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Tour the historic working farm’s scenic 7.5 acres through wooded areas, around ponds, and into butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens. Visit the farm animals, tour buildings such as the pig and poultry barn and the Residence and chat with the farmer during daily chores.
The lower gate, which allows access to Riverdale Park West/Broadview Avenue footbridge, is open May 1 – November 1, 9:15 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.
201 Winchester St, Toronto
TTC Information: Travel to Castle Frank Station, eastbound platform. Board the 65 Parliament towards Esplanade. Exit on Parliament Street at Winchester Street. Turn left on Winchester and walk to arrive at 201 Winchester Street.
Click for the Riverdale Farm Map, hand painted on wood by local artist Tim Zeltner.
Riverdale Farm officially opened on September 9, 1978. Originally owned by John Scadding, the City of Toronto purchased what was to be Riverdale Park in 1856. In 1894, the Riverdale Zoo opened to become Toronto’s first zoo, but eventually it was closed in 1974 with the animals relocated to the new Toronto Zoo in Scarborough. From 1974 to 1978, many of the Riverdale Zoo buildings were removed and the site levelled. The Residence, the Donnybrook, and the Island House buildings are the only zoo buildings left remaining on the Riverdale site.
The Francey Barn
This barn is located inside the main gates. Originally built in 1858 on a farm in the Markham Township, it was donated by Mrs Garnett Francey to the City of Toronto in 1977. The Francey Barn is a rare type of architecture, known as a Pennsylvania Bank Barn. Bank Barns are built on the side of hills or river banks. This has the advantage of having an upper and lower floor accessible from ground level. The animals are housed on the lower level, while upstairs the Francey Barn holds tonnes of hay, straw and feed.
The Simpson House
The Victorian-style farmhouse, named after the restoration architect ( Napier Simpson Jr.) who built it, is to the left of the main entrance. It is a reproduction of the original Francey farmhouse to complement the Francey Barn. Public washrooms are located on the ground floor. Wheelchair access is on the north side of the Simpson House.
The Pig and Poultry Barn
This Barn is located to the east of the Simpson House. Domesticated waterfowl, chickens, turkeys and pigs are found in and around this barn. During the day our waterfowl can be found visiting the Duck Pond located across from the Meeting House. The Farm regularly replenishes the flock of chickens and turkeys.
At Riverdale Farm, this building serves a number of purposes and the lower level is open to the public for special events and seasonal education / interpretive programs.
The Meeting House
The three-storey building, completed in 1993 is located at the east-end of Riverdale Farm by the duck pond. Recreational and interpretive activities are offered to the public inside the Meeting House. The farm’s lost and found, first aid, public washrooms and baby changing facilities are all found on the main floor. Pottery and spinning/weaving rooms are located downstairs. Classes are offered seasonally from September to June. The Meeting House is the home base of the Farm’s Summer Camp Programs.
The Old Zoo Ruins
From 1894 to 1974, the Riverdale Zoo was located on this site. When the Metro Zoo opened in Scarborough in 1974, the site was restored as a farm to provide children with the chance to see how a farm works.
Three buildings remain from the old Riverdale Zoo:
- Donnybrook Ruin stands beside the cow paddock. It was originally a two-storey building, but a tower and the main floor is all that remains today.
- Island House sits in the middle of the lower pond. It housed many different kinds of birds and animals during the eighty years of the zoo.
- Resident Zookeeper’s House is located beside the Meeting House. It was built in 1902 by prisoners of the Toronto Don Jail and functioned as a residence, a staff building, zoo hospital, and temporary morgue for the Necropolis Cemetery. Today, the “Residence” (as it is now called) is used for a variety of farm-related and community-based programs.
Learn and chat with the farmer during daily chores that may include animal feeding, egg collection, cow milking or goat milking (11:30 a.m. daily), horse grooming, and mucking out the stalls, pens and paddocks.
Visit the Residence Saturday and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and chat with the Cabbagetown Regent Park Community Museum volunteers, view the exhibits and displays.
Host your child’s (1-8 yrs) birthday party in the Meeting House. To permit facility space in the Residence for your meetings or workshops, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-392-6794.
Riverdale Farm is a representation of a rural farm in Ontario. It is not a petting zoo. We ask that our visitors do not feed the farm animals, as hand feeding can encourage aggressive behaviour and discourage consumption of their controlled nutritional diet.
Note: Dogs, bicycles, in-line skates, foot scooters, ride toys, and vehicles are not permitted on the Farm property.