Posted on October 28, 2013 by Jane Brown


A baby wallaby at Toronto’s High Park Zoo has officially been named Zoomer after Moses Znaimer’s company ZoomerMedia. “Webll come and visit her regularly,b said Moses at Sunday’s naming ceremony, bI can see her on a big billboard!”

Moses attended the naming ceremony yesterday at High Park, along with zoo activist, Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette. ZoomerMedia donated $10,000 toward the Honey Family Foundation earlier this year, to help the Zoo stay open after funding was cut off by the City of Toronto. Sean Lee is one of many Toronto residents who regularly brings his kids to see the animals at the High Park Zoo. His family is happy that Zoomer has her name. “I think it’s a great name for a great animal. My kids love watching the wallabies!”

The High Park Zoo is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year. It’s the oldest zoo in North America.

– See more at: http://www.zoomerradio.ca/news/latest-news/zoomer-the-wallaby-is-officially-named-at-torontos-high-park-zoo/#sthash.dHTKUTbo.dpuf

Read more

A fair and just society must protect the animals who live among us: Ontario to create animal welfare special investigations unit

National Post


Peter Kuitenbrouwer | 25/10/13 | Last Updated: 25/10/13 6:29 PM ET

The Ontario government will give $5.5-million a year to the Ontario SPCA to create a bspecial investigations unit that will lead enforcement of zoos and aquariums and puppy and kitten mills,b Madeleine Meilleur, minister of community safety, told reporters at the High Park Zoo Friday morning.

The OSPCA will also use the cash to also set up a round-the-clock call centre to help enforce animal welfare rules.

The government also announced a voluntary registration regime for the 60 zoos and aquariums in Ontario.

bA fair and just society must protect the animals who live among us,b Ms. Meilleur said, while llama and geese looked on from a pen behind her. Honking from the geese drowned out some of her remarks.

Rob Godfrey, chair of the Ontario SPCA, called the announcement ba watershed moment.

bIt is our job to protect those in our society who do not have a voice,b Mr. Godfrey said. bWe will now have a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week call centre to take calls of abuse and neglect. It is this minister and this government that have taken the first step.b

The OSPCA will schedule inspections at zoos and aquariums twice a year, Mr. Godfrey said. He said there could also be surprise inspections.

Ms. Meilleur said the province would establish standards of care for all marine mammals in captivity.

bI care deeply for these wonderful creatures, including whales, dolphins and seals,b she said.

Asked about Kiska, a killer whale at Marineland who has suffered in captivity, according to news reports, Mr. Godfrey said, “We are looking at engaging an expert to look at what the proper move is for standards of care.”

Ms. Meilleur added, bI am expecting the report from the expert in June.b

Cheri DiNovo, the local MPP for High Park, who is a New Democrat, told reporters that bmore money is not going to solve the problem. What we need is a law change.

She added that, “Whistleblowers [of conditions at Marineland] are being sued and nobody has supported them.”

Read more

Ontario brings in sweeping changes to protect animals

Ontario brings in sweeping changes to protect animals

Ospca gets more power and money, zoos and aquariums will get inspected twice a year

By: Linda Diebel Canada, Politics Liam Casey, Published on Fri Oct 25 2013


The province has introduced sweeping reforms to protect animal welfare in Ontario.

Changes, revealed Friday morning by the Star, include more power and money for the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, twice-a-year inspections of all zoos and aquariums in the province and specific standards of care for the well-being of marine mammals.

The changes, more than a year in the making, were announced Friday by Community Safety Minister Madeleine Meilleur. Her ministry is responsible for the OSPCA.

“It’s just the start,” said Meilleur, at times drowned out by the geese at a morning press conference at the High Park Zoo.

Meilleur began a review of animal laws in Ontario in the wake of a Star series in which former trainers blamed health problems at Marineland on sporadically poor water and insufficient staffing. John Holer, owner of the Niagara Falls animal park, has always denied any problems or staffing shortages. He told the Star last year that bwe take care of the animals better than I would take care of myself.

The changes, including more power and money for the OSPCA, have been more than a year in the making.

Meilleur said of the Star investigation: “If it weren’t for their work, we wouldn’t be here today.”

Meilleur told the Star she quickly realized the OSPCA lacked the power and ability to deal with the kind of large, complex investigations the province now requires.

Ontario will give the OSPCA $5.5 million annually to bcreate a team of specially trained investigators’ to inspect the province’ 60 zoos and aquariums, which in future will be registered. The team will also deal with bpuppy and kitten mills,b and the OSPCA will bprovide regular progress reports to the government.

The marine mammal standards are being drafted by a team of experts, with a deadline of June 2014. In the meantime, inspections of marine parks will be carried out under the existing animal laws of Ontario.

“Our government cares very deeply for the well-being of animals wherever they live in this province,” said Meilleur. The money will help enforce animal welfare laws in under-served areas such as rural and northern communities.

Official inspections are a big change for Ontario.

Currently, the OSPCA goes in only when a problem is reported. Inspections are done every five years by Canadabs Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, the industry’s self-governing association. But it has only eight member facilities in the province.

The government’s goal is bensuring animals live free from abuse and neglect,b said a ministry statement obtained by the Star.

The OSPCA will implement a 911-style phone dispatch service to provide around-the-clock response to reports of animal abuse throughout the province.

Revamping the rules was a massive task for Meilleur, who consulted cabinet colleagues, travelled across the province talking to industry officials, animal welfare activists and whistleblowers, and dealt with a labyrinth of competing interests and legal problems.

The ministry looked hard at licensing zoos and aquariums b her first choice b but it would have required legislation. That would have been time-consuming and might have failed in a minority Liberal government.

Instead, Meilleurbs team decided to set up a registry immediately with twice yearly inspections, which a ministry aide described as breal surprise visits.b That route doesn’t require a new law.

bItbs a registry b for now,b said the aide, bWebll be closely examining it and, if it’s not working, webll move forward with a bill. In practice, it’s the same as a licensing regime.b

The aide was unclear about how  or if  results of inspections would be released to the public. The source said one idea bandied about was Toronto’s DineSafe’ program, with restaurants given passes, conditional passes or being closed.

Another major problem was that the OSPCA lacked expertise when dealing with marine mammals, agricultural livestock and exotic animals. The inspectors will get special training.

The OSPCA is a registered private charity that currently receives about $500,000 annually in government funding. The society investigates reports of abuse and neglect and can order changes in animal care or lay charges under both the OSPCA Act and the criminal code.

The aide said the OSPCA signed a contract with the government to cover its new authority and funding, but wouldn’t reveal details. A contract is also being completed with a specialist who will head the marine mammal team.

Read more

Province announces more money to help animals at High Park Zoo

Province announces more money to help animals at High Park Zoo

Bloor West Villager


As the llamas and geese at High Park Zoo looked on, the minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services announced the government is taking significant action to enhance animal welfare during a press conference Friday, Oct. 25.

“I’m proud to announce new measures that will strengthen animal protection across the province,b said Madeleine Meilleur, crediting the bdedicated staff” at High Park Zoo and adding, “this zoo has been the first introduction to animals of this nature and the start of a love of animals for so many children.”

The government was prompted to strengthen regulations and protective measures in the wake of a Toronto daily newspaper’s expose last summer into animals’ living conditions at Marineland, Meilleur said.

The government is committing to conducting regular inspections of the 60-plus zoos and aquariums in Ontario, to boosting enforcement of animal welfare laws, while cracking down on puppy and kitten mills and augmenting standards of care for marine animals.

The government is investing $5.5 million annually so the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) bcan build on its successes,b Meilleur said.

This includes establishing a 24-7 centralized dispatch to ensure timely response to alleged animal abuse and neglect across the province, enhancing the responsiveness of investigators to animal welfare complaints from rural and northern communities, creating a squad of specially trained investigators to crack down on puppy and kitten mills and delivering specialized training for investigators in the agriculture sector.

“Animals offer so much and in return, they deserve to be protected from harm,” Meilleur said.

Rob Godfrey, chair of the OSPCA, called Oct. 25 ba very proud day.b

“This is a watershed moment for us that the government has come together with the OSPCA to recognize that it’s our job to protect those in our society that do not have a voice, to ensure animals are safe from neglect and abuse,” Godfrey said.

Investigations into animal cruelty amount to half of the OSPCAbs business, said Godfrey; the other half is shelter.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done, but I can tell you we’ve taken 1,000 steps that no other government has taken,” he said.

In addition to conducting regular inspections of the zoos and aquariums in the province, the OSPCA will establish a registry of these. The organization has committed to regular progress reports and transparency.

Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri DiNovo attended Friday’s event, but revealed her disappointment.

“This announcement will change absolutely nothing. There are a number of jurisdictions in the world that treat animals better.”

Read more

Ontario to toughen enforcement of animal welfare laws

Ontario to toughen enforcement of animal welfare laws

The Canadian Press

Published Friday, October 25, 2013 11:29AM EDT

Last Updated Friday, October 25, 2013 3:24PM EDT

TORONTO — Ontario will spend $5.5 million a year to toughen enforcement of animal welfare laws, crack down on puppy and kitten mills and improve care for marine mammals in the province, the government announced Friday.

Madeleine Meilleur, minister of community safety, said there will be regular inspections of zoos and aquariums to ensure the health and safety of animals in captivity.

Speaking at Toronto’s High Park Zoo, Meilleur said the annual funding will go to the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to help it strengthen its animal protection work.B tos

She said the government has come up with several ways to help OSPCA investigators respond better to complaints, such as a centralized dispatch service enabling officers to respond to animal abuse calls from anywhere in the province.

A squad of specially trained investigators will also be created to crack down on puppy and kitten mills, and the government says the OSPCA will conduct twice-yearly inspections of zoos and aquariums.

Massimo Bergamini, executive director of Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, said Meilleur’s announcement is a good “first step” but more needs to be done.

He said there are other issues, such as public safety, related to the keeping of exotic animals in the province.

“It is unclear how today’s announcement addresses the regulatory and enforcement gaps that in the past have come to light — in Ontario and in other provinces — sometimes with tragic consequences,” he said.

“A new legislative and regulatory framework is needed to replace the current patchwork of municipal animal control bylaws and bring province-wide consistency to the keeping and care of exotic animals.”

There also should be an accreditation-based licensing regime for zoos and aquariums, Bergamini said, adding this would involve “internationally accepted standards of animal care, public and employee safety, education and conservation.”

Meilleur said the new measures will strengthen enforcement of animal welfare laws in areas that have been under-served, such as rural and northern communities, and address concerns about proper inspections of facilities where animals are held in captivity.

“Our government cares deeply for the well-being of animals wherever they live in this province,” she said.

There are more than 60 zoos and aquariums in Ontario, more than any other province, according to government figures.

Read more: http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-to-toughen-enforcement-of-animal-welfare-laws-1.1513080#ixzz2j80FXoYO


Read more

Cheer on marathon runners in support of High Park Zoo

Cheer on marathon runners in support of High Park Zoo

Bloor West Villager


Friends of High Park Zoo invite you to help cheer on runners participating in this weekendbs Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as part of its 120th anniversary.

Situated at Ellis Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard at the 13-kilometre mark of the race, the cheering section will have entertainment, including DJ Woods, Fit2Dance Dancers and singer Cyndi Carleton to help encourage neighbourhood champion runners Chris Diceman, treasurer and Friends of High Park Zoo board member, and Charles Jewell. Funds raised by the marathon champions will be used in support of the zoo.

There will be refreshments as well.

Come out and join in the cheering Oct. 20 between 9:15 and 11:15 a.m.

For more details visit www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/en/nc/nc3.htm

Read more

FoHPZ Welcomes Runners

Friends of High Park Zoo

Welcomes Runners from The World, Come Cheer with Us

  • Friends of High Park Zoo welcome runners from across Toronto, Canada and the world
  • Fun for the Whole Family. Cheer on 25,000 Runners. Free, Live Entertainment & Refreshments
  • Raffles for great prizes including a Danier Leather Jacket
  • Ellis Ave. & Lakeshore Blvd. Sunday October 20, 2013, 8:45 am-11:15 am

TORONTO, October 8, 2013
Friends of High Park Zoo on behalf of the neighbourhood of Swansea-Bloor West Village-High Park is pleased to invite everyone to our Neighborhood Cheering Section for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday October 20, 2013.

We invite everyone to celebrate the Zoo’s 120th year with us by cheering runners at the Scotiabank Marathon. Bring the family down to Ellis Ave. & Lakeshore Blvd., at the 13K mark and cheer on 25,000 runners as they race through our neighbourhood. There will be free entertainment, including singers, dancers and a DJ, and refreshments.

Come help us be the best Neighbourhood Cheering Centre by cheering our Neighbourhood Champions and the thousands of runners. There are cash prizes (as determined by a panel of celebrity judges) for the best Cheering Centre based on the most people, most noise, best costumes and best entertainment. We will have thundersticks, pom-poms and cow bells to help us amp it up at NCE #3.

High Park Zoo costs only $228,000 a year to operate and is a long-standing family tradition in Toronto b in fact it has been for 120 years. The Zoo began as a deer pen and bird aviary in 1893 at a time when gas lamps lit the city streets and Torontobs streetcars where pulled by horses. Today the Zoo is the gem of High Park and attracts over 400,000 visitors annually (more than double the population of Toronto in 1893) and is older than prominent Toronto landmarks such as Massey Hall and Old City Hall. Friends of High Park Zoo has been raising the funds required to keep the Zoo operating after the City of Toronto cut funding for the Zoo in 2012.

Our most recent awareness and fundraising initiative celebrates 120 years of High Park Zoo and is two-fold: webre seeking support from the Zoobs visitors by signing a petition to keep the Zoo open and we hope to raise $120,000 to cover the remainder of the Zoo annual operating cost. As of the end of September we still needed to raise $65,000 to meet this goal. With the support of a growing petition of nearly 25,000 visitors we are pressing to partner with the City to restore operating funding while we raise funds to make much-needed capital investments at the Zoo.

In addition cheering with us on Sunday October 20th, there are two ways to support Friends of High Park Zoo for the 2013 Scotiabank Marathon:

(1) Pledge a donation now to support one of our Neighbourhood Champions (High Park NCE3) for the October 20th race: http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/en/nchamps.htm

(2) Make a donation directly to Friends of High Park Zoo through Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation (our partner and registered charity): https://www.donationaid.com/high-park-zoo


Read more

FoHPZ Says Hello World, Again!

Welcome to Friends of High Park Zoo’s new website!

Read more

Ford votes at parks committee to stop blefties spending like drunken sailors’

Ford votes at parks committee to stop blefties spending like drunken sailors’

Mayor votes against service improvement proposals in 2014 budget

City Centre Mirror

ByDavid Nickle


Mayor Rob Ford made an impromptu appearance at the city’s parks and environment committee Monday, Sept. 16, to vote down motions that would have seen possible service improvements in the 2014 operating budget.

It was the second time in a week Ford attended a committee meeting for the purpose of shifting a vote.

Last Monday, Sept. 9, Ford attended the government management committee to defeat a motion that would have looked at improving wait times for taxpayers calling into the city’s finance department to pay their bills.

This week, Ford cast the deciding vote against motions to provide funding for the Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo, speed up tree pruning and turf maintenance by city workers, and refurbish aging playgrounds across the city.

Ford said he came to the committee meeting to stop blefties’ from putting unaffordable service enhancements into the budget, in advance of the 2014 budget being introduced at budget committee.

“We can’t have these lefties spending like drunken sailors,” said Ford outside his office, next to a television showing a campaign-style video of the mayor’s summer highlights.

“They’re reckless. They just don’t care. They have no respect for the taxpayers whatsoever. They never have and they never will. But the day of reckoning’s coming soon.”

The motions from the committee came as city departments are presenting the results of a service review, with the intention of generating suggestions that might go to the budget committee.

But some councillors have said they want to set budget parameters earlier, and at the next meeting of council want to have as many services as possible on the table.

Parkdale-High Park Councillor Gord Perks moved a motion to look at refurbishing 30 playgrounds across the city.

“We here from the public that our playgrounds are in terrible disrepair. They only get repaired once every 80 years. We just want the information from staff to be there. The mayor doesn’t even want us to have the information. He came out of his office to make sure he doesn’t want the public to know what good public service costs,” said Perks.

Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette asked that the city consider funding the High Park Zoo which is currently being funded by donations.

She said if the city funded operating costs, then fundraising could go toward repairs and capital costs more effectively.

She said the issue will come up again one way or another.

“If the mayor hadn’t come to the meeting, our motions would have been dealt with today,b she said. bBut this doesn’t eliminate any suggestions. They’ll still come to the budget. All webre doing here is saying to the budget chief, take these things into consideration.”

Toronto-Danforth Councillor Paula Fletcher was championing more effective branch-trimming by city staff.

bCurrently it’s six months from when you ask for a tree to be trimmed and when it gets trimmed,b she said.

“I don’t think that’s a service level we should tolerate in Toronto. The mayor came in and nixed all of that. It’s a little surprising to come in and take out any service improvements before we get to budget. The budget committee will deal with everything, but a budget committee doesn’t have a high view like the parks committee. I think that’s why it’s so disconcerting. What is wrong with having that conversation? Is the mayor afraid of council?”

Read more

FoHPZ Unveils Vision, Mission and Values

Friends of High Park Zoo Unveils Its Vision, Mission and Values

  • Friends of High Park Zoo Takes Another Important Step as an Organization
  • Formation of Vision, Mission and Values Culminated at a Recent Board Retreat
  • Our Vision, Mission, Values form the Basis of Who We Are, What We Do and How We Operate


TORONTO, September 10, 2013
Friends of High Park Zoo is pleased today to unveil its Vision, Mission and Values. These strategic cornerstones are an important step in the evolution of Friends of High Park Zoo. They form the basis of who we are, what we do and how we operate. These were formed (and subsequently ratified and adopted) at a recent Board retreat where Board members and volunteers collaborated to establish these foundational components of Friends of High Park Zoo.

Specifically, Friends of High Park Zoo Vision, Mission and Values are:

VISION: To ensure there is always a free community zoo in High Park for families to enjoy.

MISSION: To enhance High Park Zoo for the benefit of all visitors by leading activities that engage the community, while promoting education, awareness and fundraising for the Zoo.


Accountable - we will be responsible, transparent and accountable to all of our stakeholders

Professional - we will at all times conduct ourselves in a manner that is both professional and respectful

Collaborate - we will work collectively with each other and others in order to achieve our goals

Community oriented - we will engage in initiatives and activities that support High Park Zoo and the community


Chris Diceman, from Friends of High Park Zoo board of directors notes, “We are pleased to take this step today in solidifying Friends of High Park Zoo Vision, Mission and Values. It’s an important step in the evolution and strategic direction of our organization. While we are a relatively new not-for-profit organization (NPO), our Vision, Mission and Values establish the long terms goals, direction and tone of our organization. These strategic factors help to form the foundation to enable us to explore additional sources of revenue to ensure High Park Zoo continues operating for families 120 years from now.

The elegance of our Vision is its simplicity. This also reflects the purpose of our organization. Furthermore, ba free community zoo in High Park for families to enjoy echoes back to John George Howard’s gift of High Park to the City of Toronto. The park which was bequeathed to the City in 1873 later established a deer pen in 1893. Now 120 years later, High Park Zoo thrives with eleven pens that house a variety of animal species from around the world. We envision that there will always be a Zoo in High Park for families to enjoy.

Our Mission builds on our Vision and effectively lays out how Friends of High Park Zoo will achieve its Vision. We will enhance the Zoo for all visitors by leading activities that engage the community, while promoting education, awareness, and fundraising for Zoo. Said differently, we will work to ensure we enhance and promote the Zoo for all visitors.

Our Values represent how we will conduct ourselves as an organization and individuals. We strive to: be accountable to all our stakeholders, always be professional, collaborate to reach our common goals and be community oriented in everything that we do.

Read more