A Winter Day at Riverdale Farm
It can be a challenge to finding family fun in the middle of Winter but think Riverdale Farm! Amidst this year’s cold harsh Winter, a recent balmy day led us to a visit to this quaint little farm in the heart of city. Though the butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens were submerged in snow, the charming pathways through snowy wooded areas and around frozen ponds made for picturesque scenery.
The Riverdale Farm buildings and natural surroundings reflect a typical, small Ontario farm of the late 19th to early 20th century. The Farm is home to a variety of domestic farm animals that were on hand to greet us. Though many of the farm activities aren’t conducted during the Winter, a visit to the farm is still a great way to experience animals up-close.
Did you know that the Riverdale Farm was originally the site of Toronto's first zoo: The Riverdale Zoo? It was located on the west bank of the Don River and operated from 1894 to 1974. When the zoo closed, many of the animals relocated to a new and larger facility in Scarborough, currently known as the Toronto Zoo. Walking through the Farm today is a walk through an important piece of Toronto's history. The Residence, the Donnybrook, and the Island House remain as part of the original zoo buildings. Far from being an "old zoo ruin," today's Riverdale Farm is an engaging and educational urban attraction. When the zoo closed, the site was restored as a farm to let city children see how a farm works and to experience animals.
Admission is free though the farm relies heavily on the support of the public to help maintain its operations -- donations are greatly appreciated. Riverdale Farm is open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Parking is only available on neighbouring city streets.
Riverdale Farm is located 3 blocks east of Parliament Street along Winchester Street or 3 blocks north of Gerrard Street East along Sumach Street.