The Toronto Zoo is one of the largest zoos in Canada, home to over 5,000 animals representing 500 species on more than 700 acres of land adjacent to Canada’s new Rouge National Urban Park. The Zoo offers full-year access to seven bioregion displays with over 10 kilometers of walking trails, including gift shops, exhibits, rides, food services and guest services.

Budget Notes

The Toronto Zoo provides a living centre for education and science, committed to providing compelling guest experiences and inspiring passion to protect wildlife and habitats.

View the Toronto Zoo Program Map in greater detail.

2018 Budget Summary

The total cost to deliver these services to Toronto residents is $52.092 million gross and $12.083 million net.

Through increased Zoomobile revenues, the Zoo is able to partially offset $0.222 million in operating budget pressures, arising mainly from inflationary increases in utilities and cost of living adjustments to staff salaries and benefits, while maintaining 2017 service levels for 2018.

Fast Facts

  • The Toronto Zoo opened its new state-of-the-art Wildlife Health Centre in July 2017, providing guests with a window to behind-the-scenes access to the day-to-day conservation and endangered species breeding and scientific programs in the wildlife health and research subject areas.
  • Toronto Zoo has made significant advances in the area of Reproductive Physiology and species survival most notably with the birth of twin panda cubs in late 2015 that will depart the Zoo in 2018.
  • Species survival success in 2017 is reflected in the birth of cheetahs, clouded leopards, snow leopards, and various reptile species.
  • The release of Blandings turtles was successful in 2017.
  • The Zoo has over 5,000 animals representing over 500 species.


  • Although the Toronto Zoo was affected by labour disruption in May and June 2017, the Zoo will not achieve the budgeted attendance level of 1.325 million due to labour disruption that forced shut down of the Zoo during May and June 2017.
  • The Zoo decreased the attendance projections over the next three years to reflect the Panda departure in March 2018.
  • It is a priority of the Zoo to develop and implement plans to stimulate and sustain current attendance and membership projections to offset the impact of the Panda departure.

Key Service Deliverables for 2018

Toronto Zoo is responsible for the care of over 5,000 animals which represents seven zoogeographic regions. As a living centre for education and science, the Zoo is committed to providing compelling experiences and inspiring passion to protect wildlife and habitats.

The 2018 Operating Budget will enable the Toronto Zoo to:

  • Implement the five (5) year Strategic Plan and the new 2016 Master Plan.
  • Continue collaborative efforts with Parks Canada to maximize the potential benefits associated with the location of the Toronto Zoo adjacent to the Rouge National Urban Park.
  • Obtain/maintain accreditation with various accrediting and regulatory authorities.
  • Pursue all available grants to deliver optimal conservation and research programs.
  • Support the establishment of an independent fundraising charitable organization to raise funds for capital projects, exhibit improvements and conservation and educational programs.
  • Advance the Zoo as a zoo-based conservation centre of excellence.
  • Enhance the guest experience to appeal to a more diverse audience and inspire conservation action.

Our Key Issues and Priority Actions

  • Increase Revenues to address ongoing operational pressures arising from inflationary increases to utilities and cost of living adjustments to salaries and benefits.
    • The 2018 Operating Budget includes a proposed increase to the Zoomobile Program fee by $1, consistent with its fee review cycle and community consultations.
    • The Zoo will also invest $1.4 million in winter- friendly Zoomobiles to enable a winter Zoomobile Program to partially offset the base budget pressures.
  • Establish an Independent Charitable Organization that will focus on Zoo campaigns and raise funds for exhibit improvements, and conservation and education programs.
    • Toronto Zoo will receive increased donations through the newly created organization to support the capital and operating costs thereby reducing the future property tax pressures on the City.

2018 Operating Budget Highlights

  • The 2018 Operating Budget for Toronto Zoo is $52.092 million gross and $12.083 million net representing 0.4% increase to the 2017 Approved Operating Budget.
  • The Agency could not meet the budget target due to increased utility costs and cost of living adjustments
  • Pressures were partially mitigated with savings from the following measures:
    • Base expenditure reductions due to Panda departure ($1.040 million net).
    • Increased revenue from $1 increase in Zoomobile fee ($0.075 million net).
  • Staff complement will increase by 2.0 for winter Zoomobile operations from 2017 to 2018.
  • An expanded Zoomobile Program during the winter season results in:
    • Decrease in net expenditures by $0.099 million 2018 and $0.313 million annually beginning in 2019.
  • The 2018 Operating Budget provides funding for the following core Zoo Services:
    • Zoo Conservation & Science
    • Zoo Fundraising & Strategic Partnerships
    • Zoo Visitor Services

The Toronto Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the world, housing and caring for 5,000 animals over 710 acres (41,000 square meters) with an asset value of $330 million. The Zoo offers full year access to 7 zoogeographic regions with over 10 km of walking trails as well as gift shops, exhibits, rides, food services and guest services.

A new Master Plan was finalized in December 2016 and informed the Zoo’s 2018-2027 Capital Plan of $80.720 million which includes state of good repair (SOGR), service improvement, and growth related projects such as the Orangutan Outdoor Exhibit, Discovery Zone Refurbishment, Wilderness North/Canadian Pavilion, and Winter Zoomobile Vehicles.

The 10-Year Capital Plan will enable Toronto Zoo to position itself as the leader in wildlife conservation and advocacy for wildlife and habitats, in addition to becoming a Zoo-Based Conservation Centre of Excellence and enhancing the visitor-facing services, scientific research, and education programs about the Canadian species and wildlife.

Where Does the Money Go?

The 2018 – 2027 Capital Budget and Plan totalling $80.720 million provides funding of:

  • $54.794 million for the state of good repair projects such as the annual Exhibit Refurbishment and Building and Service Improvements, Orangutan Outdoor Exhibit construction, and Welcome Area Redesign which will enhance the existing areas such as the entrance gift shop and Zoomobile entrance stop.
  • $19.425 million for service improvement projects such as the Winter Accessibility and Zoomobile Improvements, Wilderness North/Canadian Pavilion, and Discovery Zone Refurbishment.
  • $6.501 million entirely dedicated to the growth related Ravens Roost project will offer learning opportunities to the visitors about the surrounding natural environment and the support work that the Zoo is contributing towards conservation efforts.

Where Does the Money Come From?

The 10-Year Capital Plan requires:

  • Debt funding of $60.000 million (74.3%) which meets the 10-Year Debt Affordability Target for Toronto Zoo.
  • Capital from current funding of $1.400 million (1.7%) dedicated to the Winter Zoomobile Vehicles
  • Donations from a third-party charitable organization ($19.320 million or 23.9%).

State of Good Repair Backlog

The 10-Year Capital Plan spending on State of Good Repair is $54.794 million which will decrease the accumulated backlog from $75.656 million in 2018 to an anticipated $28.182 million by 2027. The SOGR backlog as a per cent of asset replacement value will decrease from 22.9% in 2018 to 8.5% by 2027.

Key Issues and Priority Actions

  • Collaboration Agreement with the Rouge Urban National Park may present opportunities for efficiencies and service expansion for both Toronto Zoo and Parks Canada.
    • The Board of Management of the Toronto Zoo has approved the Shared Facility feasibility study which would be cost shared between the City and Parks Canada.
    • This is a time-sensitive undertaking as it is required to commit to this project by 2018, as matching funds from Parks Canada must be spent by 2021.
  • Maximizing Fundraising Efforts for Capital Projects will significantly improve visitor experiences at the Zoo and lessen the future debt pressures for the City.
    • The Zoo is in the process of supporting the establishment of an independent third-party charitable organization which will manage and attract sponsorships and donations on behalf of Toronto Zoo and contribute to key capital priorities.
    • The 10-Year Capital Plan includes $19.320 million or 23.9% in donation contributions partially funding the SOGR, Service Improvement, and Growth Related projects.

2018 Capital Budget Highlights

The 2018 Capital Budget for Toronto Zoo of $8.020 million, excluding carry forward funding, will:

  • Purchase two additional Winter Zoomobile vehicles thereby offering a year-round zoomobile service to visitors ($1.400 million).
  • Continue the annual maintenance projects such as the Exhibit Refurbishments ($0.250 million), the Information Systems ($0.350 million), Grounds and Visitor Improvements ($1.450 million), and Building and Services Refurbishment ($1.270 million).
  • Continue the interior refurbishment and begin the construction work of the Outdoor Exhibit extension for the Orangutans ($4.000 million).

Toronto Zoo 2018 Budget Infographic
Toronto Zoo Infographic