Healthcare professionals can now prescribe visits to the Toronto Zoo

A go to to the Toronto Zoo may be what the physician ordered.

A newly launched initiative will see regulated healthcare professionals prescribing their sufferers a go to to the Toronto Zoo as a part of their psychological and bodily wellness wants.

Launched on Sept. 27, it’s the results of a partnership between the zoo and PaRx, an initiative of the BC Parks Basis that has seen greater than 11,000 healthcare suppliers give so-called “nature prescriptions” to their sufferers since 2020.

The Toronto Zoo is the primary facility of this type in Canada to participate on this program.

Sufferers who current their PaRx prescription and matching identification on the entrance gate will get 50 per cent off common admission on the day of their go to.

Toronto Zoo

Dr. Melissa Lem, director of the park prescriptions for the BC Parks Basis, mentioned research have proven that folks really feel higher, calmer, and more healthy once they spend time outdoors.

She mentioned having a wholesome life-style goes hand in hand with consuming correctly, exercising, and getting sufficient sleep.

“So from improved blood stress to lowered charges of diabetes to raised prenatal outcomes to cut back nervousness and despair and children, the analysis says that spending time in nature is likely one of the finest issues that look into for our well being,” she mentioned throughout a information convention on the Scarborough zoo.

“And so whether or not that is spending time in a nationwide park, or strolling the paths and being awestruck by the animals within the Toronto Zoo. That is one thing that we must always all be doing each single week, if not each single day.”

Lem additionally pointed to analysis about how people who find themselves extra linked to nature throughout its lifespan usually tend to defend it.

“As well being professionals, we do not simply need to prescribe nature. We additionally need to handle these limitations to entry and make it simpler for sufferers to fill these prescriptions,” she mentioned.

“The reality is that we might not have almost the help and the attain that if it wasn’t for companions, just like the Toronto Zoo, like Parks Canada, who’re working alongside us to enhance connection and entry and folks to nature.”

Dolf DeJong, the zoo’s CEO, mentioned he’s wanting ahead to seeing individuals looking for solace from the illnesses they could be experiencing by visiting the Toronto Zoo.

“And we all know now greater than ever connecting individuals to the pure world is essential to assist combat biodiversity loss and local weather change, as you have heard from Dr. Lam, additionally, their very own well-being and well being all these items coming collectively, it is a part of serving a neighborhood,” he mentioned, calling this program “an funding in individuals’s effectively being and ‘s an funding in our neighborhood.”

“So whereas we began as a spot that was actually enjoyable to have the ability to see cool animals with out leaving the 416, we’re happy to be concerned to be that place of well-being and serving all those that need to come via our entrance door.”

Toronto Zoo


One of many key priorities of the BC Parks Basis’s board is to “increase consciousness across the connection between human well being and nature,” which led to the creation of this revolutionary program, mentioned Jennie McCaffrey, the group’s vice-president of strategic relationships.

“It is rising in a short time throughout the nation. It grew one province at a time with unimaginable doctor champions that had been simply an incredible community of help,” she mentioned throughout a information convention.

Up to now, the five-year-old non-profit’s nature prescription program has been endorsed by greater than 100 well being and parks organizations throughout the planet.

Toronto Zoo