Located at Toronto’s picturesque Centre Island amusement park, Far Enough Farm has been a popular tourist spot since 1959, making it one of the oldest attractions in the city.
Far Enough Farm is a longstanding Centre Island staple,
says Tanya Kavcic, operations support officer in the General Manager’s Office at the Parks, Forestry and Recreation department of the City of Toronto. This is not just any petting zoo, either. This is a fully functioning farmyard that welcomes visitors — young and old — every single day of the year, including holidays.
The Farm is one of the few year-round attractions at the Toronto Islands,
continues Kavcic. And if that isn’t enough to set your tongues wagging, admission to Far Enough Farm is absolutely free!
Although an exact visitor count is difficult to determine for Far Enough Farm (because it stays open 365 days a year and because of its free admission), the Toronto Island ferry counts over 1.2 million visitors per year! Visitors to Far Enough Farm are encouraged by the friendly staff to take their time exploring the farmyard, interacting with the animals, and taking a minute or two to meet the dedicated farmers working on the property. Sylvia Dixon, the Farm’s manager, has over 40 years’ experience working with farm animals and is a veritable font of information when it comes to discussing farm life and the farm environment. There are currently over 40 species of farmyard animals and exotic birds living at the farm. And with new arrivals scheduled every spring and summer, you’re sure to find a wide variety of animals and wildlife to explore and interact with.
The current stable of animals includes sheep, cows, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, rabbits, rodents, llamas, one alpaca, chickens, ducks, pheasants, a farmyard turkey, guinea fowl, Japanese quail, emus, two fantail pigeons, a couple of beautiful black swans, farmyard geese, and one very proud peacock. The Far Enough Farm page on the official Centreville website lists all of these animals alongside their names in a neat feature called “Meet the Animals.”
Spending a day at the farm has become a seasonal tradition for families living in and around Toronto — not to mention the copious groups of curious school children that frequent the farm each year as part of their regular school curriculum. Far Enough Farm is located just minutes away from Toronto’s downtown core. The farm is unique in that it provides a tranquil and nature-centric environment to those living in a noisy, bustling urban atmosphere.
We try to take the kids there every summer, once school is over,” says Anna, a mother of three who lives in downtown Toronto. “It’s nice to escape the concrete and noise, even just for a little while, and venture out to the farm where it feels as if you’ve somehow teleported to the lush countryside. The kids love it!
There are a number of things you can learn from visiting a farm — namely, how to care for animals and how to tend and maintain a vast plot of fertile land. Hard work and diligence certainly pay off when your farmyard animals thrive and your abundant harvests go on to feed not only your family, but also the families of whole villages and towns! It takes dedication and perseverance to maintain a farm, and it’s interesting to witness the ins and outs of how a real farm functions, day in and day out. This is, perhaps, one of the many reasons why families keep coming back to Far Enough Farm each year and sometimes even each season.
There is so much to learn and absorb about farm living and our farm managers are always happy to share their knowledge,
says Tina Coulouras Doull, director of marketing at William Beasley Enterprises Limited.
Despite its popularity among children and adults alike, the city had threatened to close Far Enough Farm during its busiest season of the year: Summer 2014. However, through the generous donations and massive efforts of the public, the farm “was not shut down,” explains Tanya Kavcic.
The operation of it was taken over by Centreville Amusements under a new ten-year lease agreement. It was packaged in with the amusement park request for proposals and was awarded to William Beasley Enterprises Limited.
Not only does this mean that the farm will remain open for at least another decade, but it also means that a new corporation will have the opportunity to inject some new energy and excitement into the attraction. This bodes well for both the farm’s staff and visitors! Since last April alone, the Farm has added more animals then ever before to its collection of livestock as well as renovated the paddocks and overall farm structure.
Coulouras Doull explains,
It is a beautiful place to visit. We hope many people come to experience this farm oasis just minutes from downtown Toronto… It’s pretty cool when you are having fun and learning while creating lasting family memories. I have a ten-year-old daughter who absolutely loves Far Enough Farm! She is excited to visit old friends and welcome the new baby animals. This is a magical place for adults and children alike.
You can find goat breeds such as Billy Ram, Nubian-Boer goat, or Cameroon Dwarf Goat in Far Enough Farm.
Far Enough Farm is home to several different breeds of sheep, including Suffolk-Rambouillet, Romanov and Jacob.
MEET THE PHOTOGRAPHER: ROLAND SHAINIDZE
Roland is an amateur photographer in Toronto. He is a graduate student in humanities at York University and his photography is focused primarily on architecture, both interiors and exteriors. He has taken photographs in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa as well as his native Georgia. Roland uses HDR tools to transform the presentation of the imagery of architectural elements. Self-taught, he takes every opportunity to take pictures and experiment with them; playing with lines, patterns, light and selective colour.