Toronto

Yes, it's a monorail ... and the Toronto Zoo could get it for free

The Toronto zoo board could decide as early as Thursday whether the Scarborough attraction is going to get a high-tech monorail for free.

Zoo board to decide Thursday whether to accept a new $25M train to replace closed monorail

Magnovate has submitted a proposal to build a magnetic levitation train line at the Toronto Zoo. (magnovate.com)

The Toronto zoo board could decide as early as Thursday whether the Scarborough attraction is going to get a high-tech monorail.

An Edmonton-based transportation company wants to build a cutting-edge magnetic levitation train on the site of the original zoo monorail.  The train comes with a $25-million price tag, but the company, Magnovate Transportation, is willing to build it for free.

Zoo spokesperson Jennifer Tracey says the transportation company is looking for exposure. 

"They ultimately want to have an area here in Canada where they can showcase their technologies," she told CBC Toronto. 

"So it's a win-win. They can showcase the maglev technology as well as create a new attraction here at the zoo."

Magnovate Transportation has been talking to the city and Toronto Zoo management board since 2016. 

The electric train is frictionless and almost silent. It would take guests all over the park year-round, replacing the monorail that closed in 1994.

"It would be on the existing monorail track at the zoo," said Tracey.

"It would take you into the Canadian Domain; right now visitors have to walk into that area. This will allow guests to see more of the zoo, more of the animal areas enhancing the guest experience."

 Magnovate has already satisfied the city of Toronto and the Conservation Authority approval requirements for the construction, it's now up to the zoo board to decide on Thursday at a city hall meeting whether to go ahead with the project.  

 If approved, the new train ride would require an additional ticket on top of zoo admission, possibly between $12 and $15. 

In addition to bringing in more visitors, a staff report estimates the new ride would generate a net figure of at least $750,000 annually that the zoo would share with the company.   

Zoo staff are recommending the board approve the plan.   

Under the proposal, Magnovate would pay for all capital costs to build the train and operate the ride for 15 years.  

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