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toronto zoo master plan

The Toronto Zoo is getting a brewery and yurts for overnight stays in huge revamp

Though we haven't been able to frequent the Toronto Zoo as much as usual over the last two years, the animals and their keepers have been staying busy, and we can look forward to an array of new baby critters on our return — plus a whole lot more, if a new master plan for the site is approved.

While the attraction just reopened to the public on Feb. 10, the zoo of today looks a whole lot different than the zoo of future years, which is set to have a ton of exciting new activities and amenities that will completely change up the experience.

A hulking 300-page plan was presented to the zoo's board yesterday, and provides a thorough roadmap for implementing the complete $323 million revamp over the next 20 years to make the park one of the best in the world.

toronto zoo master plan

New pavilions, such as Gorrilaland, will feature walk-through tunnels 360 degree views, live sound that reflects animal activities, and educational features accessed through a new Zoo App. Rendering from the Toronto Zoo's new master plan.

We can look forward to things like a new on-site hotel, restaurant, all-new pavilions and viewing areas, rooftop attractions, convertible events spaces, a daycare offering hands-on engagement with the animals, new apps and other digital experiences, and more.

toronto zoo master plan

Some animal enclosures will be able to be converted into events spaces during the warmer months. Rendering from the Toronto Zoo's new master plan.

There will also be a full brewery complete with an upper space accessible by the zoo's orangutans, allowing us to watch and interact with them closely, as well as rentable all-season yurts — complete with WiFi and room service — overlooking animal habitats for overnight stays.

toronto zoo master plan

Year-round yurts can be rented for overnight stays, a more engaging alternative to the all-new hotel on the property.  Rendering from the Toronto Zoo's new master plan.

The plan also features a slew of innovative sustainability initiatives, like the fact that waste from the brewery will be used to heat the adjoining monkey habitat, and the additions of a biodigester attached to the restaurant, a new forage farm, and a full-on conservation research facility.

toronto zoo master plan

A new brewery will dedicate its upper portion to an orangutan enclosure, allowing diners to get up close and personal with the animals. Sustainability features are also built-in. Rendering from the Toronto Zoo's new master plan.

Within the massive upgrades are thoughtful details that make the visitor experience that much better and more immersive — among them, a series of suspended lines for animal use (that we can walk beneath) and human use (so we can interact eye-to-eye with animals higher up in pavilion spaces), and better use of vegetation to divide enclosures from the public, renaturalize and hide fencing for views that feel more up-close.

toronto zoo master plan

A suspended series of lines will connect pavilions, with some for animal use (which guests can walk beneath) and some for guest use (so humans can interact eye-to-eye with animals in trees). Rendering from the Toronto Zoo's new master plan.

An incredible amount of research and work has clearly gone into devising the impressive plan, which is forward-thinking in its uses of technology, inclusion of art and immersive experiences, and complete reimagining of the layout and workings of the property.

If it moves forward, it will hopefully render the zoo a world-renowned attraction and multi-use space for years to come, now easier to access from the city than ever.

Lead photo by

the Toronto Zoo's new master plan


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