Toronto’s High Park Zoo: A Place of Wonder and Joy


Dr Ravi P Bhatia – TRANSCEND Media Service

Ravi P BhatiaA zoo is an interesting place where animals and birds and sometimes reptiles are kept for display for the benefit of public – a place of wonder and joy. Life of these creatures is important. They are housed in cages under special conditions if there is danger of their survival, or for breeding especially of rare animals such as white tigers and polar bears etc.

Normally there are a few dangerous animals – lions, gorillas and bears who have to be kept in special cages for their own safety. The birds such as multi coloured parrots or woodpeckers have to be kept so that they can fly and flutter around without escaping from their enclosures. Apart from the special diet, these animals and birds require special care. If it becomes very hot or very cold, coolers or heaters have to be arranged in their cells.

There is a small zoo in High Park in Toronto in Canada, which is not really a zoo, but some exotic animals and birds housed in separate enclosures. They provide people, especially children joy and a sense of wonder looking at these exotic creatures.

Some of the rare animals and birds found here are highland cattlellamacapybara, yak, emu, bison, mouflon sheep etc. You may wonder if a mistake has been made in spelling the names of these exotic animals. No, these strange creatures have strange names reflecting their rarities. Capybara is a large grass-eating animal of the family of rodents. It has two front teeth that continue to grow throughout its life. Highland cattle are native to highlands of Scotland and may be black or reddish in colour.

More common animals or birds such as reindeer, peacock are also housed here. A male peacock looks magnificent when it decides to display its beautiful plumage but I missed that sight when I went there.

Not only are these creatures housed in separate enclosures, there are boards informing which are their usual habitats, what are their special characteristics, what are the females or their cubs called and other relevant information. All this to whet one’s curiosity and to educate some of the onlookers in becoming bird watchers and animal lovers.

The park in Toronto, the largest city of the province of Ontario, with its several enclosures, is not really a zoo but as the name suggests a park, where one can park one’s cars or bicycles and bring the children in their buggies. One can walk or run from one cell to the other. One can gaze or gape at the strange bodies and the furs of different creatures. Some of them such as an emu or a yak are shy and do not like to parade themselves or walk the ramp. Others such as the oversized male bison (or bull) are just lazy, lie down most of the time, and wallow in the dust to escape from flies.

Emus are generally found in Australia are long and big sized birds but cannot fly like ostriches. Yaks are strange looking large animals with two horns and long hairs are found in very cold conditions of China, Mongolia and Tibet. They are useful in ploughing fields in Tibet and their milk is also used in making some milk products.

Everyone enjoys the various sights such as a dancing (male) peacock displaying its multi coloured plumage and children do not want to move from these enclosures to the next one. One wishes that there were some other rare animals such a white tiger. But for such creatures one needs to go to a proper zoo.

A visit to this small zoological park in Toronto does not only give pleasure especially to children, but it is a fun filled learning experience where one has a sense of joy and wonder at the beauty of nature.


Dr Ravi P Bhatia – Educationist and Peace Researcher. Retired Professor, Delhi University.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 4 Jul 2016.

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