When searching for a new home, dog owners often have their own set of criteria. While many Toronto homebuyers might be in the market for a place that offers an easy commute to work, an area with an exciting nightlife, or a community with a nice school and playgrounds for their kids, dog owners are busy searching for a neighbourhood with plenty of green space and off-leash parks.
After all, as a dog owner you would do almost anything for your furry friend, so why not weigh your pet’s needs when deciding on what neighbourhood to live in next?
While Toronto is a very dog-friendly city with well over 30 off-leash dog parks, it’s also a very large city with 140 officially recognized neighbourhoods. To help your family (dog included, of course) find the home of your dreams, here’s a list of the top pet-friendly neighbourhoods in Toronto:
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In addition to old Victorian and Edwardian-style homes, this young, multicultural neighbourhood boasts two top-end dog parks: Riverdale Park East and Riverdale Park West. While neither park is fully enclosed, both have plenty of space for your dog to burn off some serious energy. If your pooch is the playful type, opt for the west park which is usually packed with dogs; if your dog’s more of a lone wolf, head due east.
Just south of Riverdale lies the cozy houses, quaint stores and tree lined streets of Leslieville. More importantly, just south of Leslieville, on Toronto’s outer harbour, you’ll find Cherry Beach— easily the most popular of the city’s three off-leash doggie beaches. Cherry Beach has a wide beachfront off-leash area, but on hot summer days it’s not uncommon for there to be more of our four-legged friends in the water than humans swimming.
3. High Park
This residential neighbourhood on Toronto’s west side features many semi-detached homes that were built in the early 20th century, but much more importantly… it’s also home to Toronto’s biggest park (161 hectares!). While High Park’s fenced-in dog park is nothing to bark and wag your tail about, there are lots of well-marked trails that are great for off-leash hikes and jogs.
While most of the houses in this inner city neighbourhood are tall and narrow, Trinity Bellwoods Park is wide, sprawling and crawling with activity. Bordered by Queen Street West on the south and Dundas Street on the north, this ‘hipster park’ seemingly plays host to a bit of everything – picnicking, hula hooping, reading, Tai Chi, etc.— but not to worry. The area for dogs is sunk in a bit, giving you a nice vantage point and separation from the crowd.
5. The Beaches
If your dog prefers swimming to life on land, then this is the neighbourhood for you. Long known as one of Toronto’s top dog neighbourhoods, The Beaches has a fenced-in off-leash section where your pooch can play in the sand and cool off in Lake Ontario. Best of all, thanks to the tireless work of the Toronto Beaches Dog Association, dogs can now run free during the winter months (October to April) when the beaches are left largely deserted.
6. Bridle Path-Sunnybrook-York
Offering big lots and an easy commute downtown, this neighbourhood is easily one of Toronto’s priciest. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that it also contains one of the city’s best parks. Not only does Sunnybrook Park have a huge off-leash area with lovely trails, hills and big, mature trees, it has a couple of creeks where your dog can sneak off for a swim.
7. Fort York
Most know Fort York as the historic military site where Toronto originated way back in 1793, but in recent years the neighbourhood has seen quite the explosion of new condominiums and row house developments. While a lot of people wait until they can afford a house with a big yard before getting their first pet, rest assured that dogs can do just fine in a condo if you have the time and willpower to exercise them properly. Located in Fort York, Coronation Park is one of the safest places in the city to exercise your dog, with secure fencing that goes right down to the ground. The park also provides trees, birdlife and a refreshing lake breeze to cool you off in the summer.
8. Mount Pleasant
While you’ll love this residential midtown neighbourhood for its delicious stretch of restaurants, cafes and speciality stores, what will really get your dog’s tail wagging is Sherwood Park. Nestled beside a ravine, this picturesque park has a great off-leash circuit through a beautiful wooded area. While the fencing around the park needs some work, the taste of nature more than makes up for it.
Once you’ve decided on the ideal neighbourhood for your pet, Zoocasa can help you find the perfect home in that neighbourhood.