Two-year-old twins Ava and Clare Moore giggled as they fed food pellets to the llamas at the High Park Zoo during an open house Saturday morning.
“Tickle, tickle, tickle,” said Clare as a llama eagerly ate from her hand on the morning of Jan. 12.
The twins visit the zoo at least twice a month said their mother, admitting she’s happy the popular family spot is still open.
Parkdale-High Park Councillor Sarah Doucette said the community can take credit for helping to keep the zoo open. Since February of last year, residents have donated more than $100,000 towards saving the zoo. Meanwhile, Friends of High Park Zoo, the advocacy group formed in response to keep the tourist attraction open, raised more than $139,000.
“We have the funds to keep the zoo open until October this year,” Doucette told those who had gathered at the special open house.
For the second year in a row, the Honey Family Foundation has pledged to match dollar for dollar a maximum of $50,000, the councillor told the crowd.
“Today, through to June 15, any donation online you’ll double your donation,” said Doucette.
To operate in 2013, the zoo needs $228,000, which is funded only by public donations. To kick off the Honey Foundation matching campaign, Doucette said the zoo had already received a significant influx: $10,000 from local resident and media mogul Moses Znaimer, founder of Citytv and ZoomerMedia Limited. Znaimer did not attend the open house, yet his donation was met by enthusiastic applause.
“This is your zoo. With your help, we’re still here,” said Doucette.
Currently, Friends of High Park Zoo is looking for volunteers to help out during March Break and through to October. Spokesperson Diane Buckell said the open house raised almost $400 in the donation box at the zoo.
If you are interested in helping save the High Park Zoo, join the Friends of High Park Zoo by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit torontoparksandtrees.org/high-park-zoo if you would like to donate.