Downtown dogs will soon be moving on up the hill to Simcoe Park.
The site of the temporary off-leash park at 813 Carnarvon St. is being redeveloped, so the city has been on the hunt for a new location. The lower portion of the downtown dog off-leash area is set to be relocated to Simcoe Park.
The city considered several locations for a new park, including the central part of Simcoe Park (which is at 122 McInnes St. near Fraser River Middle School), the southeast corner of Simcoe Park (which is closer to Royal Avenue and Eighth Street), Toronto Place Park and a space on Clarkson Street under the SkyTrain line. A staff report states that 51 per cent of residents who filled out online surveys and open house feedback forms supported a location in Simcoe Park.
“I am challenged by the idea that we don’t have a dog park below Royal Avenue in the dense part of downtown,” said Coun. Patrick Johnstone. “I think in this city it is going to be difficult to take away that dog park from the part of downtown that is growing the fastest. I know that Simcoe is close to much of downtown, but that hill and crossing Royal Avenue is a barrier to a lot of people.”
Council approved a staff recommendation to relocate the lower portion of the downtown dog off-leash area to the “central” location in Simcoe Park and to continue evaluating the potential for a dog park below Royal Avenue. City staff will start implementing the off-leash area in Simcoe Park this spring.
Johnstone said the city needs to move forward with the proposal, but wants staff to continue looking for opportunities in the downtown because it’s “really important” to create a dog park below Royal Avenue.
“I don’t want to be prescriptive right now, but I can think of a couple of spots that may or may not belong to the city that are underused urban spaces that would be excellent for dog parks or for small dog runs, at least,” he said.
The upper portion of the existing off-leash dog park, which is 810 Agnes St., is proposed to be transformed into a park that will commemorate the city’s Chinese-Canadian community. The site was once owned by the Chinese Benevolent Society and was a focal point for the city’s Chinese community.