Toronto

Foundation will match $50K in High Park Zoo donations

Toronto's High Park Zoo has been offered a financial lifeline that could keep the facility running for the immediate future.
Toronto's High Park Zoo, seen in this file photo, costs about $227,000 to operate each year, according to Coun. Sarah Doucette. (Merita Ito/Canadian Press)

Toronto’s High Park Zoo has been offered a financial lifeline that could keep the facility running for the immediate future.

During a community meeting on Monday night, Ward 13 Coun. Sarah Doucette revealed that the Honey Family Foundation has offered to match up to $50,000 in donations that are collected by June 15.

The foundation plans to do the same next year and the year after that.

The zoo’s supporters have already raised thousands of dollars, in hopes of staving off a closure of the west-end facility.

Earlier Monday, Doucette told CBC Radio’s Here and Now that the forthcoming funding announcement had the potential to keep the zoo going for the next few months.

Coun. Sarah Doucette announced an offer from the Honey Family Foundation to match up to $50,000 in donations to the High Park Zoo. (Ivy Cuervo/CBC)

"What I can tell you is if residents agree with the offer, we could raise the $100,000 we need to keep the zoo open until the end of this year, which would prevent it closing at the end of June," Doucette said.

Doucette said the offer could buy time for the zoo’s proponents to locate suitable sponsors and sustainable funding.

"If the city’s not going to fund this zoo, we’ll find people who will," she said.

Doucette said the west-end zoo costs about $227,000 to operate each year.

While an interim donation could help solve the zoo’s problems for the short-term, Doucette said there is still no plan for the future.

She said that the zoo should not be forced to fight for its survival after so many decades of operation.

"It’s been around for over 112 years, it survived two world wars and the Great Depression. How can we close it now for $200,000?"

With files from the CBC's Ivy Cuervo