Riverdale Farm, once Toronto's first zoo, is now the only working farm in the heart of Toronto. It boasts a series of historic buildings, flower gardens, wooded areas and ponds. Its magnificent tulip garden is now in full bloom.
Toronto's Riverdale Farm has a long history. The City of Toronto bought the land from John Scadding in 1856. It eventually became the location of Toronto's first zoo when Riverdale Zoo opened in 1894. The zoo remained active until 1974 when the animals were moved to the then-new Toronto Zoo in Scarborough.
Most of the buildings of the Riverdale Zoo site were removed and the site was transformed into a working city-centre farm in Toronto's historic Cabbagetown. Only three of the original zoo buildings remain, while other buildings were added over time.
The farmhouse, known as The Simpson House, is a reproduction of an original farmhouse. It is surrounded by a colourful flower garden.
Sheep shearing and shorn sheep at Toronto's city-centre Riverdale Farm
Riverdale Farm is located on top of a ravine. Follow the wooded trails descending into the ravine to reach the farm's ponds. We are currently having a late spring, and while lots of trees can be seen, they haven't yet reached the glorious green wooded effect we can see in summer. We see merely a promise of things to come.
Periwinkles (Vinca minor) at Toronto's city-centre Riverdale Farm
Riverdale Farm is open every day from 9 AM to 5 PM. It is well worth a visit for everybody. If you live in the city, it is a unique chance to see a working farm in operation, without leaving the city and braving hours of traffic jams.