In the last 17 months, I have learned that there is almost nothing more rewarding than a child who is napping from sheer exhausted joy.  That's what JR is doing right now....bliss...

The day started off rather drearily...after a late night, JR decided to wake up earlier than usual and the sky had been threatening rain since the day before.  After lunch I saw some sun poking through the gray clouds.  I perked up at the sight and decided that we needed to get out of the house.  

One of the great things about living in a city like Toronto is that you are never short of things to do.  JR is now at the age where animals and animal noises are fascinating to him.  His vocabulary is still pretty sparse, but he can moo and squwak like a champ, so I figured that a return trip to the fabulous Riverdale Farm was in order.
Picture
Peekaboo!
Riverdale Farm is a true hidden gem.  Nestled in the middle of the Victorian neighbourhood of Cabbagetown (so named for the poor Irish immigrants who dug up their front yards to grow cabbage), this compact farm in the city is a working farm with all the animals you'd expect: cows, donkey, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep and a beautiful Clydesdale horse.  (Sadly, "Dolly" the other Clydesdale passed away last week due to old age.)   

Just inside the entrance is there's a small tuck shop which sells fresh baked goodies (I can't resist the oatmeal raisin cookies), and, if the stars align and you're there at the right time, you can even score some fresh farm eggs.  Having just filled up on lunch - and noticing that the ray of sun I had seen earlier was now hiding behind some menacing-looking clouds - we by-passed the cookies and headed straight for the animals. 

As it wasn't yet raining, most of the animals were outside and the look of excitement on JR's face as he saw the sheep and goats was priceless.  He was practically jumping out of my arms, frantically "baa-ing" and pointing.  He dutifully made each animal noise as we went from pen to pen.

Once we'd seen all the animals, we wandered down the stroller-friendly pathway, which leads to two buildings.  One is a volunteer-run museum, housed in "The Residence", and details the history of Cabbagetown and the Farm.  Across from the museum is "The Meeting Place" where events are held all-year round. In front of The Meeting Place are a few toys for kids to play with when they get bored of following mom and dad around the museum.
And if you're just not ready to head back to the car yet, just behind both buildings is a pathway which connects to the Don Valley Hills & Dales Discovery Walk (click here for a map and more info).  The path is well maintained and is not strenuous at all.  Within minutes you'll forget all about the busy city around you and find yourself enjoying the butterflies flitting about, and even stopping to smell the roses.
Still not convinced that you should hop on a streetcar and visit the Farm?  I've been saving the best for last:  It's open year-round and admission is free!* 

Because this amazing resource is free and so accessible, it means that you can pop in for a quick visit any time, or you can while away a whole afternoon if you like. Riverdale Park is adjacent to the Farm and is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic or those fresh-baked cookies from the tuck shop. The farm is located at 201 Winchester Street (east of Parliament, south of Wellesley and north of Carlton/Gerrard Streets) and is easily accessible by TTC.

For more information on the Farm, visit The Friends of Riverdale Farm website.

*For now anyway: the Farm is currently on the Mayor's chopping block since he made campaign promises to 'cut the gravy' from City Hall and couldn't find any.  He's now looking for ways to find all that money he promised his voters.  For more on this, click here - and sign the petition to keep Riverdale Farm accessible to everyone!  Political rant over.  :)
Victoria
10/28/2011 04:22:04 am

Cute pictures. Good trip for practicing animal sounds.

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7/5/2014 12:49:01 am

Great blog post.

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