Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Riverdale Farm in #Toronto

Nature beckons along the banks of the Don River Valley where a perfect place exists to spend an afternoon wandering the hobby farm and watching the livestock relaxing in the sun. This site was originally home to Toronto's first zoo, beginning in 1894 and which closed in 1974. When the exotic zoo animals were relocated to the Toronto Zoo the City brought in domestic farm animals like those found in a typical late 19th century Ontario farm. This place will be gorgeous in fall with the changing colours of leaves during the approach of winter.
Original farm buildings such as the Residence, the Donnybrook and Island House are still located on the site and provide places to explore. Open 9 to 5 year round, including weekends and holidays, the site is great for families with small children where they can see a farm in operation and maybe see some baby animals - and it's free.

Tour Riverdale Farm’s "scenic 7.5 acres along pathways through wooded areas, around ponds, and into butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens, watch and chat with the farmer during daily chores and meet the animals at the pig and poultry barn, duck pond and in the unique Francey Barn, where animals live on the lower level."

A farmer's market featuring locally-grown seasonal produce and baked goods also operates Tuesdays from 3-7 pm from late May to early October.
Adjacent to the farm is Riverdale Park (East and West) which is a great place to toboggan in winter, and a pedestrian bridge crosses the Don River and the Don Valley Parkway. You can walk down the pathway leading to the valley floor and pass by several small ponds covered in a green blanket. From a distance the water cover seems like scum, but when you get close you see it is a layer of small, aquatic plants known as Duckweed. The floating, round plants number in the gazillions and cover all of the available surface area of the pond.

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