Back in July we had the amazing opportunity of taking a visit west of Toronto to the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. To say we had an amazing experience is to do our visit an understatement. The property was beautiful, the animals were adorable, and we learned so much!
What is the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada
Incorporated nearly 30 years ago, the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a safe haven for donkeys, mules, and hinnies. Curious what the difference is? We learned the answer on our tour!! A mule is born from a male donkey and female horse. A hinny is born from a female donkey and a male horse. Now you know too!
The sanctuary has over 40 donkeys, horses, hinnies, and mules from a variety of situations. When they’re here, they have a lovely place to call home. Some of the donkeys are brought here because their owners could no longer care for them. Others have been rescued from more tragic circumstances.
All the donkeys, and donkey cousins, find love when they’re here, despite how they find themselves at the sanctuary.
What we saw on our visit
We were immediately taken aback by the beautiful, rolling green fields ahead of us when we arrived. After a rainy morning, everything looked especially fresh. Set just a few minutes off the 401 (a major highway in Ontario), you’d never know this sanctuary was so close to Guelph – or Toronto for that matter.
We got to stroll through the grounds completely undisturbed. We were lucky enough to have a private tour that Brigette had purchased through a silent auction, so we had the place to ourselves. Walking from barn to barn, we got to interact with so many cute animals!
We met an adorable goat who took a keen liking to us, and got to groom some of the donkeys and give them a much-loved brush. Strolling from barn to paddock, it’s clear that this place is really a haven for the animals who get to call it home. It’s just beautiful.
We learned about many of the stories of the donkeys that live here, as well as proper care of donkeys and what makes them unique. Though many of the back stories were sad, it was also heartwarming to know a place like this exists. It’s clear that the owners and volunteers love these animals and and have put their hearts in to every element here. Beyond providing a home for the animals, another critical piece of the sanctuary is education. Before our visit, we thought they were more like shrunken horses, but oh boy were we wrong!
As it turns out, the difference in terrain and food between donkeys, their cousins, and horses or cattle is quite alarming. The problem is, many farmers don’t know that (or choose to ignore it) which can lead to very poor conditions for the donkeys to live in. Thankfully, the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada looks to both rescue AND educate.
Why you should visit the sanctuary
Other than the fact that the animals are just SO CUTE – there’s lots of reasons to make a trip to the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada if you can! The first reason is, it’s just so informative! We learned SO MUCH while we were there. The second, who doesn’t love to see animals in a place where they can live their best lives!? But the third, and most important reasons, is that they rely on donations to continue supporting the animals. Visits and tours are pay what you can, so it can be a great way to get out with a family or group without spending too much, but the support helps the sanctuary so so much.
We had such an amazing, eye-opening experience at the donkey sanctuary and can’t wait to go back when the season opens again this spring!
Have you ever been to an animal sanctuary? We’d love to hear your stories!