I’ve lived in Toronto a long time, but only recently discovered Wishing Well Sanctuary. Located in Bradford (about an hour from Toronto), this “sanctuary for all” is a centre for personal growth and emotional healing, as well as a refuge for farm animals to be cherished as they live out their natural lives.
Among Wishing Well Sanctuary’s offerings are tours of the farm and humane education, which they describe as promoting empathy, integrity, and respect. It focuses on kindness to people, but unsurprisingly extends to compassion for all animals species and caring for the planet, with an emphasis on our inter-connectedness. The goal of humane education is to promote ethical choices and encourage students to become thoughtful consumers.
Tours and education are available to school groups, but the sanctuary is also open to providing tours if you can get your own group together, which is what our homeschooling community did. It’s a perfect summer destination for children, with storytelling (The Lovables by Diane Loomans) and lots of hands-on contact (love!) with a wide range of farm animals.
Among the animals at the sanctuary: horses, cows, pigs, potbellies, goats, sheep, donkeys, llamas, cats, roosters and ducks. The sanctuary focuses on farm animals, but has also rescued other animals from cruel environments such as puppy and kitten mills.
I loved hearing that the sanctuary is able to feed its animals partly by collecting produce from supermarkets that is past its prime and can no longer be sold.
It’s also a place for drama. We have a couple of cute pics of my daughter petting this llama but I prefer to share this one because it was taken right before this llama spat at her. No one knew why. She cried, of course.
My husband was especially touched by the sheep, which he said were so nice. “If ever I have a farm [something he has never advocated for], I want to have sheep,” he said. Our daughter agreed. (Not sure about llamas, though.)
It’s a soothing place, where the love for animals and people is palpable, and a great way to spend the day. You can also experience Wishing Well Sanctuary by volunteering, summer camp, or animal communication workshops. It’s a charity, so any donations help feed and care for the animals, and also help provide programs to people who might otherwise not be able to afford them. Definitely an all-round feel-good destination.