Last week my normally amicable relationship with my city, Toronto faltered. I wanted to know why my city hated children, parks and animals and why it was so hell bent on taking away things I planned on sharing with my kids. First some 19 year old decided to torch Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park*, what a selfish jerk - I'll leave it at that. Then Edward Keenan's article in Grid Magazine reminded me about the impending closure of High Park Zoo due to lack of city funding, a park deed that won't allow for set admission rates and not enough time to secure corporate sponsorship**. My husband asked me to write this because although I can't stop an a-hole with a pack of matches, I can promote our High Park Zoo.
After we parked our car, unfolded our mammoth double stroller and walked our entourage into the gates of The Animal Paddocks I felt the love that our city has for High Park Zoo. Signs and pictures line the fences asking to save the animals, volunteers collect donations via the drop box, animal feed, colouring books, peacock feathers and other park mementos. Essentially the zoo has until the end of June to raise $100,000 to run the park until year end, however the animals will begin to move out of the park in the beginning of June if the zoo isn't making significant progress towards their targeted fundraising goal.
As we walked the road in the paddocks I would like to say that Molly and Jack were amazed by the animals. They weren't. Jack passed out in the back of the stroller doing that weird exorcist thing he does with his head and Molly slumped in her seat and alternated between napping and glaring at people.
Some of the animals you may see at High Park Zoo. (photographs by Shawn Nolan)
I left the park feeling a little more love for the people of our city and wanting to go back to The Paddocks soon, when Molly and Jack are awake . I'm going to try to go once a month in April, May and June with a sack full of change and an even bigger entourage to support the park and enjoy it while it's still around. If you can't make it into the park or if you want to donate a little more, you can online and will get a tax receipt for donations over $10.00: http://torontoparksandtrees.org/high-park-zoo