Featured Parks

Riverdale Farm

Hand painted Riverdale Farm map on wood by local artist Tim Zeltner

Tour the Farm’s scenic 7.5 acres along pathways through wooded areas, around ponds, and into butterfly-herb-flower-vegetable gardens. Visit the farm animals and chat with the farmer during daily chores. Riverdale Farm is located in a park setting in the heart of the downtown community of Cabbagetown. Admission is free and parking is only available on neighbouring city streets.

Open all year round daily from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free. (including weekends and holidays)

This park features: Historic working farm, scenic pathways, programs and seasonal events, pig and poultry barn, historic Francey Barn, Simpson House, Meeting House, the “Residence”, Old Zoo Ruins

Announcements

Barn Side ViewRiverdale 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 leveled. 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.

The Driveshed

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 city children the chance to see how a farm works.

Three buildings remain from the old Riverdale Zoo:

 1. Donnybrook Ruin stands beside the cow paddock. It was originally a two-storey building, but a tower and a main floor is all that remains today.

 2. 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.

 3. 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.

People lined upLearn and chat with the farmer during daily chores that may include animal feeding, egg collection, cow milking or goat milking (11:30 am daily), horse grooming, and mucking out the stalls-pens-paddocks.

Visit the Residence Saturday and Sundays, 11:00am through 4:00pm, and chat with the Cabbagetown Regent Park Community Museum volunteers, view the exhibits and displays.

Our upcoming program schedule includes:

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 farm@toronto.ca or 416-392-6794.

Note: Dogs, bicycles, in-line skates, foot scooters, ride toys, and vehicles are not permitted on the Farm property. Our lower gate, which allows access to Riverdale Park West/Broadview Avenue footbridge, is open May 1 – November 1, 9:15 am – 4:00 pm daily.

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.

Riverdale Farm – Building a Sustainable Future

The Riverdale Farm Stewardship Group (RFSG) was formed in February 2013 following a City Council directive to create a strong, single voice to seek out sustainable funding, create new learning opportunities and develop the Farm’s financial opportunities for the future.

For more information about RFSG, visit their Facebook page.

RFSG Terms of Reference

The RFSG works closely with the local Ward Councillor, City staff and Riverdale Farms’ numerous stakeholders, partners, and members of the general public to create new and vibrant partnerships that inform, educate and increase public awareness of the role farms have played and continue to play in our lives, now and for future generations.

RFSG Minutes of Meetings 2015 (pdf)
RFSG Minutes of Meetings 2014 (pdf)
RFSG Minutes of Meetings 2013 (pdf)

Goal

The goal of the RFSG is to secure a stable and sustainable funding base to offset the operating costs of Riverdale Farm and ensure existing service levels are maintained or enhanced while remaining accessible to the public.

This goal will be achieved, in part, through activities outlined in the Riverdale Farm Business Plan, considered by Council on July 11, 2012. The Plan includes activities such as fundraising, soliciting sponsorships, establishing strategic partnerships, and facilitating educational and participatory learning that targets our diverse population.

Stewardship Group Members

Riverdale Farm Management Team

The farm is open daily (Monday through Sunday) including holidays from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Riverdale Farm Stewardship Group Photo Contest
May 8 – June 4, 2016

Share your best picture for a chance to win. If you have any questions about this photo contest, please email: riverdalefarmsg@gmail.com

What does Riverdale Farm mean to you? What inspires you to visit the farm? Is it all about the heritage breed animals, the pond, and the garden? Whether it’s the animals, the natural habitat or just the pleasure of enjoying some time exploring, share it.

Riverdale Farm Stewardship Group is looking for photos that show why people should visit the farm.

The top three winning photos will be used to promote the farm. To learn more about Farm in the City photo contest prizes, visit http://bit.ly/RFSGPhotoContestPrizes

Please read all Contest Rules before submitting your entry.

To enter, email your best photo to riverdalefarmsg@gmail.com