Toronto, ON, (June 27, 2024) Today your Toronto Zoo proudly hosted an event to officially launch a major construction project as well as kicking-off 50 days of celebrations leading up to the Zoo’s 50th anniversary on August 15th, 2024.

As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, it is the perfect opportunity to honour the past 50 years of conservation science as well as an opportunity to look ahead and invest in a better future for wildlife and our community. Since it opened in 1974, close to 60 million guests have visited our beloved Toronto Zoo! Incredibly, millions more from around the world have digitally engaged with the Zoo, making it one of the most popular zoo social media accounts.

Featuring an engaging river otter habitat, the Toronto Zoo Community Conservation Centre (TZC3) aims to bring a new, exciting educational arrival experience to Zoo guests and will also be a space accessible to the local community, where people can gather and connect with nature and each other.

As the new home to the Zoo’s endangered turtle conservation breeding centre, TZC3 represents an exciting next phase for conservation science at your Toronto Zoo. This space will be a prominent and visually stunning statement of your Zoo’s commitment to the community, with multiple labs and classrooms used by students from U of T Scarborough as well as Toronto Zoo camps, Zoo School and education programs.

“The Toronto Zoo Community Conservation Centre is an incredible addition for our organization, building on our existing Wildlife Health Centre and reproductive science research with meaningful Canadian species conservation efforts and student/community engagement facilities” says Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo. “This centre also supports our commitment to “two eyed” seeing, bridging conventional conservation science efforts with traditional knowledge.”

“As the Toronto Zoo celebrates 50 years as a local landmark, PCL is excited to participate in its evolution and kick off construction of the new Conservation Centre,” says Myke Badry, vice president and district manager of PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto). “We are honored to join the Zoo as Guardians of Wild alongside our expert team of consultants and trade partners and are committed to creating a positive experience for the animals and guests with safety at top of mind.” 

Your Toronto Zoo is proud to be the first Zoo in Canada to establish such a collaboration wherein a leading university has a physical campus located onsite. When the classrooms are not being used for educational purposes, they will serve as outreach spaces that our broader community can enjoy for meetings, gatherings, events, townhalls and programs.

“University of Toronto Scarborough already has deep ties to the Zoo and a joint facility is one important way to deepen those ties,” says Andrew Arifuzzaman, Chief Administrative Officer, University of Toronto Scarborough. “As neighbours and important anchor institutions in Scarborough, we have a long and proud history of working together. This project really formalizes that partnership while inspiring future generations of conservationists. The emphasis on conservation and sustainability also complements U of T Scarborough’s involvement in EaRTH, a training and innovation hub involving various universities and colleges across the eastern GTA”.

“In the past few years, there has been a move in education towards experiential learning and this is going to be the future. This new facility will offer students a level of experiential learning that can only be gained by being immersed within a working conservation-based organization, our experienced researchers and practitioners,” said Dr. Gabriela Mastromonaco, Toronto Zoo’s Senior Director Wildlife Science. “It is a very different perspective on learning outcomes and will really set the students up for their careers and for success. This space is another step in our commitment, along with the University of Toronto Scarborough, to make science more accessible.”

Building these unique education spaces outside the admission gates where they are accessible 7 days a week, in the evenings and outside Zoo hours is such an important aspect of the project. The Zoo has more than 1.3 million guests per year who will see the work going on in Scarborough – not just by your Toronto Zoo but also by a recognized academic partner.

This new Community Conservation Centre is being constructed by PCL Construction and is being built to Toronto Green Standard Version 4. This is in keeping with our TZNet0 Environmental Sustainability Plan to meet our goal of Net Zero by 2030. It will also contain a Blanding’s turtle headstarting facility, an event space, gift shop, offices, and a river otter habitat that will delight and educate guests about Canadian species.


About PCL Construction
PCL is a group of independent construction companies that operates throughout Canada, the United States, the Caribbean, and Australia. As one of the largest contracting organizations in North America, PCL completes more than $10 billion CAD in work annually, building projects that shape communities. The company’s 100% employee ownership model fuels a culture of commitment for clients in the buildings, civil infrastructure, heavy industrial and solar markets. With a strategic presence in more than 30 major centers, PCL’s leadership teams consistently drive innovation and set new benchmarks for excellence, bringing unparalleled skill to every project. Watch us build at

About Toronto Zoo
The Toronto Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction and our vision is a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive.

An iconic tourist attraction and Conservation organization, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day including December 25 and attracts approximately 1.2 million guests each year.

Toronto Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has also achieved the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of Good Animal Practice® and is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).