A milestone year at High Park Zoo is marked with the return of popular llama-pen activities and fundraising for significant Phase II Master Plan renovations

For release: September 26, 2023

(Toronto, ON): In 1893, a deer pen and aviary animal display opened to the public at the newly established High Park. Over the decades, it evolved into High Park Zoo – a bustling, community hub that pre-pandemic welcomed approximately 600,000 visitors annually to enjoy more than 40 furry and feathered residents. A visit to High Park Zoo has become a multi-generational family tradition for many residents of Toronto and beyond. 

For its 130th – tridecacentennial – year, Friends of High Park Zoo (FHPZ), a volunteer-driven registered charity, has reopened its popular llama-pen activities on weekends and statutory holidays (noon to 2 p.m., weather dependent,) where visitors can feed Honey the llama and her herd for a donation of $2, and engage with an educational touch table and other activities.

The opening of the purpose-built llama and capybara building, Toronto’s only structure of its kind, closes Phase I of FHPZ’s Master Plan. The animals’ home includes heaters for its capybaras Bonnie and Clyde, whose claim to fame is an escape from the Zoo in 2016, much needed storage for food and equipment and an improved area for visitors to get up close with the llamas during feeding sessions.

To honour its milestone anniversary, FHPZ has launched a $30-for-130 fundraising campaign. “To keep the Zoo an accessible and free space for our community, we rely on the public’s generosity,” says Sarah Doucette, Chair of FHPZ. “After 130 years of operations, the Zoo is due for major renovations, which we hope to break ground on in the near future once we’ve secured the required funds.”

Phase II of FHPZ’s Master Plan will include improvements to walkways, a complete resurfacing of the roadway, landscaping upgrades, an outdoor education space, a donor wall, more seating and the installation of bioswales to mitigate rainwater issues.

Donations to the Zoo’s $30-for-130 anniversary fundraising campaign can be made here. Your donation of $30 will receive a tax receipt, and an external party will match total funds raised up to $1300.

About Friends of High Park Zoo (FHPZ)
For the past 10 years, FHPZ – volunteer-driven registered charity – has been working tirelessly to keep the High Park Zoo open and a free community space. Its board members create opportunities to raise sustainable funding from individual donors, corporations, and local businesses, by way of one-time giving, legacy donations, and through supporting FHPZ events. 

Media contact:
Keiko Kataoka
Board Member, Friends of High Park Zoo