Riverdale Farm is a 7.4-acre (3-hectare) farm in the heart of Cabbagetown, an urban neighbourhood in Toronto, on the west bank of the Don River adjacent to Riverdale Park. This farm exists since 1978 and it is maintained and operated by Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division.
The farm is located on the site of the Riverdale Zoo which existed here since 1888. But in 1974, the zoo relocated to a much larger facility in Scarborough and became the Toronto Zoo.
Today, the farm specializes in pioneer breeds of farm animals that are hard to find on commercial farms. We can see there poultry, waterfowl, sheep, goats, cows, horses, pigs and donkeys.
Three buildings remain from the old Riverdale Zoo: Donnybrook Ruin stands beside the cow paddock. It was originally a two-storey building, but a tower and a main floor is all that remains today; Island House which sits in the middle of the lower pond. It housed different kinds of birds and animals during the eighty years of the zoo; Resident Zookeeper’s House is located beside the Meeting House. It was built in 1902 by prisoners of the Toronto Don Jail and functioned as a residence, a staff building, zoo hospital, and temporary morgue for the Necropolis Cemetery (today the “Residence” (as it is now called) is used for a variety of farm-related and community-based programs).
The Francey barn, the main barn on the site was first constructed in 1858 in Markham and moved to the present site and rebuilt in 1977. The Residence, the Donnybrook, and the Island House buildings are the only zoo buildings left remaining on the Riverdale site. Recreational and interpretive activities are offered to the public inside the Meeting House.
The farm hast Lost and Found room, first aid, public washrooms and baby changing facilities. Pottery and spinning/weaving rooms are also located here. Classes are offered seasonally from September to June. The Meeting House is the home base of the Farm’s Summer Camp Programs.
According to the Wikipedia, in 2011 a consultant report recommended the closure of the Riverdale farm along with the High Park Zoo as a means to cut cost for the city of Toronto. In 2013, the W. Garfield Weston Foundation made a CAD $25 million donation to provide funds to keep the farm operating in the short term.
Riverdale Farm is located three blocks east of Parliament Street along Winchester Street or 3 blocks north of Gerrard Street East along Sumach Street. Admission is free and parking is only available on neighbouring city streets. The farm is open all year round daily, including weekends and holidays.
Address of the Riverdale Farm: 201 Winchester Street, Toronto.
A view of Riverdale Farm. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Visitors can tour the Farm’s scenic lands along pathways through wooded areas, around ponds, and into butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Visit the farm animals and chat with the farmer during daily chores. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Did you know that horses and ponies sleep standing up? Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Accessibly located in the city of Toronto, the Riverdale Farm offers a pleasant and relaxing experience to animal lovers and enthusiasts wishing to watch our furry friends. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
As per the pictures, the Riverdale farm showcases friendly dairy goats, cows and many others. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
We still wonder who the sleeping ball of fur in the barn was? Seemed a bit large for a cat, and too shiny a coat for a dog… Your guess is as good as ours… Just let us know if you visit! Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Hi, how are you doing? Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
The Francey Barn is a rare type of architecture, known as a Pennsylvania Bank Barn. Bank Barns are built on the side of hills or river banks. This has the advantage of having an upper and lower floor accessible from ground level. The animals are housed on the lower level, while upstairs the Francey Barn holds tonnes of hay, straw and feed. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Domesticated waterfowl, sheep, chickens, turkeys and pigs are found on and around the site. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
The site was restored by the city of Toronto as a farm to provide city children the chance to see how a farm works. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Rwo proud cows on the Riverdale Farm. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
A farm cart at the entry of the Riverdale Farm. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Sheep. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Hi, 'm a Sheeplady. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen
Welcome to the Riverdale Farm. Photo : © Megan Jorgensen