After a winter worthy of Game of Thrones, the tides are finally turning, the sun is shining longer into the evenings, the forecast for next week doesn’t inspire fear, and I’m starting to plan my summer. As a dog owner, part of my summer plans revolve around my pup and where I want to take him now that he can stay outside for longer than 5 minutes without lifting his paws off the ground and walking like he’s 5 years-old and someone just told him the carpet was made of lava. Toronto has plenty of dog friendly park options across the city. Here are my favourites for the downtown dog owner…
Everyone’s favourite place to spend a Sunday afternoon on a sunny day in July is also dog friendly and has a nifty off-leash pit in the center of the park. If you want to see friends and bring your pup along, Trinity Bellwoods is the best place to head for your sunny Sunday walks. Plus, you’ll get 5 bonus hipster points if your dog is riding in the vintage basket attached to your bike.
2. Cherry Beach
Cherry Beach often receives praise for being one of Toronto’s cleanest beaches, but what you may not know is that there is also a wonderful off-leash area there. For those of you who love the water, the beach, and summer, this spot is the perfect place for both you and your creature to get a tan and go for a swim. For the single dog owners this is also a great place to bring a date; it’s manic pixie dream girl romance at its finest.
3. Riverdale Park West
For those who prefer the east end of the city but don’t want to trek all the way to the beaches or the bluffs, Riverdale Park West provides the perfect solution for the discerning puppy parent. There are plenty of steep hills and climbs to tire your pup out after a couple of runs, but since this park is not very large and not fenced in be sure that your dog has great recall. Not recommended for people with greyhounds.
4. Stanley Park
If you’re in Liberty Village or on King West you probably already know the wonders of Stanley Park: the people are friendly, there’s an enclosed space and an open space, and it’s within walking distance of the Foggy Dew where your pup is welcome to join on the patio for brunch. For the busy downtowner Stanley Park is the perfect place for the morning walk – you’ll have a happy dog and you probably won’t even be late for work.
While High Park can feel like a bit of a trek for those living in the core it’s well worth it to spend a summer day hiking, eating ice cream, and enjoying the off-leash portion of the park with your pups. High Park is worth dedicating a day to explore, and while there is parking it’s almost always full so take the TTC instead if you’re coming from downtown. No matter how funny you think it will be, don’t encourage your dog to join the Shakespeare in the Park troupe. Just don’t.
What are some of your favourite dog parks in Toronto? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.