Forestry Farm Park and Zoo
The Forestry Farm Park came into being at the closure of the Sutherland Forest Nursery Station in 1966. The Sutherland Forest Nursery Station was established in 1913 by the Dominion Department of the interior to supplement its first nursery station built in Indian Head in 1903. Its primary focus was to produce trees and shrubs for distribution to farmers for the creation of shelterbelts in their fields but especially around their homes and farmsteads. Besides the distribution aspect of the nursery, the central area of the property was developed as a large demonstration garden, to show the public how trees and plantings could beautify their properties. Staff at the station also did research and propagation, to produce plant material that was hardy in our region.
When the City of Saskatoon acquired one half of the original property, they developed the northern section, which were the test plots, into the current zoo, which opened in 1972. You can still see a row of burr oaks, as well as a small apple orchard as you stroll through the zoo grounds. The central portion with its historic Superintendent's Residence, has largely remained unchanged. The south side which held the larger portion of the propagation fields for tree production was located where now the fishing pond resides. As you walk to the fishing pond from the central parking area, you can see the original road into the nursery station flanked by green ash, which were the first trees to be planted on the site around 1913.
This veritable "Garden of Eden" is the setting for two gardens developed by the Saskatchewan Perennial Society. While it is impossible to tell how many people visit the Robin Smith Meditation and Heritage Rose Garden, there is excellent signage in the parking lot for those interested in visiting these gardens.
To learn more about the restoration of the Superintendent's Residence, visit the Friends of the Forestry Farm House website.