Toronto Zoo

Toronto Zoo

Toronto ZooAddress

361A Old Finch Ave
M1B 5K7


Size of the Zoo

Toronto Zoo is set upon 287 ha (710 acres).


Toronto’s first zoo was established during 1888 with the donation of some deer. It was known as Riverdale Zoo and showed animals for the enjoyment of people in cramped conditions.

The story of the modern Toronto Zoo begins in 1963 when a private citizens brief was put forward to the Council of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

They established the Metro Toronto Zoological Society in 1966 with eleven members. They would investigate the feasibility of establishing a new zoo.

1967 saw the project allocated a site with a feasibility study submitted the next year. It would take another year for a masterplan for the site to be finalised.

During 1970 the zoo was appointed a director who would oversee construction. It began with the clearing and grading of the site. It would take another 4 years for the zoo to be completed and ready to open.

The opening of the zoo took place on 15th August 1974. It ushered in a new era increasing the size of the site from the 3ha (7.4 acres) at Riverdale Zoo to 287 ha (710 acres) at the new site.

1976 saw the opening of a monorail running to the Canadian Domain.

A pair of giant pandas were loaned to the zoo from China during 1985 leading to a large increase in attendances.

During 1988 the zoo opened a primate wing in the Americas pavilion. The next year a caracal lynx exhibit was opened.

The Malayan Woods pavilion was opened in 1993.

Wombats were bred at the zoo for the first time in 1994 and the following year the zoo bred Tasmanian devils for the first time in North America.

A major expansion of the zoo occurred in 1998 when they opened the African savanna.

During 2000 the zoo introduced the Gorilla Rainforest exhibit.

In 2002 the zoo opened an interactive lorikeet habitat as well as the Aussie walkabout exhibits. Phase one of the Zellers Discovery Zoo, Zellers splash island also opened in 2002 followed by Phase two the next year which was an amphitheatre. A final place opened in 2004, the kid’s zoo.

2008 saw the zoo finish a renovation on the Australasia Pavilion which added a Great Barrier Reef exhibit including bamboo sharks, seahorses and moon jellies amongst others.

The next year the zoo opened Tundra Trek featuring new exhibits for the polar bears, artic foxes, reindeers and more.

An African penguin habitat opened during 2011.

A decision to send the zoo’s remaining elephants to an unaccredited sanctuary by the Toronto City Council against zoo staff recommendations meant that in April 2012 the zoo lost its accreditation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Later in 2012 the zoo was granted a loan of two giant pandas for 5 years by the Chinese government.

They arrived in Toronto on March 25, 2013 with their exhibit opening on May 18th that year. They will stay at the Toronto zoo till 2018 after which they will move to Calgary Zoo. Their exhibit is also the home of a giant Chinese salamander, the first on exhibit in Canada.

Later in 2013 the zoo sent their elephants to a PAWS sanctuary in California.

In 2014 the Eurasia Wilds Zoomobile Drive Through opened as did a new giraffe exhibit.

2015 saw the zoo breed the first giant panda cubs to be bred in Canada.

Number of Animals

Toronto Zoo houses over 5000 animals which represent upwards of 460 species.


Conservation Carousel

Take a ride on one of the many endangered species which have been carved in to this carousel.

Tundra Air

Zoom across the zoo’s Tundra Trek habitat at up to 48km/hr. In a one or two seater chair, you can take in a view across the Toronto zoo.

Gorilla Ropes Climb Course

Take a climb through the air like a gorilla on the Toronto zoo’s rope course. There are 26 course elements located across the three levels.

Zoomobile Ride

This ride transports visitors around Toronto zoo with four stops for you to move between. In some places, it takes you through the exhibits for a closer look.

Splash Island

This 0.81ha (2 acres) interactive water play area allows visitors to the Toronto zoo to cool off.

Star Animals

Er Shun and Da Mao

This pair of giant pandas arriving at Toronto Zoo during 2013 and are staying at the zoo till 2018 when they will move to Calgary. Chosen as a good match for breeding they proved themselves when they gave birth to twins during 2015.

Main Exhibits


This area is the home of Sumatran tigers, orangutans, clouded leopards, Indian rhinoceros and a butterfly house. The animals live inside the Indo Malaya Pavilion or Malayan Woods Pavilion with some having access to outside areas as well.


When it opened in 1998 this exhibit became the biggest expansion of the zoo in history. It features giraffes, hyenas, lions including a family of white lions, hippos, antelope and African penguins.

Inside the African rainforest Pavilion the zoo houses rainforest species which may not cope with the cold as well as the other animals. These include gorillas, pygmy hippos, West African dwarf crocodiles and a group of ring tailed lemurs.

The Americas

This space is made up of two main exhibits. The Americas pavilion features amphibians, reptiles, monkeys, sloth, American alligators, beavers and river otters amongst others.

Meanwhile at the Mayan temple ruins habitat species from South America such as the macaws, American flamingos, spider monkeys and jaguar can be seen.


At home in the Australasia pavilion are species such as the Southern hairy-nosed wombat, kookaburra, cockatoos, tree kangaroos, Komodo dragons and swamp wallabies. Also exhibited are Australian reptiles and insects.

A major feature of the habitat is the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium where species such as jellyfish, lion fish, brownbanded bamboo sharks and seahorses are on display.


On display in this area are snow leopards, Steller’s sea eagles, Bactrian camels, red pandas and Przewalski’s horse. Also, included in this space are species only visible from the Zoomobile ride such as yaks and mouflon.

Giant Panda Experience

Located in Eurasia is the home for a pair of Giant Pandas on loan from China till 2018. The habitat features an interpretive centre where you can learn about giant pandas and the habitats where the pair are on display.

Canadian Domain

This area located down in a valley provides a naturalistic habitat for the zoo’s Canadian species. On display, here are bison, moose, cougar, bald eagle, lynx, racoons and grizzly bears amongst others.

Tundra Trek

Opened in 2009 this habitat is home to tundra species such as artic foxes and wolves, snow geese, reindeers and snowy owls. A 2ha (5 acre) polar habitat is the feature of this area.