On April 19, 1969, the Mississauga Jungle Park Zoo opened near Hurontario and Derry Road. Just five months later, the zoo and the animals were gone. Here’s what happened.
Joseph Girodat, Jack Bousfield, Roy Hatchard and Heinz Heinrich were granted the rights to open a zoo in Mississauga by the city’s committee of adjustment in 1969, based on a five year trial period. The quartet of mystery men decided to build said zoo 92 acres of land near Meadowvale. Although the term “build” might be a stretch.
You see, the Mississauga Jungle Park Zoo wasn’t so much a zoo that you think of today, as it was a farm with animals. Some animals lived in cages, while others wandered freely from the farmhouse to the barn. Former employee, Sheila Hill, even mentioned that she found a snake in her pillow and described the whole operation as “very amateur”.
Even though the Jungle Park Zoo was something of a clustermuck, it did boast an impressive 150 types of animals. Those includes chimpanzees, as seen above, a sun bear, a puma, parrots, an elephant, a cheetah, snakes, and even two rare Ethiopian lions.
Perhaps even more impressively, in its five months of life, the zoo managed to attract over 70,000 visitors from across the GTA. So what happened that it closed just a few months after opening?
Well, the zoo was handed a cease and desist order just a month after opening, because of the land upon which it was operating. Beyond that, locals hated their new neighbours because there were very few safety regulations, noise went through the roof, the smell was egregious, and traffic increased in the area ten-fold. A petition was even started to kick them out.
It wasn’t necessary however, as the Ontario Municipal Board decided to shut down the zoo. Before that could happen however, the owners shut everything down and seemingly disappeared from town overnight. No sooner had the zoo arrived than it was gone.
Nobody knows where the zoo went or if it was reopened elsewhere, but it makes for one hell of a fun story in regards to Mississauga. How different would our city be if it had a zoo? Would you like a new zoo to come to the city, perhaps one with a bit more organisation and regulations? Let us know in the comments!
Photo and info via Mississauga.com.