Discover a story bigger than all of us.


March 11 to September 4, 2017

Get up close to one of the world’s most mysterious, and largest animals ever in this ROM original exhibition. Follow the 2014 story of the blue whales that captured the hearts of a nation.

“What do we do with this whale?”

– New Yorker, May 2, 2014


In 2014 a tragic event occurred off the coast of Newfoundland when nine rare blue whales became trapped in ice and died. Their loss represents about three percent of the Northwest Atlantic’s blue whale population; in Canada that’s almost equivalent to the human population of Saskatchewan. Blue whales usually sink when they die, but in an unusual occurrence two of the blue whales washed ashore in Trout River and Rocky Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, offering an unprecedented opportunity for research.

“How exactly do you take apart a 150-tonne whale?"

– CBC, May 9, 2014


Working with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Research Casting International and the local communities, ROM scientists de-fleshed and recovered the bones of this endangered species, transporting them to Ontario. After a two-year process where the bones were buried in manure, and de-greased, one of these awe-inspiring animals is ready to be displayed at the ROM.

“Salvaging the blue whale in Newfoundland was a once in a lifetime experience.”

– Burton Lim, Assistant Curator of Mammalogy


Out of the Depths: The Blue Whale Story is a ROM original exhibition that retells the tragic story of 2014 and the unprecedented opportunity for research and conservation that resulted. Come face to face with the enormous eighty- foot skeleton of Blue, and discover the mind-blowing biology of blue whales; the humongous size of their heart, their unusual feeding behaviour, how they communicate and their evolution from land to sea. Find out how the ROM is studying their DNA to unlock some of the mysteries surrounding these large but elusive creatures, and gain insight into the global decline of the blue whale population and what is being done to protect the world’s largest animal…ever.

"This was an opportunity for us, born of tragedy, to make something more of her life"

– Mark Engstrom, deputy director of collections and research

How do you measure up to Blue? Take the Quiz