Ontario offers pups and their people the perfect balance between natural beauty and urban exploration. Whether you’re heading to Toronto for off-leash fun at a huge shipping container market or taking a tour in an amphibious vehicle in the capital of Ottawa, a unique experience for you and your dog awaits in Canada’s second-largest province.
Posted by Billy Francis
Things to Do
Markets for mutts, vast off-leash areas and nostalgic activities abound for you and your loyal hound in The Loyalist Province.
Park and Play
Stackt is North America’s largest shipping container market and Toronto’s premier pooch hangout. Featuring a variety of food, brews and city views, this pet-friendly spot has lots to keep humans busy, but it’s the Bark Yard that will keep pups coming back for more. After you peruse the marketplace full of unique vendors, let your four-legged friend loose outside in the fenced space and grab a drink from the attached bar. Look out for regular dog meetups that feature live music, special offers and treats like Barker & Snouts ice cream for dogs.
Ontario’s Great Outdoors
Join hikers and fishing enthusiasts at Greenwood Conservation Area in Ajax for a day of off-leash fun. Located in the woods along Duffins Creek, this protected area is full of winding woodland trails and features a large off-leash space with entrances to the water. Wipe off your pup’s paws and hop back in the car for the short journey to Harmony Valley Off-Leash Dog Park in Oshawa, where dogs can walk freely through the woods on more meandering trails.
Calling All Bark Rangers
Climb aboard the pet-friendly shuttle at Point Pelee National Park and hop off at The Marsh Boardwalk, where you’ll get a view from the observation tower of Canada’s second-smallest national park. Afterwards, tread the boards through the marshlands with your mutt. Continue on your adventure to East Point Beach for a stroll in the sand and sniff out the historic buildings on DeLaurier Homestead & Trail. Dogs are welcome in the visitor center as well as on trails, beaches, and the shuttle.
Located near Montreal and the U.S. border, Ottawa is Canada’s capital city and a whole lot of fun for four-legged tourists. Take a walk alongside the city’s historic Rideau Canal and stop off at Riverain Dog Park for a game of fetch. Then, get a unique perspective of the city on an amphibious adventure with Lady Dive Tours. Back on dry land, head to Bruce Pit or Conroy Pit for a walk on the shady trails without a leash.
Fido’s Happy Place
Bring the whole family to Toronto Islands Park for an unforgettable day out. Leashed dogs are welcome to float the short distance on a pet-friendly ferry ride from Westin Harbour Castle Hotel on the mainland and alight at Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point and Ward’s Island. Begin your adventure at Centreville Amusement Park, a pet-friendly amusement park on Centre Island. Although pups aren’t permitted on any of the 30 rides, they are free to explore the winding paved trails that weave around the luscious 600-acre park, can enjoy green spaces dotted along the way, and share in stunning views of the Toronto skyline. If you want to see the islands from the water and enjoy an entertaining narrative, take a pet-friendly tour with Toronto Harbour Tours instead.
Get Your Kicks in Kingston
People and pups have been flocking to Kingston Public Market since 1801. Fido is invited to wander the rows of fresh produce, craft goods and more at Ontario’s oldest market. When the market closes for the day, pay a visit to Birds n Paws, a locally-owned pet store stocked with swag and goodies. Once your pup is fueled up and ready to go, board the pet-friendly ferry to Wolfe Island with your Wolfhound. Dogs are welcome on the passenger deck and in your vehicle to join you in marveling at epic coastal views on the way. While you’re there, check out the picturesque Nine Mile Point Lighthouse on Simcoe Island and walk along Big Sandy Bay Beach together. Or, take a guided walking tour past historical buildings in the town of Marysville with Frost Walks and hear about what life was like for people on the island over the years.
Fall for the Falls
Enjoy an adventure on the border at the astonishing Niagara Falls, between Ontario and New York, NY. Ontario gives visitors the best opportunity to see a panoramic view of all three waterfalls. On the Canadian side, pets are permitted in any public, outdoor space but not in swimming areas, buildings or attractions. Begin a tour with your Terrier from outside Table Rock Welcome Centre at the brink of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Escape the mist and see a stunning floral display at nearby Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens. Pups are welcome to join their owners on the pet-friendly pathways that wind around nearly 100 acres of European-style gardens, including the rose garden, which is home to more than 2,400 roses.
Places to Stay
From “pawfect” goodies to on-site dog parks, these pet-friendly accommodations go above and beyond for canines in Canada.
After snapping pics of your pooch at Niagara Falls, sleep soundly at the impeccable Harbour House. Described as a “calming oasis,” this nautical-themed boutique hotel invites guests to recharge by the river with high-end comforts like a daily wine reception and continental breakfast. The Puppies in Paradise package spoils four-legged guests with a plush bed to use during their stay, personalized bowls and a signature toy to take home, organic treats, a daily walk at 4 p.m. and doggy daycare from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cottages with your Canine
Port Albert Inn and Cottages offers a variety of pet-friendly cottages for you and your best friend to enjoy together. This historic inn is open year-round and situated just steps away from pet-friendly Port Albert Beach, where you can catch a famous Lake Huron sunset. Cottages all have hardwood floors for easy cleanup and are surrounded by green space for moonlit walks before bed.
Stay and Play
Go rustic with your Retriever at KOA Sault Ste. Marie, where dogs are allowed to stay in cabins, tent sites and at RV pull-thrus. Check in to your cozy home for the weekend set on 74 acres in a landscaped resort. Dog lovers flock to the campground for B.A.R.K. Dog Sports events hosted here, but four-legged campers visiting at other times are still able to use the dog agility course. Pet-friendly cabins don’t have running water, but there are shared bathroom facilities onsite.
“Inn” it to Win It
Take a break at the Drake Motor Inn, a nostalgic blast from the past for visitors to the Greater Golden Horseshoe region of Ontario. All 12 colorful rooms allow dogs and come equipped with HEPA filters to help you and your pooch breathe easy, and a “Woof Bed” to use during your stay. Before bedtime, take a walk from the hotel to Wellington Rotary Beach and enjoy views across the bay.
Wake Up at a Westin
The Westin Ottawa is situated in the heart of Canada’s capital city and provides pets with a calm escape. Fido will be greeted with beds and bowls to use at check-in, and he can say hello to the rescue dog-in-residence looking for a new home. After settling into your spacious room with a city view, get a unique perspective of the city on an amphibious adventure with nearby Lady Dive Tours.
A Boutique Niagara Falls Stay
Old Stone Inn caters to four-legged guests and even asks if your pooch has any “special requests” before you arrive. No need to request treats at check-in and lots of pets, these come as standard at this boutique lodging within walking distance of Niagara Falls State Park and Niagara Distillery.
Space to Sprawl
The sight of a Kimpton can cause even weary four-legged travelers to relax and rejoice. Kimpton Saint George Hotel has everything you’d expect from the beloved pet-friendly chain, including plush pet beds, a doggy bathroom available upon request, treats at check-in and the use of bowls in Fido’s room. If you can drag your dog away, stretch your legs at Bickford Park or try some vegan chow at The Hogtown Vegan.
Delicious meals for dogs, welcoming wineries and bustling breweries make Ontario a must for furry foodies.
Benchmark for Dog-Friendly Breweries
Grab a seat under the shady canopy on the pet-friendly patio at Bench Brewing Company which overlooks eight acres of farmland in Niagara’s beautiful Twenty Valley. This popular Beamsville brewery serves up scintillating sours, lovely lagers and more on tap with a selection of food items, too. While you sample delicious brews, Fido can chow down on a healthy “Pup Plate,” made with a chilled medley of fruits, veggies, cooked chicken and mixed berries on top.
Who’s Got the Munchies?
Start your day the right way with coffee and a pastry at Munchies Coffee House & Barkery. Dogs are welcome inside this pet-friendly coffeehouse and will love taste-testing dog treats baked in-house. Fido isn’t the only one who can fill up at Munchies. When hunger strikes, order a blueberry waffle or bagel for yourself.
Fido’s Favorite Hangout
It’s all in the name at Bring Your Dog Cafe & Pub. Dine in with Dexter, the owner’s beloved hound-shepherd mix who loves meeting new people and pups, and enjoy a warm cup of coffee and pastry, or a glass of iced tea with a hot dog or sub sandwich. Dexter is even willing to share his parents’ amazing canine creations with the world. Fido can choose between a Dexter Donut, Barkley Bagel, doggy ice cream and more.
A Grape Day Out
Opened in 2014, The King Eddy is a groovy dog-friendly drive-in located in Ottawa. The restaurant claims to be home to Ottawa’s best burger, so Fido might not be the only one who starts drooling when ‘The King Eddy Burger’ is served up. It’s a classic double cheeseburger with no added seasoning or salt, made with fresh beef ground in-house every day. Order an extra patty for your pup and a bowl of water to help him wash it down.
Hair of the Dog
Dedicated to Snoopy, the owners’ trusty and loyal black Labrador mix, Black Lab Brewing is a pet-friendly hangout in Toronto. Order a canine-inspired beer like Bark Twice If You're In Milwaukee West Coast IPA and relax in the beer garden with your best friend. Hungry hounds can help you polish off something from one of the pop-up food stands.
Seafood is the star of the show at Toronto’s Lobster Burger Bar. Fresh lobster is delivered weekly from the restaurant’s plant on the East Coast of Canada and takes its place on the menu next to shrimp, burgers and more. Pups don’t need to sit and salivate on an empty stomach. Lobster Burger Bar also offers a dog menu that includes hits like Fisherman’s Catch, a delicious salmon dish with spinach, peas, green lentils and organic supplements.
Pups at the Pub
Bring your dog along to Stout Irish Pub to enjoy a meal for two on the backyard garden patio. The pet-friendly pubs’ menu for pups includes chicken and rice, mashed potatoes and gravy, sirloin tip and doggy beer to wash it all down. While your pup is distracted with his dish of choice, enjoy your own classic poutine or Stout nachos.