A dog-friendly Toronto tour with CTV’s ETALK anchor Tanya Kim and her Bullmastiff, Miss Louise
By the Get Leashed Celebrity Squad
We hit the streets of Toronto’s West Queen West neighborhood to meet with CTV’s ETALK anchor, Tanya Kim and her dog, Miss Louise. We meet up with Tanya Kim on the first mild day after a long and unusually harsh Toronto winter. Dressed chicly and warm enough to be comfortable on this coolish Sunday morning, Kim is lean and elegant with a refined, laid back air. She is a woman with a big personality and her laugh is infectious and sincere. And considering she is one of the most recognizable faces in Canadian media, her manner is surprisingly down-to-earth. Kim is the ultimate insider. Her work has her traveling from New York to Cannes to Hollywood at a moment’s notice to liaise with the rich and famous and interview today’s hottest celebrities. The adrenaline of her job makes the downtime she spends in Toronto both rare and special. She assures us it’s filled with plenty of family time spent with her grey bullmastiff, Miss Louise and visits to her favorite neighborhood spots—some of which she’s promised to take us to!
First place, The County General, a West Queen West hot spot with a cozy patio that is small enough for pets to remain sidewalk-side* without feeling far from their owners. Kim orders an Americano and professes her love for the spot, “This is my local.” In an area with an increasing amount of dog owners, dog-friendly locales are, sadly, still sparse. The County General is famous for its brunch and boasts unconventional, yet impressive, food and cocktail menus. In the summer months, dog owners and foodies flock to the patio to socialize and take part in casual city dining at its best. Outdoor seats are limited but there’s no better place to plant yourself, and your pooch, on a sunny afternoon and watch the neighborhood go by.
Next, Kim takes us down the street to Clafouti. A French patisserie and café, it’s considered the place for those in search of the perfect croissant. A popular breakfast and lunch spot, the charming café offers a variety of fresh sandwiches and hearty soups. There is also a dog biscuit dispenser and a bowl filled with cool water just outside the door for four-legged customers. As Miss Louise enjoys a biscuit, Kim explains that because Clafouti’s patio is essentially a couple of bistro tables on the sidewalk, it’s a popular spot for dog owners to stop for a bite while on a walk—very French indeed.
The last stop on our tour is Miss Louise’s favorite destination on the West Queen West strip, Helmutt’s Pet Supply. Helmutt’s is a Toronto institution. A much-loved pet supply store that existed long before the first pet boutiques came into town. Their focus is no-frills, local, organic and healthy, which simply boils down to a devotion to uncompromising quality. The Helmutt’s team carefully handpicks each product from every bag of food down to every treat in the store. Kim takes Miss Louise inside where she promptly makes her way behind the counter. Kim laughs, “That’s where the treats are!” Even with her busy schedule, she often frequents Helmutt’s. Having a pet is about balancing your priorities to make room for another living being in your life and Kim is certainly committed to Louise.
Kim’s commitment to animals doesn’t end there. She is a long-time animal advocate, Ontario SPCA spokesperson and Honorary Provincial Chairperson for the Friends for Life! Walk. “I’m so thrilled to be involved with the Friends for Life! Walk again this year,” Kim says. “I know first-hand how much animals help enrich our day-to-day lives and this event provides an opportunity for us to return the favor and help animals in need. It’s a powerful event that truly makes a difference.” Kim and Miss Louise will be leading the Newmarket walk on Saturday, September 20, 2014. Be sure to take the time to come out and join them to support a great cause. After all, if one of Canada’s busiest on-air personalities has the time to support animals in need, you should be able to find a moment or two. For more information or to register for the Friends for Life! Walk visit: www.friendsforlifewalk.ca or www.ospcawalk.ca today.
*Pets are not allowed “inside” restaurant patios in Toronto and instead must remain on the side of the patio on the sidewalk.