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
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.