Bowmanville Zoo was once the oldest private zoo in Canada. Established in 1919, it closed in 2016.
The land once occupied by the zoo is on the banks of the Soper Creek. The Cream of Barley Mill (today’s Visual Arts Centre of Clarington), was located farther south on the creek. The mill owner had developed a campground and park for tourists, aptly named “The Cream of Barley Campground”, on what would become the zoo site near Highway 2. Later a petting zoo was added.
Plans for the site’s future include redevelopment for parkland purposes and inclusion in the eventual Resilient Circle of Green pathway.
Helping to shape the vision for the Bowmanville Zoo park lands
It’s not every day that 35 acres of urban parkland becomes available.
The former Bowmanville Zoo closed a few years ago after nearly 100 years of private operation. The land has been sold to a developer, but 35 acres of the former site have been given to the Municipality of Clarington for an imaginative greenspace use. The park portion lies in the floodplain of the neighboring Soper Creek, and would contain paths along the creek connecting the lands to existing trail systems to the north and south.
Seeing an opportunity to help shape the vision for this greenspace, Valleys 2000 has entered into a formal agreement with the Municipality of Clarington (endorsed by Council on May 30, 2022).
Bowmanville has a unique opportunity with a 35-acre plot of land, to create a bold and ambitious vision for a municipal park that will attract residents from across Clarington and beyond. Valleys 2000 volunteers are keen to help create something special.
Valleys 2000 has engaged The Planning Partnership, a leading landscape architect, to create a high-level concept for creative use of this space. The first step is a visioning session (“charette”) with municipal staff and community leaders, which will help inform a comprehensive Parks Master Plan for the Bowmanville Zoo Lands. As a charity organization, Valleys 2000 has committed to fundraise to support the park once the Master Plan has been approved by Clarington Council.
Valleys 2000 is proud to be working shoulder to shoulder with the Municipality of Clarington to help shape a world-class park within urban Bowmanville that will be enjoyed for generations.