Lately, it seems like pet parents are taking their love to a whole new level. It’s not just you—it’s a fact. According to a 2016 Nutram Pet Products survey of Canadian city dwellers, 35% of pet owners have purchased fashion accessories for their pet, and a whopping 41% celebrated their pet’s birthdays. Sound familiar? If you’re nodding your head in agreement, this article is for you.
You wouldn’t leave your kid at home when you go on holiday (well, not on purpose at least), so why would you leave your beloved dog or cat? You don’t have to. 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 in 2018.
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 at the Libro Complex in Amherstburg July 21 and 22. This fest includes a ton of pet-friendly activities for your pooch, like dock diving, agility courses, and dog races (some of which you’ll need to sign up for in advance). You can also get advice from experts about pet care—ask anything! Oh, and don’t think that this event is limited to furry friends. There’s also an area for birds and reptiles, if feathers and scales are more 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. Sadly, he passed away in 2016, but the city comes together in his honour each year for Dog Fest Muskoka. The festival’s second year will take place July 21 in Morrison Meadows 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 Run Dog 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 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 suds. 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 visit. 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. 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.
16. Montreal, Quebec
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.
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 artwork and a beer garden that’s completely dog-friendly.
Just because you’re a dog lover doesn’t necessarily mean you love being outside, amirite? Edmonton could be the perfect destination for you. Head to Lucky Donkey Indoor Dog Park (yes, an indoor dog park)! Once your pup is all tuckered out, take them to Doggy Style Deli for a meal. This is no patio dining. Your pup eats indoors at the table, and the deli serves up full meals like doggie risotto, lasagna, or just good old-fashioned ribs—raw, of course. Human food, you ask? You’ll need to bring that yourself.
Your pets deserve a getaway in a good setting, which is why Cultus Lake in British Columbia is a top spot to bring them. 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.
20. Calgary, Alberta
Let’s be plain: Calgary is an absolute must-visit place when you’re travelling with your pet. Why? So many reasons. There’s Dash of Doom, a dusk-time race on October 27, where you and your pet can get dressed up and jog together. Then there’s Pet-A-Palooza on July 28 and 29, where your pet can enjoy obstacle courses and treats. And let’s not forget the pet pageant staple of Marda Gras on August 12, with contests and prizes. Needless to say, Calgary is one of the best pet-friendly cities in the country.
21. Canmore, Alberta
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 your 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. Just don’t forget the chew toys!