It was a staple in Bowmanville for almost a century. The Bowmanville Zoo, which has been closed now for a couple of years, with the vast majority of the land just sitting there, is about to be turned into a 34-acre public park.
Before closing its doors in 2016, it was the oldest private zoo in North America.
The Bowmanville Zoo had everything from lions and tigers to camels and giraffes.
“Many people have all kinds of memories of the zoo. It has a long history of people coming in here and having fun. There’s a longstanding history moving forward of people coming here and having fun,” said Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster.
But for the past year, the municipality has been working on a deal to acquire the land.
“It was top secret. Because it was so quiet, people thought that developments were going in here, condos going in, which makes it that much sweeter. Houses aren’t being built on the zoo lands. Condos aren’t being built. It’s green space,” said Foster.
That means the property will once again be open to the public.
“Fast forward 50 years to when more development is here and we’re going to have an amazing green swath of land that is going to be, I’m not going to say in the middle of Bowmanville but pretty much in the middle,” said Foster.
While turning the 34 acre former zoo into a public park is in the early stages, the hope is that it will be open late next year.
“There will be pathways because we’re connecting with Soper Creek to the south, we’re connecting to Camp 30 on the north but we’re going to have some public consultation to get some vision as to what we can do with it,” said Foster.
People who live in Bowmanville are excited to see the vast green space stay that way.
WATCH: Bowmanville Zoo shuts down after 97 years (October 2016)