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More Dog-Friendly Places

March 14, 2011

Everybody loves to take their dogs with them for a walk. Whether it’s a nice sunny stroll or a much needed trip to the pharmacy, bringing along our pooch is nice. But it’s not very nice when we have to leave our dog chained up outside the shop. Though food and drink shops are understandable, other stores should re-think their “no pet” policy. After all, would these store owners leave their children or their purses outside? No. So why should we leave our pets?

I encountered this problem even with my very small puppy and put up quite a fight. First of all, dogs are not cheap. They cost hundreds, sometimes thousands (depending on the breed and breeders) of dollars not to mention their medicals, accessories, etc. If someone were to steal the dog, it would be a great loss not only emotionally but financially as well. If we were going in to grab toilet paper and someone started harassing the dog or touching it, the pooch would be defenceless.

Dogs are not allowed in many stores and places but kids and strollers are. In some cases (dare I say most?), dogs are more well-behaved than children. Dogs don’t come in huge strollers either, blocking up an aisle or a large portion of a shop. Locking up dogs outside is inhumane and unsafe. We are supposed to exercise our pets, but it’s difficult when there isn’t many places we can take them in the city! Some places make exceptions for very tiny pets like Chihuahuas and Yorkies but deny larger dogs like boxers and Huskies. How dog-friendly is your City?

Here is some petfriendly places in Toronto:

Dog Parks

Nothing compares to that tranquil stroll in a Toronto park, doggie in tow. Although your best bud won’t be too picky, here’s a list of dog parks that’ll guarantee a blissful afternoon for the two of you.

Stanley Park
The south part of Stanley Park is a common area for dogs and their owners to run about before and after soccer. The park’s division is for those who want to stay away from all the action and take in the scenery, which you can do in the wide-open north side filled with benches, lush trees and green rolling hills.

Tirinity Bellwoods Park
This park just launched a new eco-friendly way to divert dog waste by enforcing paper products as the only acceptable method of disposing pet waste for the Green Bin Pilot. Known as the dog bowl, the ravine is a designated leash-free area, and was used in the 1999 film Dog Park starring Luke Wilson. The off-leash zone is open 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. at the centre of the park, between walkways.

Cherry Beach
Cherry Beach is a great place for dogs to romp around in the water and cool off in the summer. They can play leash-free and mix with other furry friends and their brethren. This grassy, sandy beach has restrooms, benches, disposable bags and trash cans.

High Park
Recognized as one of the most popular parks in Toronto, High Park is home to tons of wildlife including fish, birds, and animals. The park’s hillside gardens contain rare plant species, including woodland fern-leaf, cup plant, shrubby St. John’s Wort and the wild blue lupine. An off-leash area known as Dog Hill is open 24 hours except during stage productions at the Dream site. The High Park Zoo is also a fun way to spend time with your four-legged bestie.

Sherwood Park
This lush park has multiple hiking trails and walking paths, a large hill and an off-leash zone at the east end. The park is open 24 hrs.

Sunnybrook Park
A gorgeous park with streams, tall trees and an off-leash area open 24 hours, with benches, poopbags and parking. Venture through the woods and cross Bayview Avenue into Sherwood Park. It’s a good, one-to-two hour walk through a rugged, natural setting.

Cedarvale Park
Panelled by steep hills, this park sits above subway line tunnels. In the southeast corner, you’ll find a deep and naturalized ravine with wetlands. Dogs and their owners love this park because of its new, fenced, off-leash area where Fido can play freely and you won’t have to worry about him running off.

Miller Avenue off Leash Dog Park
This fenced, off-leash dog area is relaxed and social. It has tables, benches, restrooms, and parking. There is a separate area where owners can train dogs to run through tunnels and over beams.

Don Valley Brickworks
Best suited for daytime jaunts, this park is located in the beautiful Bayview Extension. It has a 24-hour fenced, off-leash zone with doggie bags and parking. If you venture out in the hiking trails, there’s another off-leash zone to play in.

Kew Gardens
At the foot of Lee Avenue, the Beach(es) has a fenced area on the beach where dogs can roam free. Pooches can romp, surf and play in the lake and sand. Breathing in the fresh lake air is a nice change for those city-dwelling canines and their visiting comrades.

Places to Shop

The organic trend isn’t limited to those of the human variety. Pet owners are becoming more aware of what’s going into their pup’s mouth. Doggie bakeries using natural ingredients have become a popular destination for those who love to spoil their pets. Snout-watering treats like carob (a chocolate alternative) chip cookies, biscuits, cupcakes, and doggy birthday cakes are just a few of the fashionable items designed for pampered pooches.

Three Dog Bakery, 2014 Queen St. E.
Your four-legged friend will smell the natural, oven-baked, gourmet food and treats a mile away. This little shop in the Beach(es), has photos and cards from their loyal canine clientele posted wall-to-wall. It’s reminiscent of the TV show Cheers, where everyone knows your name. Savoury treats high in doggie-demand includes ruffles, truffle-shaped treats covered in carob chips, coconut, nuts, and birthday cakes for dogs.

Bark & Fitz, various locations across the GTA
This is a one-stop shop for all your health-conscious needs, with healthy pet foods, toys, gourmet treats, dog gear, grooming and pet care. The hottest-selling bakery items include cupcakes, cookies, cakes that look just like the human variety.

Rob’s K-9 Bakery, 125 Jefferson Avenue
Rob’s K-9 Bakery is dedicated to making furry friends happy. The bakery provides healthy goodies for birthdays, holidays and those fun occasions. If your dog has certain allergies, look no further. Rob’s products are made for all doggy needs, including treats for pets with food sensitivities. Rob has launched a product line called Cat Garden, exclusively catering to frisky felines.

Timmie Doggie Outfitters, 867 Queen Street West
Creating new design opportunities out of a love for pets, Timmie Doggie Outfitters specializes in catering to posh pooches. The chic, pet-accessory store carries a wide range of trendy clothes, accessories, toys, gourmet baked goods and a doggie spa.

Pet-Friendly Hotels

Planning ahead is crucial when traveling with your pooch, because many hotels are not as in love with your dog as you are. Here are some hotels in Toronto that will pamper your pooch according to your standards.

Four Seasons, 21 Avenue Rd.
Nuzzled in the trendiest postal code, lavish Four Seasons Hotel attracts its four-legged guests by offering bottled water, a dog bowl, treats, food, brushes, and even a pet-sitter upon request. There is a 15-pound maximum, but no extra charges for the fuzzy family member.

Novotel Toronto Centre, 45 The Esplanade
A convenient, pet-friendly hotel that’s located near Toronto’s urban parks. Souvenir doggy bags are given to your special guest, with treats and two dog bowls to use during your stay and to take home.

Le Méridien King Edward, 37 King St. E.
This hotel offers classic comfort and convenience to pooches as well. The hotel is just steps away from Harbourfront, trendy shopping areas, and entertainment. Welcoming your dog with open arms, the hotel provides pet supplies and if you let the concierge know ahead of time, your room will be Rover-ready with a doggie menu, bed, bowls, and a floor mat. No extra fees are tacked on for canine guests, but there is a 40-pound max size limit.

 


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