High Park Zoo avoids closure thanks to donations

The High Park Zoo has received a reprieve and will be open until at least mid-2013.

The High Park Zoo has received a reprieve and will be open until at least mid-2013.

City council voted this week to accept donations for the zoo, which had been slated to close as part of 2012 budget cuts.  

Money to keep the zoo open has come from both private foundations and a number of High Park community initiatives.

"We've raised about $255,000, which is more than a year's worth of keeping the zoo open," Parkdale-High Park Coun. Sarah Doucette said. "The zoo costs $227,000 a year."

The goal now is to come up with a long-term, sustainable business plan, she said.

Doucette said there are big plans for the zoo.

"We want to make this zoo more educational, we want to have more behind-the-scene programming for children, for anyone who'd like to learn about the animals," she said. "It's a well used place and it should stay open for another 119 years."

A separate batch of donations will also mean the return of the Jamie Bell Playground, the park structure that was partially destroyed by arson on March 17.

More than $150,000 has been raised to rebuild, with a community build day set for July 7.