Help Name the Baby Capybaras

Thank you for your interest in naming our three capybabies!

Voting has now closed. The results will be revealed and the most popular names will be given to our capybabies at a celebration at High Park Zoo on Saturday, June 24 at noon. Please join us for refreshments!

Stay tuned for exciting updates – the results will also be posted online!

As you may be aware, we are also raising funds to enhance the Capybara’s home, so if you can help even a little bit, please make a donation here.

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Friends of High Park Zoo is Seeking Qualified Board of Directors Nominations

Friends of High Park Zoo is Seeking Qualified Board of Directors Nominations

  • Nominations for Eligible Candidates are Due Friday March 3, 2017
  • Up to Five Directors Expected to be Elected on Two-Year Terms
  • AGM to be held Sunday March 26, 2017, 2 pm to 3:30 pm at Howard Park Tennis Club (Toronto)

Friends of High Park Zoo (FHPZ)

We are seeking inspired and motivated volunteer board members to oversee the activities of our organization for 2017 and 2018 (High Park Zoo’s 125th anniversary). As we further execute our Master Plan to enhance and sustain High Park Zoo, we require directors to steward the undertaking of these improvements including planning, procurement and fundraising. FHPZ currently plans to break ground on Master Plan projects in 2017. For more details, visit

In 2017, FHPZ expects to elect up to five directors each on two-year terms.

This year’s election will be held at our Annual General Meeting on Sunday March 26, 2017 at Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive – on the east side of High Park in Toronto from 2:00 pm to 3:30 pm.

Priority areas for 2017

Each year the Board of FHPZ completes an evaluation of its directors’ skills and experience and identifies its future needs. In light of FHPZ’s strategic plan and organizational performance, the Board prioritizes the skills and abilities most important to fulfilling its governance function over the coming years.

In 2017, the Board is particularly seeking candidates with experience, among other things, in the areas of Fundraising and Grant Writing and Development and Project Management. The Board will make its recommendations based on the extent to which each candidate exhibits experience in the priority areas and other attributes. See Experience below.

Next Steps

If you (or a Member that supports your nomination) are eligible and believe you align with the Vision, Mission and Values of FHPZ and have the passion and experience to be an effective Board member, please nominate yourself (or a Member) by submitting your resume and a cover letter (the Member’s contact information) by Friday March 3, 2017 6:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. References may be requested. See Eligibility below.

All applications must be submitted electronically to:

If you have any questions regarding this process please contact John Formosa, Chair FHPZ Board of Directors, at

Overview Of FHPZ Board

FHPZ is governed by an elected volunteer member Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is comprised of no fewer than five (5) and no more than nine (9) Directors serving either one or two-year terms. Officer positions include: Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer.


To be eligible to be nominated, a FHPZ Board candidate must be a Member in good standing, at least eighteen (18) years of age and legally capable of serving as a director of a not-for-profit corporation in Ontario (see details below).

To be eligible as a Member in good standing of FHPZ, a donation during 2016 (or by March 3, 2017) must have been made to FHPZ or on behalf of FHPZ to the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. (Visit for more information.) Members can nominate themselves or other Members to be Board candidates.


FHPZ was formed in 2012 to raise the necessary funds to ensure that the Zoo remained open in the wake of City budget cuts. FHPZ is a registered not-for-profit corporation created expressly to generate support for High Park Zoo. FHPZ is seeking Board candidate nominations of individuals with one or more of the following areas of expertise:

  1. Not-for-Profit Organization Experience: Board or executive level experience in one or more not-for-profit corporations.
  2. Governance Experience: Recent board experience with one or more organizations (for-profit or not-for-profit).
  3. Organizational Leadership: Experience and direct responsibility with employees and/or volunteers.
  4. Financial Acumen: Experience and responsibility in the preparation, interpretation and dissemination of financial reports, budgets and statements and coordinating with the organization’s auditors.
  5. Fundraising and Grant Writing: Experience in leading diverse fundraising activities and targeting, writing and applying for operating and capital grants.
  6. Development and Project Management: Experience in the development and management of capital projects.
  7. Sustainability/Corporate Social Responsibility: Knowledge and experience with sustainable business practices and corporate social responsibility, including an understanding of key trends and developments.
  8. Communications and Media: Experience in communications and media strategy (creating, disseminating, etc.).
  9. Legal Background: General legal experience; an understanding of legal obligations of organizations and not-for-profit organizations.

About High Park Zoo

Established in the 1893 for deer, the Zoo’s animal paddocks have always been a popular attraction. Today, over 120 years later, the Zoo’s eleven paddocks are home to a variety of animal species from around the world including bison, llamas, peacocks, reindeer, highland cattle, emus and sheep.

The Zoo is free to the public and attracts over 720,000 visitors each year. The Zoo is open every day from 7:00 am to dusk. The Llama Pen is open weekends and statutory holidays allowing visitors to feed and pet the llamas from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm beginning in April until the end of October.

About FHPZ –

FHPZ was formed in 2012 to raise the necessary funds to ensure that the Zoo remained open in the wake of City budget cuts for the 2012 and 2013 operating years. With the City restoring operating funding in 2014, FHPZ looks to raise sustainable funding from individuals, corporations and local businesses to enhance and sustain the Zoo. Since 2015, FHPZ has embarked on a Master Plan to enhance and sustain the Zoo for the next 125 years.

FHPZ is a registered not-for-profit corporation created expressly to generate support for High Park Zoo. FHPZ accepts donations directly and through Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation, a registered charity.

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

Duties and Responsibilities of Board Members – Friends of High Park Zoo

Independently, as a Director, and collectively, as a member of the Board of Directors, a Friends of High Park Zoo (“FHPZ”) Board member assumes responsibility for:

  • setting the appropriate direction (and monitoring achievement of that direction);
  • overseeing FHPZ operations (and ensuring effective and efficient processes);
  • maintaining a strong financial position and appropriate risk management;
  • for FHPZ, by providing leadership, advice, direction and support to the organization, its members and its volunteers (and staff, if any).


  1. Communication and Preparation
    • Prepare for meetings by reading material distributed in advance, and by gathering whatever information may be required or requested by agreed on deadlines;
    • Be reasonably accessible and responsive, both by phone and by e-mail, to other Board members and key volunteers and stakeholders, as needed;
    • Attend and participate in all board meetings, except where absence is unavoidable. Listen and be respectful of other board members’ opinions; and
    • Be reasonably familiar with all by-law provisions, especially those defining the roles of Directors and Officers and setting out requirements for the removal and replacement of same
  2. Time Commitment
    • Be prepared to contribute at least 8 hours per month on average working for FHPZ (typically 2 hours for board meetings; 4 hours volunteer time, including committee meetings; 2 hours background and preparation).
    • Maintain current knowledge of programs and major issues related to the FHPZ and to the Zoo itself
  3. Set Appropriate Direction
    • (i) Provide expertise, guidance, and collaboration to board members (and staff, if any) regarding initiatives that align with the organization’s goals and initiatives and its strategic plan or business plan.
    • (ii) Assume responsibility for at least one primary area of expertise relevant to the Board’s activities and/or the strategic or business plan, and make sure that the appropriate goals and deliverables are met, and that progress and changes are regularly communicated.
    • Work with other Board members to identify and respond to key opportunities in a timely fashion
  4. Resources and Risk Management
    • Work with other Board member to ensure that key risks are identified and mitigated
    • Ensure that appropriate financial controls are in place and maintained
    • Assist in fundraising, for instance by soliciting the financial support of others; and
    • Set an example by making a significant personal contribution in time and/or money to the organization.
  5. General
    • Serve as an advocate of FHPZ for the public and build relationships within the community and amongst stakeholders.
    • Act with loyalty to FHPZ, its Vision, Mission and Values. Immediately disclose any real or potential conflict of interest, as required by the by-laws.
    • Maintain and protect the confidentiality of confidential information given to the board.
    • Ensure effective operations, succession planning and continuity by identifying potential volunteers as well as candidates for the board or its committees. 

Required Legal Qualifications of a Director Under Ontario’s Not-for-Profit Corporations Act, 2010 (ONCA)

A director must be:

  • An individual;
  • Eighteen years of age or older;
  • A person who has not been found incapable of managing property under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992 or the Mental Health Act;
  • A person who has not been found incapable by any court in Canada or elsewhere;
  • Not bankrupt.

The by-laws may have additional qualifications. Refer to section 23 of ONCA.

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Master Plan – Now On Youtube

Curious about our Master Plan? Check out our new video!

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Cheer on Friends of High Park Zoo!

On Sunday October 16, 2016 from 8:45 am to 11:15 am, Friends of High Park Zoo will host a cheering station for the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon, where the Zoo’s neighbours and supporters can celebrate and cheer on the runners.

Pledges made in support of High Park Zoo’s champion runners will support High Park Zoo and its Master Plan to improve the Zoo’s animal shelters and public spaces. To make a donation, please visit The Master Plan will ensure Toronto’s community zoo is a free, family-oriented hub for environmental education for generations to come.

For those who can’t make it to the cheering station during the marathon, the llama pen at High Park Zoo will be open from 11am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays until the end of October.

Friends of High Park Zoo wishes to thank the sponsors and supporters of the cheering station.

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Honey Match Update

Honey Match Fundraiser

FHPZ is excited to announce that our Honey Match fundraiser reached its goal! $40,000 will go towards improving Honey’s home. Thank you again to both the Honey Family and Griggs Family Foundations for their generous donations of $10,000 each in matching funds. Our final total and the winner of our art draw will be announced in the coming days.

We are grateful for all of your ongoing support, which we will continue to rely on as we look to raise the final $75,000 for Honey’s Home and our broader Master Plan. With your donations we can sustain and enhance our beloved community Zoo for the generations to come.

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Honey Match Fundraiser 2016

Summer is heating up and so is our Honey Match fundraising initiative! All donations made by our July 17th deadline will be matched by the Honey Family and Griggs Family Foundations, up to a total of $20,000. Help us raise the funds we need to improve the Zoo and Honey’s home!

Donations can be made onsite and online through Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. Donations over $10 will receive a tax receipt. Thank you for your generous support of the High Park Zoo!

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FHPZ Unveils Master Plan for High Park Zoo

It Starts With A Plan, A Master Plan

On Thursday January 28, 2016 at High Park Forest School following months of collaboration with our stakeholders, Friends of High Park Zoo unveiled its High Park Zoo Master Plan. Click here for more details Master Plan Page.





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High Park Zoo Master Plan Final Presentation

One of North America’s oldest zoos, High Park Zoo, is planning a face lift and we want you to be a part of it.
For over 120 years, the free admission High Park Zoo has been one of the jewels of Toronto. As part of the development of a new Master Plan for High Park Zoo, Friends of High Park Zoo, in collaboration with the City of Toronto, invite members of the public to share their ideas and visions for High Park Zoo.

The Final Public Meeting will focus on presenting the final Master Plan Concept. The Master Plan Concept is the result of input and consultation with the public, government stakeholders and industry experts. It represents a vision for improving the visitor experience, enhancing educational opportunities, increasing accessibility, operations and making the zoo a better place for people and its animal residents.

Date:B Thursday, January 28, 2016 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Location:B High Park Forest School, Colborne Lodge Drive, Toronto, ON

The High Park Forest School is located just inside the main entrance of High Park. The Forest School is fully accessible and bike parking is available.


Public transit:B Take the subway to High Park Station and enter the Park at Colborne Lodge Drive.

Driving: From Bloor Street West: Enter the Park at Colborne Lodge Dr. and follow the one-way loop around West Rd., back to Colborne Lodge Dr. to the Forest School, just past the tennis courts.

From Lake Shore Blvd: Drive north on Parkside Dr. and make a left turn into the park at High Park Blvd. Turn right on Centre Rd., then right on Colborne Lodge Dr. to the Forest School, just past the tennis courts.

From The Queensway: Get onto Lake Shore Blvd. at Ellis Ave. or Colborne Lodge Dr. and follow the directions from Lake Shore Blvd.

There is no access to the Forest School from Colborne Lodge Drive at The Queensway entrance.
Passenger drop-off and limited parking is available within the Park.B Paid on-street parking is available on Bloor Street.

Further Information:
If you are interested in participating but cannot attend in person, please visit our website to view presentation materials. Any comments, ideas or for more information contact the Friends of High Park Zoo at

All information will be collected in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. All comments will become part of the public record, except for personal information.


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FHPZ Launches I Love High Park Zoo Video

Friends of High Park Zoo has launched I Love High Park Zoo, a video that captures the unique spirit of the zoo. Directed by Simone Stock, Vice Chair of Friends of High Park Zoo, the video stars some of the animals and the families who love frequenting the oldest free zoo in North America. Check it out at

High Park Zoo has witnessed remarkable growth in popularity since it was literally saved from closure in 2012. High Park Zoo has seen record attendance growth up 38% from last year to 673,000* visitors in 2015. B This is in large part due to awareness generated by Friends of High Park Zoo and its many volunteers and partners.

Friends of High Park Zoo, in partnership with the City of Toronto, has also embarked on a Master Plan process which aims to plan capital and experience enhancements over the next several years while respecting the heritage of High Park Zoo. The draft Master Plan is scheduled to be presented at a public meeting held at the Forest School in High Park on Wednesday December 16th from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. All are welcome.

* Figures are year-to-date to October 27th 2015 versus the same period in 2014.

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Friends of High Park Zoo Announce Peacock Fundraising Initiative

FHPZ Partners with visual artist Leanne Davies to reproduce High Park Zoo peacock artwork – Starry Night Flyer #Roncesvalles (2015)

Postcards and Posters available at the Llama Pen (for a suggested donation of $1 and $3)

Limited edition GiclC)e prints for sale (a portion of the proceeds donated to High Park Zoo)

Meet Leanne in person at the Llama Pen Saturday October 31, 2015 11:30 am to 1:30 pm

Toronto b October 22, 2015 b Friends of High Park Zoo (FHPZ) has partnered with local visual artist Leanne Davies to raise funds for High Park Zoo. Leanne was inspired by High Park Zoo  infamous resident this summer, the High Park peacock, who toured Roncesvalles and the neighbourhood to help raise awareness for High Park Zoo.

Leanne, along with the entire City of Toronto and including local and followers on Twitter from afar (#TorontoPeacock), was inspired by the escapades of the peacock this past summer and created an original acrylic:B Starry Night Flyer #Roncesvalles (2015).B Critics have called this work: ban embodiment of freedom that captures the spirit of a renegade in all of usb and dream inspiring Goodnight Moon of our day.

FHPZ has entered a licencing agreement to reproduce Leannebs important peafowl work and has printed postcards and posters celebrating Starry Night Flyer #Roncesvalles (2015).B FHPZ will make these mementos available at the llama pen (on weekends at the Llama Pen until the end of October) and other events throughout the remainder of the year. FHPZ is suggesting a $1 and $3 donation to own a piece of local history.

Leanne has also commission a limited edition run of 50 giclC)e prints of Starry Night Flyer #Roncesvalles (2015) that are available for purchase on her website and in person at the Llama Pen at High Park Zoo on Saturday October 31, 2015. These prints retail for $65 ($73.45 including taxes).B Leanne will donate a portion of the proceeds to Friends of High Park Zoo for capital improvements at the Zoo.

The City was so enamoured by the adventures of our peacock this summer, FHPZ wanted to ensure visitors could take home a piece of this history of our fine feathered peafowl,b exclaims John Formosa Chair of the Board of Friends of High Park Zoo.B bThese items not only make a wonderful Christmas or holiday gift but also help to support your local community zoo b High Park Zoo.


In the spring of 2015 the #TorontoPeacock captivated the people of Toronto as it took hiatus from his home @HighParkZoo, one of the oldest zoos in North America. It frolicked on the roof tops of Toronto homes reaching celebrity status on the Internet. #TorontoPeacock inspired local artist Leanne Davies to capture this quintessential moment in High Park Zoo over 120 year history.

Twitter: B #TorontoPeacock #peacock #highparkpeacockontherun @TorontoPeacock @HighParkZoo


About Leanne Davies

Leanne Davies is a visual artist working in Toronto.

Her paintings and drawings feature both people and animals caught in moments that donbt necessarily mesh with reality. Inspired by modernist literature, social media and contemporary culture she illustrates beauty in the absurd and ironic. Desire, identity, and the complexity of human relationships are common themes found in her work.

Born in Victoria, B.C. on the west coast of Canada, she moved to Toronto in 1993 to pursue a visual arts degree at York University (BFA 96).

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