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Run in support of High Park Zoo during this year’s Scotiabank marathon

inside_toronto

July 11, 204: Bloor West Villager

The Friends of High Park Zoo is looking for a few good runners (or not-so-good runners).

The group is seeking runners in this year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon to run and fundraise in the name of animals that call the zoo home.

Consider this: the Toronto Zoo attracted as many as 1.4 million visitors last year while the High Park Zoo, at a fraction of the size, attracted more than 500,000 visitors in 2013, said Friends of High Park Zoo vice-chair Simone Stock.

Torontonians managed successfully to keep the zoo from closure in the wake of the citybs decision to cut funding in 2012, raising more than $340,000 to keep the zoo in operation over the past two years. Since the zoo’s funding was restored at the end of January, Friends has turned its attention to capital projects to enhance and sustain the facility.

“The zoo is desperate for capital improvements,” Stock said.

The goal is to enhance the zoo for both animals and visitors. This includes creating a much larger watering hole for the llamas so they can cool off in hot weather and update their stable.

The goal is also to re-do the surface of the front of the pen where visitors go in to feed the llamas,

The Friends of High Park Zoo is in the midst of a fundraising match campaign with help from the Honey Family Foundation.

Over the past two years, the Honey Family Foundation matching initiatives have raised more than $200,000 in support of the zoo. This year, the organization has agreed to increase the size of the matching program by 20 per cent to $60,000. If friends can raise $60,000 by the end of June, the Honey Family Foundation will match the funds for a total of $120,000.

Friends is just under half way to reaching its goal of $60,000. Given the late start this year due to weather, the deadline has been extended to July 31.

As part of the annual waterfront marathon, the Friends of High Park Zoo will host a neighbourhood cheering section to encourage not only those running in the name of the zoo, but all participants on Oct. 14.

“It’s a fun, community event that takes place on the waterfront,” Stock said.

Anyone interested in running for the High Park Zoo can contact Stock atB insurgent.simone@gmail.com

For further details, visitB www.highparktoronto.com/zoo

Click here to see the article by Inside Toronto.