If you’re a pet owner, it may not surprise you that Canadians spend roughly 4.1 billion (that’s billion with a “b”) dollars on their pets. It also shouldn’t surprise you that 52 percent of all Canadian homes have a pet*. These furry creatures are our best friends, our family members, and our partners in crime. So when it comes to the travel season, why on earth would we leave them home?
We’ve scoured the country for summer festivals, pet-friendly restaurants, and rugged hikes to find the best trips to take with your pet this year. Ready? Pack the water bowl and experience these top pet-friendly things to do in Canada.
You seem like a daredevil; how about your pet? If you want to go on an adventure together, brace yourself for an epic descent with Hell’s Gate. Together, you can take the air tram deep down Fraser Canyon (fun fact: It’s one of the steepest gondola rides in North America). The tour is so pet-friendly that they offer free snacks to dogs.
Think of your pet as a champion? Test their skills at Woofa-Roo, hosted in Amherstburg this summer. This fest includes a ton of pet-friendly activities for your pooch, like dock diving, agility courses, and dog races (just be sure to look into which events you’ll need to sign up for in advanced). There’s also a special educational section, where you can get advice from experts about anything you may want to know about pet care. Oh, and don’t think that this event is limited to those of the four-legged variety. There’s an area dedicated to birds and reptiles, if feathers and scales are more of your thing.
There are some things bigger than squeaky toys—like the love of one’s pet and the love of community. Stephen Hern was an example of both. He was a staple of Bracebridge, Ontario, and was never without his dog Winston. Hern was also the creator of the “let’s make Bracebridge great” town page. Sadly, he passed away in 2016. To honour his memory, the city is coming together to put on a huge pet-friendly event: Dog Fest Muskoka. The first-time festival will take place in Annie Williams Park and include stunt dog performances, among other attractions.
If your pet loves their ears flopping in the wind during long drives, up the ante with a tour around Upper Waterton Lake with the pet-friendly Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co. This pretty ship takes you through the first international peace park, with jagged rocks and a thick forest lining the route. Prepare for your Instagram feed to blow up with likes when you post pics of you and your pup adventuring through the park.
Here’s something we bet you never thought you could do: Go golfing with your pet. Swing for the perfect hole-in-one with your buddy in tow when you stop into Woodside Golf Course, one of the only pet-friendly golf greens in Alberta. Dog days take place on Sundays after 4 p.m. Fore!
Located on the banks of the Petitcodiac River in Riverview, New Brunswick, Issac’s Dog Run Park is a popular spot among visitors, where pups can run free and make friends with other dogs. There’s both a large and small pooch area, so Big Bruiser doesn’t have to mingle with Lil Scrappy. As for the town itself, you and your pal can move your legs on popular trails that stretch from Riverfront Park to Gunningsville Bridge, and Pinder Road to Lawson Avenue.
There’s an alien-like formation out in the prairie. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t look like anything else. But that’s part of the adventure. Bring your pet along with you to Okotoks Erratic—better known as the “The Big Rock.” It’s one of the largest known rocks in the Foothills Erratics Train, which was created nearly 10,000 years ago. It’s a strange site and a great stroll with your pal.
Big mountains. Big sky. This isn’t your standard jog around the block with your pooch. When you’re ready for the big leagues, make your way to Gros Morne National Park. This scenic area in Rocky Harbour features a number of trails, so you can find the right challenge for you and Spot. Want something on the easy side? Try out Old Mail Road. Prefer something hefty? Hike along Snug Harbour. Just remember the water bowl.
Located 35 km out of Halifax is the village of Sambro and the popular Crystal Crescent Beach Provincial Park. The sugar-white sands are welcoming for beach towels and the waters are inviting for both two-legged and four-legged friends. When you want to dry off, there’s the Pennant Point trail, which stretches over 10 km and starts close to the water’s edge.
Some places are lovely. And then there are places that take your breath away before you can form words. Walking through the trails of Truro, Nova Scotia, is a lot like that. You and your pet will have nothing but pretty sights in Victoria Park, along the 16-km Cobequid Trail, and in Kiwanis Park. The Truro Dog Park is pretty great, too.
From sunrise to sunset all day, every day, dog owners in Mount Pearl meet up at the local hangout: Mount Pearl Dog Park. This freewheeling place is where pooches can let loose and be the dogs they want to be. Plus, the area is located next to the very popular Power’s Pond, where you can spend a blissful afternoon in the city.
You love beer, we love beer, who doesn’t love beer? Well, David Beardsell of Red Collar Brewing Co. is the man you want to see. Over 25 years ago, Beardsell moved to Germany to learn more about the old world brewing process before craft beer was even cool. After coming back home, he created Red Collar Brewing Co., named after his dog. To say that this spot is dog-friendly is an understatement. Pups are welcome here as you get your drink on.
Speaking of beer, you won’t want to miss a trip to the out-of-this-world Persephone Brewing Company. The brewery is located on a scenic farm in Gibsons, British Columbia, which makes for a relaxing sight as you sip on your hops. The patio is open for pets, so both you and your best friend can enjoy the views.
When you’re planning a pet-friendly trip to Winnipeg, the only thing you have to ask yourself is how many parks you want to hit while in the city. There are dozens of popular options around town, including Bourkevale Park, which has an off-leash shoreline, Mazenod Park, which has a leash-optional area around the pond, and Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site of Canada. Yes, here you’ll need a leash, but what an intriguing spot to learn more about the city’s history with your best pal in tow.
Looking for a getaway to the shoreline? Well pack up, because you and your pet have a date in Coldwater, Ontario. The town is surrounded by lakes, inlets, and rivers, providing a ton of areas to enjoy morning walks and sunset hues. And when you get hungry, stop into Riverhouse Restaurant, which is located right on the water and has a dog-friendly patio.
How would you like a chew toy to go with that chai? Well, that’s what you can expect when you visit Le Doggy Cafe in Montreal! All dogs are welcome in the shop, which has a full menu of sandwiches, salads, and smoothies. And if you and your pup are both watching what you eat, all menu items are vegetarian.
All right cat lovers, this one is just for you! You’ve got to make your way to Edmonton and stop into Cat Cafe on Whyte. It opened in March, but it’s already a huge hit. The café is broken into two parts: the area where you can buy your drinks and snacks, and a cat lounge, where rescue cats roam free. All of the cats are available for adoption, so you can leave the café with both a latte and a kitty.
Hamilton, Ontario, is one of the most popular cities in Canada and we can go on and on about things to do there. However, we’ll limit ourselves to our top two favourite pet-friendly destinations. First up is Munchies Coffee House and BARKery. Serving vegan, vegetarian, and wheat-free treats, this café isn’t just a place to buy food for pets, they’re also welcome to hang out in the restaurant! You’ll want to stop by Collective Arts Brewing, too, which features beer cans decorated with local art work and a beer garden that’s completely dog-friendly.
Your pets deserve a getaway in a good setting, which is why Cultus Lake in British Columbia is a top spot to bring them. And if you want to dip into the waves, make your way to the Shale Beach area. This dog-friendly beach (located inside Cultus Lake Provincial Park) is one of the best places to play catch along the breathtaking shoreline.
Let’s be plain: Calgary is an absolute must-visit place when you’re travelling with your pet. Why? To start, there’s Dash of Doom, a dusk-time race near Halloween, where you and your pet can get dressed up and jog together. Then there’s the pet pageant staple of Marda Gras, with contests and prizes. And let’s not forget Pet-A-Palooza, where your pet can enjoy obstacle courses and treats. Needless to say, Calgary is one of the best pet-friendly cities in the country.
Located on the outskirts of Banff National Park, Canmore, Alberta, is a rugged mountain town ripe for adventure. Bring your comfy boots, as you and your pet can trek through nearly 70 km of hiking trails. Or, remember your towels for when you splash in the water at Quarry Lake Dog Park. And if you need anything during your trip, Mut Hut has you covered.
So you like dog parks? Well Vancouver knows how to up the ante, with eight, yes eight parks dedicated to you and your pooch. Top picks include Fraser River Park, where they can jump into the waves, and Hadden Park, which has amazing views of English Bay and downtown. Aside from the outdoors, you can also take your pet to other neat areas, like Gastown, Granville Island, and even across the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
23. Dropmore, Manitoba
Open spaces, room to roam, and time to think—there’s nothing quite like it. If you and your pet are looking for some much-needed relaxation time, make your way to Asessippi Provincial Park in Dropmore, Manitoba. The sights of the valley are perfectly peaceful and calming on slow afternoons with your pal.
There’s a world of adventure just outside the backyard. This summer—and the rest of the year—get out of town and go experience some of the best pet-friendly attractions in the country with your best mate. And if you’re looking for a road trip adventure in our neighbor to the south, check out Rover.com‘s picks of must-stop spots! Just don’t forget the chew toys!
*Data source: Canadians spend 4.1 billion dollars on pets; 52 percent of Canadian households have a pet.