REVIEW: Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary Walking Tour

Lying east of the city of Ottawa is Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary, a safe haven for non-human animals that spans 58 acres. This vegan oasis is home to all sorts of creatures including horses, cows, goats, sheep, cats, turkeys, chickens, pigs, quails, geese, and many more.

Like many organizations affected by the pandemic, Penny Lane was forced to close their doors to visitors for many months. Now, they are offering self-guided walking tours that allow visitors to explore the grounds and meet the Penny Lane residents in a COVID-safe way.

The walking tour is about 0.5 KM in length and takes you around the farm sanctuary grounds covering all of the enclosures on the property, including the forest and butterfly garden. To keep things fun, the tour has 8 stations that have a fact sheet about the residents such as their weight, age, and story before coming to Penny Lane.

Throughout the tour, on-site volunteers are happy to answer questions and share more information about each of the residents. I was lucky enough to meet several residents like Jade the horse, who suffered in Quebec City’s caleche industry before retiring to Penny Lane, and Suzie, a 6-week old calf who is one of Penny Lane’s newest additions.

The capacity that non-human animals have for compassion and forgiveness always amazes me. Despite their tragic histories (which often involved abuse and mistreatment), the majority of Penny Lane’s residents showered me with affection throughout my visit. I felt deeply loved as they nuzzled against me or followed me as I walked around.

Residents who are not interested in spending time with humans are given plenty of space and not forced to interact with visitors if they don’t want to. Instead, I was able to appreciate them from afar.

All in all, I highly recommend taking one of Penny Lane’s walking tours as it is a great experience to share with kids, friends, family members, or co-workers. Visiting the sanctuary can also be a great way to share the values of veganism with others by allowing them to interact with some pretty amazing farmed animals. Penny Lane gives visitors the unique gift of seeing animals who are free to just be (which is the sanctuary’s slogan!).

Photo credit: Jon Godin

To learn more about Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary, check out their Instagram and Facebook. To learn how you can support the sanctuary or to schedule a tour, please visit their website.

Jade Conrad is President of VegOttawa Association. She participated in one of Penny Lane’s walking tours on September 12, 2021. This post is not sponsored by or affiliated with Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary.

Local Sanctuaries & Rescues to Support

By Esther Vininsky-Oakes

When you go vegan, it can be frustrating to feel such a strong desire to help animals and not know where to direct that passion.

To help with this, we’ve compiled a list of five organizations in or around Ottawa to highlight all the great work they are doing for the animals and the ways you can lend your support. While a donation may not be possible for everyone, another great way to help is by volunteering your time.

All five organizations on the below list are vegan sanctuaries or rescues located in Ottawa or in the surrounding area. Although not an exhaustive list, we hope that this serves as a starting point to highlight some of the many amazing organizations that are helping animals in and around the Ottawa area. We encourage you to also check out the more comprehensive list of vegan sanctuaries on our website. Be sure to let us know of any other sanctuaries that we should highlight in the future!

Holly’s Haven Wildlife Rescue

Holly’s Haven is a volunteer-run wildlife rescue and rehabilitation center based in Dunrobin. They take in all kinds of animals: racoons, squirrels, rabbits, mice, bats, chipmunks, coyotes, groundhogs, porcupines, and more! They are currently running a racoon sponsorship program from their Facebook page, which allows you to sponsor a baby racoon. In addition to raccoons, you may also sponsor other animals listed on their website.

Feline Cafe

Feline Cafe is a coffee shop in Ottawa that provides a temporary residence to cats up for adoption. Customers can buy drinks and vegan treats while interacting with the rescue cats in need of forever homes. Through the cafe’s income and fundraisers, they are able to house the cats, and pay for their food and veterinary bills. You can support them by visiting the cafe, volunteering, shopping from their online store, or donating here.

Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary

Penny Lane Farm Sanctuary is a farm sanctuary near Clarence-Rockland that saves animals that are neglected or rescued from slaughter. Right now, they are home to a whopping 105 animals who are all loved and well cared for by Penny Lane volunteers. One of their residents, Mango the pig, made national headlines in 2019 when he was saved from slaughter after falling off the back of a truck on the highway and got his happy ending at Penny Lane! You can support Penny Lane through their sponsorship program, making a one-time donation, or buying something from their Amazon Wishlist here.

Contented Clucks Farm Sanctuary

Contented Clucks is a microsanctuary located in Oxford Mills. Founder Lynn Kennedy started the sanctuary a few years ago with the goal of rescuing neglected hens and roosters in need of a safe and loving home. They are currently running a fundraiser to build a larger coop in order to provide more space for the growing flock under their care. To support the sanctuary, donate to their GoFundMe or contact their Facebook page for volunteer opportunities.

Sweet Sanctuary Animal Rescue

Sweet Sanctuary is a farm sanctuary in Mississippi Mills that saves abandoned or abused horses and farmed animals. They have 34 residents right now and are always looking to help more. You can support them through donations or volunteering. You can also purchase their famous chocolate chip cookies (which used to be sold at Grow Your Roots) with full proceeds going to the animals. They can even be delivered right to your doorstep for extra convenience. Cookies that help animals in need are the perfect excuse to eat dessert! Another way to support  Sweet Sanctuary is by donating a book to or buying a book from Secondhand Stories, an online non-profit used bookstore that donates all their profits to Sweet Sanctuary.

Happy Tales Farm Sanctuary, Mel’s Farm – All Animal Rescue & Sanctuary, Refuge RR

Find an updated list of local Sanctuaries and Rescues on our Vegan Friendly Business Directory Page.

About the Author:
Esther Vininsky-Oakes is a new contributor to VegOttawa who has been vegan for 2 years and vegetarian for many years prior. She is currently pursuing an MA in English literature at McGill University, and in her spare time, enjoys advocating for farmed animals in need, exploring the great outdoors, and baking.