Summer is officially in the air. It’s a time for people to take to the streets and bask in the bright sun. Cafes, patios, quaint restaurants all open their doors for people to enjoy a bright afternoon in the season that is ever fleeting.
But some people choose to take in an afternoon at these venues with more than just their own personal company. Some people want to bring their favourite furry little friends along for the fresh air and the experience.
They’re a business rising in demand, dog friendly cafes and patios are beloved by dog owners everywhere. In the Greater Toronto Area, there’s booming interest in dog friendly businesses that open their doors to people and their pets but the options vary for dog-friendly patios across Canada.
If you live in Toronto or are visiting town with your dog, here are a list of dog friendly venues to experience while the summer sun shines.
Williams Fresh Cafe
One of the only Williams Fresh Cafes in Toronto is located at 245 Queens Quay West, directly along the Lake Ontario waterfront. The café’s close proximity to the water makes it a popular hangout spot for people of all backgrounds in Toronto, and is one of the most common patios for dog owners to frequent.
What makes this café special is that it’s one of the city’s few pet-friendly indoor and outdoor seating areas. During the summer, the large windows along the perimeter of the café are open to allow fresh air into the shop. You and your dog can sit and enjoy a cold beverage (latte or iced tea for you, plenty of water for your dog) while enjoying the lake effect breeze.
Once you’re done with your drink, feel free to take your dog for a relaxing stroll along the boardwalk of Toronto’s popular harbour front.
Grenadier Café is renowned for its award-winning patio that overlooks High Park’s beautiful gardens. You can sit and enjoy a coffee or cold beverage, and also stop in for brunch during a warm sunny day. While you relax on the patio, you and your dog can watch the action underway in the nearby dog park or take your drinks over to the park and cut loose.
If you find yourself in or near High Park, this is definitely a pet friendly place for you.
The Black Bull
Queen Street West is one of Torontonians’ favourite streets to stroll, but dog owners really enjoy The Black Bull. Located at 298 Queen Street West at the corner of Soho Street, this quaint little pub has a huge patio that invites patrons to do some people watching.
Dog owners appreciate that the pub’s owners allow their furry pets to hang out both inside and outside the patio gates. The servers are also quick to provide cold water for your dog on a hot sunny day, ensuring both you and your furry friend are hydrated throughout the summer.
If you find yourself visiting College Street between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Street, you need to visit Caplansky’s Deli. Located at 356 College Street, this old school style eatery offers some of the best smoked meat sandwiches in the city.
As for you and your four legged friend, there’s a large patio that is open to both dogs and people alike. Stop in for a sandwich and a cold drink along your travels through this neighbourhood. Just don’t feel bad if your dog refuses to stop staring at the smoked meat on your plate.
Red Rocket Café
The Danforth is one of Toronto’s most well-known streets and is populated by thousands of people enjoying patio weather throughout the summer. For dog owners, one of the best places to be on Danforth Avenue is the Red Rocket Café, which prides itself on being a dog-friendly business in Toronto’s east end.
Located at 1364 Danforth Avenue between Greenwood and Coxwell subway stations, the Red Rocket Café has a small patio out front alongside dozens of similar Danforth businesses. But this patio is dog-friendly and dog owners are encouraged to stop in for a cold drink or a sweet treat, and enjoy those delicacies on the patio with their pet at their side. You’ll also be able to get a dish of water for your dog.
Kensington Market remains one of the city’s busiest little neighbourhoods, and is home to several small restaurants packed with hundreds of patrons. Café Pamenar, located on the northern border of the neighbourhood at 307 Augusta Avenue, is the restaurant preferred by dog owners.
What makes this a great spot is that there are two patios – one in the front and one in the back. If you and your dog want a quiet space to sit and relax, you can ask to be seated on the patio with fewer patrons to ensure a quiet and peaceful time. While there, grab yourself a coffee and ask if you can get a dish of water for your dog.
Soho Metropolitan Hotel
Should you find yourself wandering downtown with your dog near the CBC headquarters on Wellington Street or visiting Clarence Park next to Spadina Avenue, you should stop in at the Soho Metropolitan Hotel. The hotel is located at 318 Wellington Street, half a block away from the Clarence Park dog park.
The restaurant is located in the lobby of the hotel and is a dog friendly venue. If you’d prefer the outdoors, there are a small number of tables located near the intersection at Blue Jays Way where you can take your drink or your meal out into the fresh air. One way or the other, you and your dog can enjoy the warm service in the heart of the city.
Jimmy is a dog lover because he’s opened the doors of his café to dog owners and their pets. There are a few locations across the city but the one that really intrigues dog owners is located at 107 Portland Street between the busy blocks of King and Adelaide.
Take a turn into a quieter side street and bring your dog into Jimmy’s Coffee shop for a break from wandering the city. There’s great coffee, apple cider, and fresh water for your dog to drink up. The best part of the venue is its charming patios located in the front and the back of the business.
If you’ve decided to spend some money in Toronto’s affluent neighbourhood, this is a place to stop and take a break from shopping (window or otherwise). Located at 100 Cumberland Street, Sassafraz is in the heart of Yorkville that retains its identity as “the little yellow house” in the heart of Toronto’s prosperous neighbourhood.
Sassafraz is a French eatery with a small patio out front near the sidewalk. The owners encourage dog owners to bring their pets by for a quiet afternoon on the patio while enjoying delicious baked goods and ice cold drinks. There’s also plenty of water on-hand to keep your dog hydrated during your stay.
NomNomNom Poutine & Crepes
Canada loves its poutine and Toronto is home to some of the tastiest concoctions of our national dish that you’ll ever taste. One of the best recipes is located at 707 Dundas Street West where the business goes by the moniker of NomNomNom Poutine & Crepes.
This is a very small walk-up establishment but there are picnic benches nearby where you can sit and enjoy your dish. A picnic bench outdoors with a hot meal and a cold drink is one of the best experiences on a sunny summer day. When you bring your dog with you to appreciate the setting, the day becomes even more worthwhile.
Do you know of other dog friendly cafés and restaurants you’d recommend to fellow dog owners? Post your favourite place to go on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages. If we get enough new recommendations, we’ll even create a new blog post about them and tag you as the one who recommended the locations.
The pup featured in the blog image is Charlie from @kingcharlesandbowie 😉
[UPDATE: July 7th 2017] – Toronto Dog Spot would like to issue a retraction to the original statement of “Most places are required by law to contain a patio with an enclosed space for dogs”. This was a misinterpretation on our end and it has now been corrected. We apologize to those who read it and thanks to our readers who replied and commented on social. We always strive to have accurate information.