Where to be and what to see when visiting TO with your dog
By Rachel Simpson
We Torontonians all have our favorite sites and spots throughout the city; the places we frequent regularly in our free time, the places we recommend tourists visit. Violet’s preferred haunts are, of course, all dog-friendly. We present to you then, Violet’s Views, the five places she suggests people traveling to Toronto must experience.
Voted the second-coolest neighborhood in the world by Vogue Magazine, Queen Street West offers plenty for humans and canines alike. And it’s decidedly dog-friendly. The Dog Bowl, a massive off-leash area in Trinity Bellwoods Park, has a kiddie swimming pool to cool your pooch off after playing. Many of the restaurants and cafes in Queen West have outdoor seating and are dog-friendly as well. And seemingly every storefront is equipped with a fresh bowl of water. Violet is particularly appreciative of a certain shoe store that leaves a bowl of treats out front. Don’t limit yourself to Queen West, though: this doggy-hospitality extends all the way to City Hall.
For your dog, the highlight of High Park would probably be either Dog Hill, the park’s expansive off-leash area, or the seemingly endless maze of well-maintained off-leash trails. You might prefer a walk along Grenadier Pond, a trip through the little zoo, or lunch at the park restaurant. Violet likes chasing the birds in the pond, barking at the animals in the zoo (they’re used to it, and don’t care), and mooching french fries wherever she can. To each her own.
This one really isn’t for your dog, other than a dog spa, there’s little in the Distillery District that’s directed toward man’s best friend. It is, however, a picturesque part of the city, one worth a tourist’s time. And most importantly, it’s dog-friendly. What Vi loves about the Distillery District are the baked goods at the cafes and how the red brick makes her white coat pop.
The Lakeshore has a large off-leash park and lots of sandy beaches for dogs to run on, and the water at a few of the beaches is actually clean enough for people (and dogs) to swim in. The boardwalk is separated from the bike lanes, so you’re not constantly being bombarded by cyclists. That’s great for Violet because she hates bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and scooters, and other things that go fast and have wheels. She’s a beach baby, though, and if your dog is too, the Lakeshore is a must-visit spot.
Lastly, there’s Kensington Market. It has something for everyone, especially if that something is food or vintage clothing. Every day, the market teems with people searching out something to eat, people looking for something to wear, and people looking for things they don’t even know they want until they stumble across them. It’s a maze of stores well worth getting lost in. It’s also one of the most dog-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Vi loves Kensington because it’s full of people who can’t wait to make her acquaintance and because there are always morsels to hoover up off the street. You can’t go wrong with Kensington Market, but really, any of Violet’s five favorite spots will help you and your dog make the most of your visit to TO.