46-YEAR-OLD CHARLES & 20-YEAR-OLD NGOZI HAVE DELIVERED A BABY WESTERN LOWLAND GORILLA

The baby is the eleventh of the critically endangered species to begin life at the TORONTO ZOO. As yet, the keepers haven’t been able to get close enough to determine its sex.

“We are very excited with this birth,” said MARIA FRANKE, Curator of Mammals. “Gorillas are under extreme threats in the wild. It’s predicted that the wild population will have an 80% reduction over three generations, and it’s essential that we do everything we can to save this species.”

Over the past 15 years there’ve been many successful births at the TORONTO ZOO – Siberian Tiger cubs, Komodo Dragons, two pandas, several Masai giraffes, a Grevy’s Zebra, a polar bear, gorillas, snow leopards – the list goes on.

To reach the TORONTO Zoo – 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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THE TORONTO ZOO IS NOW HOME TO (AT LEAST) SIX NEW ARCTIC WOLF PUPS

For the first time in 15 years a litter of six Arctic wolf pups have cautiously emerged from their den to see the world. They’ll only come out for short periods of time “until 8 to 12 weeks after they were born,” said Zoo spokesperson AMANDA CHAMBERS.

They’re protected by their mother, DORA. A second wolf, named AUNT VERA, is allowed to babysit the litter, while the father, IMIQ, patrols the perimeter of the den.

From the Zoo – a YouTube video of a weary Dora and her pups –
https://www.youtube.com/embed/_d_AERv50Uc

NOW THAT THE PANDAS HAVE LEFT TOWN, OTHER MEMBERS OF TORONTO’S ZOO FAMILY GET TO SHINE

Meet Stevie the fruit bat, an Ontario native – one of several in the Zoo’s collection.

The Zoo has over 20 species of frogs. One of them is the Dusky Gopher Frog. There are a dozen altogether. In 2017 an in vitro fertilization procedure took place, resulting in the first ever metamorphosis of these frogs in Canada. They’re hoping for several more tadpoles to increase the population. Only 100-200 exist in the wild.

Hamlet, the hairy-nosed wombat, has three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He’s directly related to every hairy-nosed wombat in North America except two, and he’s still full of life when he isn’t sleeping (which is most of the day). Hamlet gets a dental checkup every six months, eats vegetables, timothy hay, vitamin pills & mineral pellets.

Budi, the organutan, is in the middle of sub-adulthood, which begins at age 8 and continues until he’s 15. His face is getting darker and his big cheek pads will soon become slightly more noticeable.

The lemurs and their long tails, which are used for balance and communication.

A ratsnake hatching, 45 centimetres long for now, but it will grow to 2.4 metres as an adult. The Zoo is home to 63 reptile species.

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.

FROM A PARKING LOT TO YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE – A TORONTO SUCCESS STORY 35 YEARS ON

After a multi-level parking garage was demolished in the 1980’s, drivers took over the downtown centre of TORONTO by parking at street-level. In 1998, then-mayor BARBARA HALL and her city council approved the expropriation and demolition of a few buildings along Dundas Street East.

Yonge-Dundas Square was then built as a gift to the old city, before it was forcibly amalgamated with five suburban boroughs. <PHOTO ABOVE – the east end of what is now Yonge-Dundas Square; City of Toronto Archives, 1980’s>

Designed by Brown + Storey Architects, the square has proven to be an admirable success. It’s owned by the city, and administered by a Board of Management – the first public-private partnership in Canada to operate a public square.

<Yonge-Dundas Square in 2017>

RIVERDALE FARM ANIMALS PASS THE TIME WAITING FOR SPRINGTIME’S VISITORS

RIVERDALE FARM is open year ‘round, but some of the larger animals spend the winter months in warmer places. The smaller ones are inside the barns, and make a visit still worthwhile.

The Farm is located in Riverdale Park West at Sumach & Winchester Streets in Cabbagetown. The eastbound #506 streetcar from College subway station travels to Sumach Street. Walk north a couple of blocks from there.