Put a novel twist on your Toronto visit by bringing your BFF (best furry friend).
Travelling with Rover is easy when your destination is as pet friendly as Toronto is! Canine tourism is on the rise and no one knows this more than the hotels, shops, spas and patios that welcome dogs with open arms. Here are 6 secrets for making the most of your human-pup vacation.
1. Book your room in a pup-friendly hotel.
Along with treats, the Westin Harbour Castle gives owners a map of nearby walking routes so you and your pooch can get some exercise. Both the Broadview Hotel in Riverdale and Hotel X Toronto at Exhibition Place pull out all the stops with doggie beds, bowls and treats. And while most hotels charge extra to include your dog in the reservation, the Entertainment District’s The Soho Hotel & Residences is an exception, with no additional fees, and a complimentary bowl and mat for your doggo’s dining convenience.
2. Hit the parks.
Toronto has hundreds of parks and parkettes, so you’ll likely have multiple to choose from not far from your hotel’s lobby. But if a long and leisurely walk is Priority 1, head to one of downtown’s top waterfront parks: Cherry Beach Clarke Beach Park. Located in the east end, where Cherry Street meets Lake Ontario, the park includes a spacious off-leash dog area with shady trees and lake access. (Bring your sneakers: there’s lots of room to roam!)
Bathurst Quay’s Coronation Park is home to another fenced off-leash dog park, also complete with waterfront views. Or if you’re visiting St. Lawrence Market during your stay, stop by Berczy Park to take a photo by its whimsical water fountain, which features 27 dog sculptures — plus one sassy cat.
PRO TIP: Dogs are welcome on all Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) trains, buses and streetcars during weekends and off-peak hours.
3. Go on a shopping frenzy.
Ready for some dog-centric retail therapy? Roncesvalles Village’s The Kennel Café carries holistic foods and organic treats for doggie, while The Dog Bowl on Dundas Street West offers a carefully curated collection of healthy treats, nutritional supplements, toys and gear for pampered pooches. Dogfather & Co (with locations in Yorkville and Rosedale) is famous for its orthopedic memory-foam dog beds. And don’t forget Timmie, a one-stop-shop for supplies, snuggly stuff and treats, with locations on Queen Street East and West.
4. Unwind with some spa time.
Why not split up for a few hours of human and canine self-care? Treat yourself to a mani-pedi, massage or facial at one of the city’s top spas after dropping your fur baby off at a spa of their own. Spaw Boutique takes grooming super seriously, with comprehensive packages plus a host of à la carte services to keep Lola looking lovely. Or try Tail Spin Dog Spa, a downtown pooch oasis with a deluxe spa menu.
5. Enjoy an alfresco meal.
Torontonians live for patio season. The good news is, that many of our top restaurants have patios where you can dine next to (or across a short fence from) your dog. They include Sassafraz (Yorkville), Dundas & Carlaw (Leslieville), Hair of the Dog (Gay Village), The Keating Channel Pub & Grill (near the dog park at Cherry Beach Clarke Beach Park), plus Mildred’s Temple Kitchen and Local Public Eatery (both Liberty Village).
6. Meet some new friends at pack events.
Toronto’s dog-focused summer events never disappoint, with special activities, entertainment and vendor fairs. Seriously, this is canine heaven!
- Woofstock is North America’s largest dog festival, taking place annually in the Beaches neighbourhood (2022 dates have not been confirmed).
- The Parkdale neighbourhood’s Barket Market (April 23, 2022) is an indoor market with 35+ local vendors you can browse with your pup.
- Party 4 Paws Pet Fair & Adoption Day (May 28, 2022) is a family-friendly event with vendors selling treats, toys and gear for dogs (and their cat siblings). It’s held at Trinity Bellwoods Park, a local fave for its fun off-leash area.