Life of Vi: Bright Lights, Big City

Rachel and Vi stroll through Toronto’s trendiest locations

By Rachel Simpson


Toronto is a big city, and it feels even bigger when you’re only a foot high. But all that means is there’s even more to sights, sounds and smells to explore. When your owners take you everywhere, however, you eventually develop your own preferred stomping grounds and hot spots. This list is by no means exhaustive, but if our little Violet (Instagram @lifeofvi) could talk, we’re pretty sure she’d endorse all the following Toronto locales as must­ visits for pet owners.

The City is Mine


As a rule, anything Violet wants she considers hers, and while it doesn’t make sense to say she has any claim to ownership over anything beyond her bed, toys, and a smattering of hearts, she patrols her favourite neighbourhoods like a little Don. Kensington Market is a hit for its bright colours, Queen West cafes keep their water bowls topped up, the Distillery District is pretty pet-friendly, and Little Italy, while a bit heavy on the skateboards, has places like The Big Chill, where you can take a load off and maybe negotiate a little ice cream (moderation is key!).

Barks and Recreation


No matter how much we anthropomorphize her, Violet is still a dog. (No, seriously, we do know that.) And she needs to be cared for like a dog. That means letting her tear up the turf a bit. High Park is great because it has a network of off­leash trails and plenty of water fountains. Trinity Bellwoods’ dog bowl is an institution for Toronto West­ End dog owners, and its kiddie pool is a great way to cool off a hot pooch on a sunny day. Dufferin Grove offers plenty of shade and logs to climb, and if you like fixating on unclaimed tennis balls, Sorauren Park is definitely the spot.

Art Crawl


Dogs can’t see color, at least not in the spectrum afforded their human staff. Still, living in what Vogue deemed the second coolest street­style neighborhood in the world is an opportunity Violet doesn’t take for granted. Not because she appreciates the wonderful mystique of the spray paint artist, but because positioning her black and white body before those vivid images invariably leads to treats.

The Best of the Rest


Just because Vi can’t knock back a shot of bourbon now and then, or try on a fabulous new hat, does not mean she spends a lot of time alone. She is very much one of the gang, and accompanies us almost everywhere. Flower shopping at Avenue Road and Davenport (easily the best place to buy flowers in the city)? Violet comes with. Catching a sunset at Polson Pier? Who would terrorize the ducks if Vi didn’t come? Shopping in Yorkville is a far more enjoyable experience when your dog and boyfriend can entertain each other while they wait, and wait, and wait. And riding the TTC is a great way to make those fleeting acquaintances that allow for licking,nibbling and even a friendly head­butt.

Where the Heart Is


Four to one; that’s the ratio of Violet steps to our own, so it should come as no surprise that she is exhausted after an outing. Besides, Toronto is an endless source of sensory overload for an animal whose sense of smell is like, 2000 times stronger than our own. So Violet sleeps ­ a lot. We’re talking upwards of half of the day spent in beds, on furniture, nestled into laps, even spread eagle on the hardwood. In fact, Vi is sleeping right now. She encourages both naps, and sleeping in, and finds morning people abhorrent. An active social life has its price, you see, though this little tariff is far outweighed by the fun.

Check out Hound Collection to shop many of Violet’s looks.

Follow Violet on instagram @lifeofvi