The cephalopod was welcomed to the aquarium June 18 and will spend roughly six months meeting visitors before he is released back into the wild.

READ ALSO: Buttercup the octopus brings in World Oceans Week at Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Kelly notes that Pacific octopuses have three hearts, a symbol that has become widely associated with gratitude for Henry and other health care and frontline workers.

The octopus isn’t the only critter bearing the health officer’s name. Chickens, corgis and even a horse statue have been dedicated to the B.C. leader, who’s also inspired a number of songs and performances.

The Shaw Centre’s last octopus, Pebbles, was released back into the wild in March shortly after the centre closed in response to COVID-19. The facility reopened to the public June 22. Hours of operation are Friday to Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea is a non-profit aquarium and learning centre dedicated exclusively to the Salish Sea bioregion.

READ ALSO: Shaw Centre releases 70 salmon and a giant octopus back into the sea


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