Riverdale Farm, CabbageTown and Gerrard India Bazaar

If you’re a few hours to spare in downtown Toronto and have an interest in learning where your meat comes from, or just want to hang out with some cute animals, then consider walking over to Riverdale Farm. It’s got several 19th century farm buildings there, and much of the livestock is made up of breeds that you’d have found on a typical Ontario farm over 100 years ago.

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We were shown around the farm by Carol and Amanda.

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There had been 2 goats born just a week earlier so we were able to see them. Amazing that they were so lively and agile at just 7 days old.

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We were also able to witness Amanda milking one of the other Nubian goats by hand using a traditional wooden holding stall.

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Outside was a lively Abyssinian donkey called Dusty. Most of the animals you’ll see at Riverdale don’t have names as the staff like to remind people that this is a working farm and as such it’s not good to get too attached to the animals as soon enough they’ll be taken away to be turned into food. But Dusty isn’t going anywhere, hence the name.

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Then we met more goats, ducks, geese, pigs, sheep, rabbits, a horse, cows and chicken.

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Our visit was educational and fun, and even though the barn was very dark and posed challenges for photography (we were on 6400 ISO and handholding at 1/8th of the second most of the time which is in itself difficult, and even more so if you add animals like chicken who’ll rarely stay still for that long!) we loved it, and were happy with the shots that we did get.

It’s good to learn where you food comes from, I think. You understand more about what’s necessary in the rearing of animals and also what’s possible, and when you’re face to face with the animals you see them as they are, with personalities just like you and I, rather than just ready packed meat on the shelf. And if you do this then chances are you’ll want to support local farms that raise their animals in a decent manner, regardless of it it costs them (and consequently you) a little more, rather than the huge factory farms that treat their animals appallingly and provide the cheapest meat for your local supermarket.

If you want to pay Riverdale Farm a visit, learn more about them HERE

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After Riverdale we walked around the nearby residential area of Cabbagetown. It’s well worth half hour, we got lost and that was our purpose. There are some interesting old houses (it comprises “the largest continuous area of preserved Victorian housing in all of North America” according to the Cabbagetown Preservation Society) and sights on show, and as you near Allan Gardens the graffiti is amazing.

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Most visitors would, after Cabbagetown, head 10 minutes on foot west to Allan Gardens and Conservatory and after than the city centre. But we’d already seen all that so we walked east instead, to Gerrard India Bazaar. Now, it was rather dead when we arrived at 2.30pm on a weekday but Lamia says that on the night before Eid, and also on other major Islamic and Hindu festivals, it’s a riot of colour and packed with families enjoying the large restaurants and hole in the wall paan shops. So check your diary; if your visit coincides with a major Islamic or Hindu festival, consider paying Gerrard India Bazaar a visit. Here are some snaps I took at Gerrard on a winter’s afternoon.

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