Thursday, November 19, 2009
FRIDAY SHOOT OUT: SCARBOROUGH'S MAIN ATTRACTION, THE ZOO
When we were growing up, Toronto had two zoos. One in High Park in the West of the City and one in Riverdale Park for those in the East. They were traditional zoos of their time. Animals were captured in the wild and caged with little thought of the need for exercise or of their social needs.
But in the 1970's Toronto opened a new Zoo.
A zoo committed to meeting the needs of the animals first.
Where animals had the room to move.
And socialize. And play.
Where visitors could learn about the animals they were visiting. Learn about the need to preserve the species in the wild.
Where contact with wild animals could provide what internet photos and books could never do--allow people to experience the animals directly. As something real and tangible. And in need of saving.
The grounds of the Toronto zoo are vast and themed by continent. It is almost impossible to see, and experience the entire zoo in one visit.
So if you are visiting the area plan for more than one visit. Or choose your continent wisely.
The zoo has a personal meaning for us. Not only did we take our children there when they were younger, but both our daughters worked for the zoo for a time when they were in school. Heather took children for rides on camels and Kathy was a grounds keeper. And Kathy's mother-in-Law, Ruth, also works at the zoo.
The Toronto Zoo is situated on the Eastern periphery of the City far from the downtown core, in the vast forests of the Rouge Valley. So if you are visiting it will mean quite a drive to get there, although public transportation is improving.
For us, the zoo is almost on our doorstep.