Forestry Farm Park History 1965-
'The Forestry Farm Park & Zoo is as iconic to the people of Saskatoon as the Bessborough Hotel or our riverbank. It is part of our collective past and many of us hold fond memories of childhood picnics or games of touch football and tag on its lush lawns, or taking our children to see George the lion in the zoo'.
Sara Williams, Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo: A Photographic History.
1965 - The City of Saskatoon purchases the animals, birds and equipment from the Golden Gate Animal Farm on the west end of 33rd Street which was in financial difficulties. The animals were kept in their current location as facilities were prepared at the Forestry Farm.
1966 - On April 6, 1966 an agreement is signed between the Federal Minister of Agriculture and the City of Saskatoon to transfer 140 acres of the land belonging to the Sutherland Forest Nursery to the City. A formal transfer ceremony was held at the park on June 3, 1966.
1972 - The new Zoo opens at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm.
1990 - The Superintendent's Residence is designated a Municipal Heritage property.
1991 - Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada recognizes the national importance of the site for its contributions to tree-planting on the prairies.
1998 - May 10th: A 10 year lease is signed between the Friends of the Forestry Farm House and the City of Saskatoon, allowing the Friends to start the Restoration of the Superintendent's Residence.
Sara Williams completes her research for the Friends entitled: A Horticultural History of the Sutherland Forest Nursery Station. This is the foundational document used in much of the Friends of the Forestry Farm House's interpretive work.
Robin Smith Meditation Garden is completed by the Saskatchewan Perennial Society on the site of the original foreman's house.
2000 - The Superintendent's Residence main floor restoration is completed and is opened to the public on July 30th.
2001-2002 - Tenants operate the 'Tea house' in the Superintendent's Residence
2002 - In September the Friends of the Forestry Farm House launch an illustrated pamphlet 'A Walking Tour of the Former Sutherland Forest Nursery Station'.
2003 - Parks Canada completes the Commemorative Integrity Statement for the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo National Historic Site, which will act as a guideline for any development at the park.
2003-2004 - Friends of the Forestry Farm House operate the 'Tea house'. Tea House closes in winter of 2004.
2004 - Restoration of the Superintendent's Residence is completed.
2005 - Friends of the Forestry Farm House enter into a new agreement with the City of Saskatoon and are the principal organization responsible for providing historical interpretation of the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo with a focus on the Superintendent's Residence.
School Interpretive Program is completed.
The Heritage Rose Garden is completed by the Saskatchewan Perennial Society on the site of the foreman's vegetable garden. This garden commemorates early prairie plant breeders and complements the historical interpretation provided by the Friends of the Forestry Farm House.
2006 - A New Master Plan for the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo is prepared for the City of Saskatoon.
Walking tour pamphlet is updated to include the Saskatchewan Perennial Society Gardens.
A regular summer walking tour and open house program is introduced.
School programming starts.
2007 - An interpretive Master Plan for the Forestry Farm Park & Zoo is prepared for the City of Saskatoon.
2008 - Interpretive signs for the historical buildings in the centre of the site are prepared by the City of Saskatoon with input from the Friends of the Forestry Farm House.
2009 - Work is started on the new Discovery Centre built adjacent to the Zoo. The Friends of the Forestry Farm House had considerable input into the factual content of the displays.
2010 - The Friends of the Forestry Farm refurbished a bedroom in the Residence as 'Flora's room' to complement the school program.
2013 - A grand party was held on May 26 to celebrate 100 years of trees at the site.
2016 - The zoo entrance is moved, next to the Affinity Learning Centre and a new gift shop is built.
Park Entry, Photo credit: Bernadette Vangool