Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, Guelph, Ontario

Get up close to donkeys who are getting a second chance.

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a not-for-profit charity in Guelph, Ontario, where abused, neglected and unwanted donkeys are brought to be healed and to live out the remainder of their lives in peace and comfort. The sanctuary farm is open to visitors seasonally.

01 of 07

Where is the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Google© Map

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is in Guelph, Ontario, not far from highways 401 and 6.

Driving from Toronto should take about an hour and about two from Buffalo, NY.

From Hwy. 401, take Exit #295 (Hwy. 6 N). Go north to the second road, Puslinch Concession 4, turn left and proceed to #6981.

If you are using your GPS, type in "Puslinch" for the city, and "6981 Concession 4" for the address.

02 of 07

Visiting the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Photo © Scott McLean

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada remains a working farm but is open to the public from early May to late October on Wednesdays and Sundays. As of summer 2013, 61 donkeys reside at the sanctuary farm.

Admission to the sanctuary is a suggested donation. Entrance includes:

  • donkey demonstrations
  • the chance to mingle with donkeys - even pet and brush them
  • a visit to the Donkey Welcome Centre, which has pictures and bios introducing the donkeys
  • knowledgeable, passionate volunteers ready to answer questions
  • access to hiking trails and a perfect lakeside picnic location.

Visiting the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a wonderful experience and especially meaningful for children, who can learn the importance of animal respect and compassion.

Allow yourself at least an hour to visit the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada, especially on a nice, sunny day when you can extend your visit to include a picnic lunch or hike.

03 of 07

A Brief History of the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Photo © Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada began more than 20 years ago thanks to Sandra and David Pady, who cared enough about the plight of these oft forgotten equines to transform 100 acres of land in Guelph into a donkey sanctuary.

The couple initially decided to foster three donkeys to protect a flock of sheep living on the farm, something donkeys are naturally inclined to do. From this introduction, Sandra was smitten by the donkeys' gentle, social nature. However, the sad reality is that donkeys are subject to neglect and even abuse at the hands of humans and there was no end to the number of donkeys waiting to be rescued from adverse conditions or from slaughter. Providing a haven for unwanted and uncared for donkeys where they can live out their lives in peace and comfort became the focus of Sandra's efforts, and in 1992 the farm was incorporated into the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. As of 2017, the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada had more than 100 donkeys in its care either at the farm or at foster farms.

04 of 07

Where Do the Donkeys Come from?

The donkeys at the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada come from across North America. Many are rescued from situations in which they are neglected and/or abused. In some cultures, games or activities involve roping, prodding, punching or dragging donkeys, causing them extreme suffering. In other cases, donkeys who are no longer useful are left abandoned - their hooves left to grow so long that they cannot walk and are in constant pain. Finally, many of the donkeys come from aged owners who can no longer care for them.

So many donkeys are in need of sanctuary that the farm cannot accommodate them all. For this reason a foster network has been set up, where volunteers care for the donkeys on their own farms.

Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07

Contact the Donkey Sanctuary of Canada

Phone: (519) 836-1697



Address: 6981 Puslinch Concession 4, R.R. #6 Guelph, ON N1H 6J3

06 of 07

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge Society

Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge
Photo © Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge

Many donkey sanctuaries and refuges can be found across Canada. The Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge Society is in Chase, B.C. not far from Kamloops, and offers tours and even donkey care classes.

07 of 07

A Few Fascinating Facts about Donkeys

Portrait of donkey
Nature et animaux sont mes sujets d'inspiration... / Getty Images
  • Donkeys have a reputation for being stubborn, but they are better described as contemplative. When faced with a strange situation, donkeys are inclined to stand still and consider their options, unlike, for example, a horse, which is more likely to turn and run.
  • With proper care, a donkey living in Canada can live 35+ years.
  • Under certain circumstances, some donkeys will bond with sheep to the point that they will protect a herd of sheep from coyotes and other predators.
  • The gentle nature of donkeys make them especially effective animals to introduce to and interact with special needs children.
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