Brant-Brantford Twin Valley Zoos’ story starts in Holland with a classic “boy meets girl” beginning. Hendrika and Anthony met at 13 years old, and they knew in their hearts they were meant to be. In the sixth grade Tony professed his love and gifted Henny with a promise ring. At 16 they met every Sunday to walk hand in hand by the ocean, talking about the future.
In 1960 Tony and Henny married, uprooted from Holland and set off for Canada with nothing more than a suitcase, $20, a tool box, and a dream. Tony and Henny were incredibly hard working, often floating several jobs, while raising 5 children. Tony worked for many years as a skilled carpenter. He suffered a shoulder injury and lost several fingers in an accident, making wood working a difficult profession.
One of Tony and Henny’s sons suggested starting a small petting farm where Tony could share his admiration and love for animals. He had always been passionate about animals and owned a wide variety of birds, elk, deer, a pony, and a beloved family dog. With that suggestion, Tony’s love of animals and Henny’s love for Tony, Brant-Brantford Twin Valley Zoo took root. The zoo was established in 1991.
They both put endless hours of work, blood, sweat and tears into creating the park you visit today. Sadly, Tony was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011. Henny and Tony reached out to their children for help, and they all contributed in their own ways. Tom agreed to step in and moved to the zoo to continue what his parents had so lovingly created.
In the Spring of 2012, Tony asked to be taken for one last golf cart ride. They bundled him up and drove him to see the Bears and the fish. He could barely lift his head but smiled, happy and content. Tony passed away that evening peacefully surrounded by his loved ones. Tom and Henny continued carrying on Tony’s vision.
Today the park looks a little different. It has grown and matured and continues to do so, but the backbone of what it was built upon remains. Love, a strong passion for animals and nature, dedication and teamwork have kept Twin Valley flourishing. Henny, now in her 80’s, continues to work every day either in the gift shop, assisting in the office, prepping animal diets, helping with the day to day behind the scenes or greeting our visitors! Tom and his wife, Jennifer also reside at the lovely Langford Church Road home and manage the zoo together, alongside their amazing zookeepers. As a family, they all strive to provide a loving, nurturing home to over 80 species of animals including; Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Birds, Bears, Deer, Alpaca and Primates and many more. They offer educational programs throughout the day and pride themselves on forging love, respect and understanding for all animals, conservation, and our environment. The park includes several picnic areas, a play area, as well as a nature trail.
The Brant-Brantford Twin Valley Zoo family lovingly invites you to our home to reconnect with nature and animals.
Our family can’t wait to meet your family.
-The Brant-Brantford Twin Valley Zoo Family