CANADA’S LARGEST ZOO ONCE OCCUPIED PRISON-LIKE QUARTERS NEAR DOWNTOWN TORONTO

First the bad news.  The Riverdale Park Zoo in Cabbagetown dated back to 1881. For the animals, it was much like a prison, with iron bars, cramped enclosures and dark cages everywhere. If you were an animal lover, going there wasn’t a pleasant experience.  <PHOTOS – Toronto Public Library>

Between 1963 and the 1970’s plans were developed for the largest and most modern of Canadian zoological parks. The old zoo was then turned into Riverdale Farm, providing much more space for fewer farm animals and birds.

These days the TORONTO ZOO spreads over 287 hectares (710 acres) in the eastern suburbs – home to over 5,000 animals & 500 species.

Imiq is a member of the Zoo’s Arctic wolf pack. He arrived from Parc Safari in Quebec in November/2017.

The Zoo’s state-of-the-art Wildlife Health Centre, is the first of its kind in Canada. It’s a centre of excellence in animal care through veterinary and reproductive sciences, nutritional physiology, and wildlife research.

<JUNO, the polar bear cub, born at the Zoo>

The TORONTO ZOO is open every day except December 25. It’s easy to get there – by car, from downtown, take the 401 Eastbound to Exit 389, Meadowvale Road.  Follow the Zoo signs to 361A Old Finch Avenue.  Large parking lot.

By TTC bus, take the subway (Sheppard Line) to DON MILLS STATION.  Bus #85 leaves from here, and will drop you in front of the Zoo entrance about 45 minutes later.  Along the way, you’ll pass through suburban Don Mills and Scarborough.

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