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High Park Zoo gets city funding restored in 2014 Toronto budget

High Park Zoo gets city funding restored in 2014 Toronto budget

More than 24,300 signatures presented in petitions offering support

January 31, 2014

Bloor West Villager

By Lisa Rainford

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Toronto city council officially reinstated the High Park Zoo’s annual operating cost of $228,000 when it finalized the 2014 budget Thursday, Jan. 30.

Calling council’s decision bbrilliant news,b Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette said she presented petitions boasting more than 24,300 signatures in support of the zoo, including more than 950 from children. It took Doucette and two of her colleagues to carry the pile into council.

bYou couldn’t see me behind my desk,b she said.

Friends of High Park Zoo, organized in the wake of the city’s decision to cut funding in 2012, raised more than $340,000 to keep the zoo in operation over the past two years.

“Thank you to our visitors, volunteers and all of our stakeholders for helping to raise awareness and support for High Park Zoo over the past two years,b said Chair John Formosa in a statement. bWith over one million visitors passing through the gates since the beginning of 2012, Toronto residents have shown that the 120-year-old High Park Zoo is a valuable resource that should be supported by their tax base.”

Now that operating funding has been restored to the zoo, Friends of High Park Zoo said it will be looking to include capital project fundraising this year in an effort to improve and enhance the zoo b this in addition to running the llama pen and other family activities throughout the year. The goal is to make the zoo more accessible to the public, improving the animal paddocks and creating more educational components for visitors.

Even though funding has been restored, the Friends’ vision remains unchanged: bTo ensure there is always a free community zoo in High Park for families to enjoy.b

Its mission is bto 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.b

Visit highparkzoo.ca