Summer is right around the corner and we are all excited to move on from the Spring showers. Those of us who happen to be dog owners get to enjoy the fresh breeze and warm sun as we help our furry little friends get their exercise for the day.
It’s one of the best times of the year.
Now that you’re no longer restricted to the walls of your home, you and your dog can undertake many fun outdoor activities together. There are a near endless number of activities you can do in and around the GTA, which is home to some of the best outdoor venues and attractions in all of Canada. Whether your goal is exercise or simply treating your dog to a little life outdoors, there’s plenty to do in our neck of the woods.
Let’s look at some of the best dog-friendly activities in the region.
West of Toronto
Southwestern Ontario hosts some of the greatest backcountry adventures in Canada. People living in south-central Ontario are particularly fond of walking their dogs along the Bruce Trail. The main trail is nearly 900km long, stretching from the community of Tobermory near Georgian Bay to the tip of Niagara Falls. Entry points to the trail are accessible from any number of communities between:
- Bruce County
- Owen Sound
Along the trail are well-maintained walkways that make it easy for people and their pets to navigate through the wilderness.
You might be thinking ‘well the Bruce Trail is great, but what about local dog parks?’ Thankfully we know a few great places you can go.
If you live near Oakville, you can pay a visit to Glenashton Park off Eighth Line in the northern neighbourhoods of the city. Dog owners from Burlington, Milton, and even Mississauga are willing to travel to Oakville for this popular and renowned dog park.
The off-leash area of the park is frequented by local dog owners as well as families driving in from surrounding areas. Dogs are free to run and play within the area, while owners maintain respect for the park and the dogs within the space.
People who prefer a dog park closer to Lake Ontario are generally attracted to Shell Park. This bright open park is located on Lakeshore Road near Bronte, and perfectly positioned between Burlington and Oakville.
On warmer days, you can even walk across Lakeshore Road towards the waterfront. Your dog will need to be on a leash near the water, but you can tour the areas of Shelburne Park and Sheldon Creek Park as the crisp breeze from the waterfront blows across the grassy fields.
Totoredaca Leash-Free Dog Park
One of the best places to bring your dog is Totoredaca Leash-Free Dog Park in western Mississauga. This outdoor gem is located between Highways 401 and 407 nestled along Meadowvale Boulevard.
There are two secured areas for your dogs to roam in this park, including one specifically made for smaller dogs to run and play. The area is surrounded by grassy fields and natural woodlands that are great for brisk walks with your little buddy.
Another favourite lakeside dog park is Lakeside Park, neatly positioned between Oakville and Port Credit where Lakeshore Road merges with Southdown Road. The park is situated directly on the waterfront, and the leash-free zone allows dogs to run freely against the backdrop of Lake Ontario.
North of Toronto
Northern areas of the GTA are home to many dog friendly destinations, including a number of places where by-laws openly encourage you to let your dog off the leash and run free.
Bramalea Community Off-Leash Park
One area near Brampton is the Bramalea Community Off-Leash Park, located where Williams Parkway intersects with Highway 410.
There are two fenced off areas where dog owners can let their friends run free. One area is dedicated to smaller dogs while the second is preferable for medium to large-sized dogs. Families frequently populate the periphery of the parks as their dogs run and play together within the gated community.
White Spruce Leash Free
Another popular dog park in Brampton is White Spruce Leash Free, located north of Bovaird Drive and just west of Highway 410. You’ll need to keep your eyes open for this park.
It’s separated from the heavy foot traffic areas of nearby community parks, which makes it an attractive location for dog owners. But if you haven’t been here before, you’ll want to keep your eyes open as you search for the entrance.
Miller Avenue Off-Leash Dog Park
On the northeastern border of the GTA in Markham is a place called Miller Avenue Off-Leash Dog Park, which is situated a few blocks east of the 404 and just south of the 407. It has a large off-leash area where dogs can run freely and play with each other. There’s even an agility section where your dogs can sprint, train, and maintain a healthy physique, which makes the park even more popular among local dog owners.
Richmond Hill Off-Leash Dog Area
Further north into Richmond Hill is the Richmond Hill Off-Leash Dog Area near the intersection of Yonge Street and Tower Hill Road. There’s plenty of nearby parking and trails connecting to other parks in the community on days where the off-leash area is heavily populated.
East of Toronto
As space between communities expands east of the GTA, there are fewer quality dog parks to visit. However, there are some notable locations you and your buddy can frequent.
Pickering Dog Park, as you would expect, is located in north Pickering along Concession Road 3. The dog park is a closed off area for leash-free activities, and is just across the creek from Pickering’s Grand Valley Park, a popular hiking spot in the city.
Dogs of all sizes run free in this safely enclosed space. Owners look on from the edge of the space and watch their furry friends play with other dogs.
The little gem of Lion’s Park is located in Ajax and one of the few designated leash-free areas in the community. The park is positioned near Duffins Creek that juts upward from Lake Ontario into the city.
Harmony Valley Dog Park
Near the eastern border of Oshawa is Harmony Valley Dog Park near Grandview Street. Dogs run freely in the off-leash space of the park, but there’s plenty for dogs and their owners to explore. Once your dog is finished playing in the off-leash space, put the leash back on and walk through any of the 25+ acres of land in the park.
If you and your little buddy are within the city, there are plenty of popular dog parks you can explore. Let’s take a look at a few of the most popular destinations.
This dog park is situated near the downtown core on Carlton Street. In addition to the dog park, Allan Gardens is surrounded by green space and flower beds that invites people and dogs to enjoy the outdoor community.
In addition to the artistically pleasing greenspace, the off-leash space of the park includes a sculpture of a dog enjoying the surroundings.
If you want a great space to take your dog in midtown Toronto, Cedarvale Park is the place to go. The park is located between Bathurst Street and Oakwood Avenue, and evenly positioned between the north-south divide of Eglinton Avenue and St. Clair Avenue.
What makes this park all the more intriguing for dog owners is that there are very few trees in the area, which allows you to easily keep an eye on your dog. The off-leash area is but a small part of the larger greenspace, and you can freely explore the natural environment by putting your dog back on the leash.
As we prepare to move into summer, one of the best places you can take your dog is for a walk along the waterfront. And Cherry Beach is one of the most popular beach sites in all of Toronto.
There’s a fenced off area of the beach where you can let your dog run free. The space is bright and open, allowing you to keep a close eye on your dog and also enjoy the serene beauty of the lake.
High Park Leash Free Dog Park
High Park in west-central Toronto is one of the city’s most popular outdoor attractions. But did you know that there’s a robust off-leash dog park located within the woodland?
The High Park Leash Free Dog Park is located between High Park Zoo and the Grenadier Restaurant, a perfect location for dog owners to pick up a cup of coffee before letting their little buddies run free in the dog park. There are benches within the park space for you to sit and watch your dog play. Do keep a close eye on your buddy as the area is not completely fenced in. If your dog is prone to run, keep the leash handy.