The lions cage faced towards the NW approx. As I said it was on the high side of the field. Things have changed since Ralph Taylor the developer who oened the property in mid 80's logged and bought in all that dirt.
I suspect that the ridge would be towards where Rockland Condo are located.
I remember the property before all the trees got so big.
As to why I remember so much. I spend lots of time since I was born wandering around with my Dad and Mr. MacDonald. As I said, I also loved helping out at the zoo, feeding the baby animals etc. so every waking minute I could I was down there.
Check out the Nanaimo City map. Zoom in on the zoo property and click the relief button on the left of the screen. It will give you an idea of the size of MacDonald's farm before some 5 acres lots were sold in early 1990's.
Where the Quilted Duck in now, there were three other old farm's located on that side of the road. Not as many acres as the MacDonalds. They were the McGregor, Nelson and Butcher families.
On a different note, how many of you know or remember the murders of the young couple who were "parking" at Piper's Lagoon?
THANK YOU to everyone for this wonderful, rich thread. The Zoo, the couple at Pipers Lagoon.
I moved all the newer posts about the Piper's Lagoon story to their own thread (the story certainly deserves its own thread instead of being buried deep into this one about the zoo):
Couple Murdered at Piper's Lagoon, 1962
Old Nanaimo Zoo
This is a great piece of history. Would you have any pictures of the old zoo that you could share with me.
Originally Posted by karenc
It was a major event. I was six years old. We were meeting with our 2 friends. We were playing hide and seek and ran into the bushes. Our two friends yelled ha ha we see you. Maureen ran down and I didn't. The lioness came up behind her. Maureen put her hand out. I think both of us at the time thought it was a large dog or something. Don't know now. That was 51 years ago yet it was like yesterday. I was stuck in the bush area for what seemed a long time. The two other girls ran to the neighbor's house. I got away and ran to the same neighbors. She died on the way to the hospital. People tried to shut that zoo down for years. I remember as a child going to the zoo. My mother never recovered and I will never forget her. Sincerely Tish (Patricia) Vanstone
I have made another entry. but just read this one. I was with my sister and the lioness crept up behind her. She turned around and then was attacked. I was stuck behind a tree. She did not call out to the damn animal she was frozen in fear. I did escape. I think the zoo closed 3 years later after a lot of protesting. I remember going to that zoo and a large cat was chained to a tree but his collar had come undone. There was no phone tree happening that particular day. They wanted to find the animal themselves None of our neighbors had been called. I think my mother told me that the assistant went to feed the lions and forgot to close the doors. It had been loose a few days we were told. It was a huge cover up and an even bigger tragedy
I hope you got my email address. Not sure if I posted it properly. Please let me know.
Thanks Tish Vanstone
Actually we were always afraid of especially the lions. We were terrified when the lion approached. We knew they were not friendly. I will tell you exactly what happened that day with no folk lore. Sincerely tish
Hertels Zoo confirmation
Paul Hertel, owner of Hertels Zoo in Nanaimo was my grandfather. The zoo was first located in Port Alberni, on the land my parents and sister and family still live on. There are many remnants of the zoo there also. The zoo was moved to Nanaimo until its demise in 1958.
Its amazing how few people actually knew of the zoo. I had been searching for info on this for years and so much of it has now been put together. It certainly is an important (but nearly lost and forgotten) part of Nanaimo history!!
I'm still hoping someone will come up with some photos of the zoo and its buildings, etc..