Tired of walking your dog around the same three blocks every day? Chances are, she’s sick of it too. If your pup is hoping to mark more territory, or just needs to run wild, these five parks are worth a special trip across town. They all cater specifically to canines, and we’re willing to bet that once you see how much fun your pooch is having, neither of you will be able to wipe the smiles off your faces.
This 400-acre park, just west of Roncesvalles, spans the entire length of the downtown core, from Bloor Street West to The Queensway. You can walk through beautifully landscaped regions of the park with your dog on-leash, but you’ll get the most out of your visit if you head to the east side, where kilometres of off-leash trails weave through thickly forested areas, which will make you feel as though you’ve left the city behind.
If your dog loves to swim, there’s no better place to bring her than Cherry Beach, a relatively unmanicured park just east of the city’s downtown core. At this busy but laidback beach, you’ll find a special fenced-off region for dogs to freely roam and dig in the sand. And though it’s technically not part of the off-leash zone, you’ll probably find more dogs than humans splashing around in the lake.
Don Valley Brick Works Park
If you’ve ever taken the subway over the Don Valley Parkway, you’ve probably noticed the lush and diverse green space surrounding the highway below. The former quarry was transformed into an incredible park, featuring wetlands, meadows, forests, and steep cliff faces. Dogs are welcome to roam the park’s winding trails on-leash, but if they need some off-leash time, there’s an area for that by the parking lot.
Once a 175-acre property known as Sunnybrook Farm, this giant green space is now a public park complete with wooded trails, rivers, and the Sunnybrook Stables. Its also home to one of the largest off-leash dog parks in the city, so you don’t have to hold back when launching balls across the field for your pooch—she’ll be tired in no time.
Etobicoke Valley Park
This park is one of the furthest from downtown, but it’s worth the trek no matter what end of the city you live in. The 50-acre park runs along the east bank of Etobicoke Creek, a major highlight if your pooch wants to cool off or play in the water. The rest of the landscape is rugged, filled with natural foliage and wildlife, which will give your city dog the chance to commune with nature.
(Photo: Matt Wiebe)