Bowmanville Zoo

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Entrance to the Bowmanville Zoo.
Bowmanville Zoo
Date opened 1919
Location 340 King Street East, Bowmanville, Ontario, CAN
Coordinates 43°54′46″N 78°40′06″W / 43.912811°N 78.668456°W / 43.912811; -78.668456Coordinates: 43°54′46″N 78°40′06″W / 43.912811°N 78.668456°W / 43.912811; -78.668456
Land area 42 acres (17 ha)
Number of animals 300
Memberships CAZA[1]

Bowmanville Zoo is a zoo in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. It is one of the largest suppliers of animals for Hollywood movies and television programs.[2][citation needed] It is Canada's oldest private zoo;[citation needed] founded in 1919, it now hosts over 300 animals. The zoo allows children to ride on the backs of a camels.

About 100,000 people visit the zoo each year.[3]


The land now occupied by the zoo, on the banks of Soper Creek, was part of the grounds of the Cream of Barley Mill, located further south on the creek. The mill owner developed a campground and park for tourists, aptly named "The Cream of Barley Campground", on the part of the property that was near the highway.[4] Later, a petting zoo was added to the park.[5]

By 1928, the mill, camp, and park (which now included tourist cabins) were owned James Morden and operated by Alfred Shrubb, formerly a world-renowned long distance runner.[6] By 1946, the park included tennis courts.[7]

Over time, the zoo aspect of the business became more prominent, and the cabins were turned into animal shelters and storage buildings.


Some of the animal talent include or have included:[citation needed]


The zoo once had seven elephants with a mix of African and Asian.

Limba was the lone Asian elephant at the zoo, arrived in 1989 and was euthanized in late 2013 at the age of 50 after falling ill. The pachyderm was well known for appearing in Bowmanville's annual Santa Claus Parade and several movies.[10][11] With her death and closure of Toronto Zoo's elephant exhibit, the only zoo in Ontario with elephants is the African Lion Safari.

Traveling exhibits[edit]

Animals from the Bowmanville Zoo are sometimes displayed as part of shows in various parts of Canada.[12][13]

Two camels, Shawn and Todd, along with Jonas the tiger, went missing for two days on the way home from one of these trips when their trailer, along with the truck pulling it, was stolen near Drummondville, Quebec in 2010. All three were found in good health and returned to the zoo.[14]


The zoo participates in breeding programs for endangered species, and also accepts retired circus animals.[15]


  1. ^ "Membership Directory". Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  2. ^ Bowmanville zoo baby births., 28 March 2010.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. animal rights group wants to stop transfer of circus elephant to Bowmanville zoo". National Post
  4. ^ McNamara, Robert. "How We Rediscovered Canada in 1928" The Crooked Lake Review, November 1993.
  5. ^ "Flashback". CHEX TV, 22 June 2012.
  6. ^ Humber, William. Bowmanville: A Small Town at the Edge. Natural Heritage Books, 1997.
  7. ^ "Bowmanville Tennis club rallies to save courts". Oshawa This Week, 7 October 2009.
  8. ^ Clinton, Julie. "Movie Reviews the Ghost and the Darkness". Entertainment Scene 360.
  9. ^ "Bowmanville zoo tiger who starred in Life of Pi remembered fondly". Metro, 26 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Limba the elephant euthanized at Bowmanville Zoo". CBC News. December 3, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ O'Connor, Kevin. "Stolen Bowmanville Zoo animals found safe". Toronto Sun, 22 June 2010.
  13. ^ McCready, Lindsay. "Bowmanville Zoo at the fair". Moose Jaw Times, 20 June 2013.
  14. ^ "Shawn, Todd, Jonas back home in Bowmanville Zoo". Ottawa Citizen.
  15. ^ U.S. group opposes planned move of circus elephant to Bowmanville Zoo. the Canadian Press, 26 February 2013.

External links[edit]