Thursday, February 4, 2010


Dogs will soon run free in an area of Colonel Samuel Smith Park. City parks staff were expected this week to install off-leash signage in the 0.6-hectare run of open field to the east of the RL Clark Water Treatment Plant.
Once the signs are in, the off-leash park is officially open.
Dog owners Joanne Tobler and Maria Doyle proposed the off-leash area last summer to city parks officials.
"It has been too cold. My dogs won't wear their boots," Tobler said, as she explained she had not been recently to the leash-free area of Sam Smith Park where she often walks her four dogs - a pug, pug-Shih Tzu cross, a Jack Russell-Corgi cross and a black Lab.
Last week, city council approved 29 new off-leash dog parks. The dog parks join the city's 33 existing off-leash parks.
The review of dog parks comes more than two years after council adopted the People, Dogs and Parks Off-leash Policy to deal with the growing conflict between dog owners and other park users.
At a public consultation meeting in December, approximately 65 people, most dog owners, overwhelmingly supported south Etobicoke's two proposed off-leash parks - in Sam Smith Park, and a second 0.7-hectare area on the southwest arm of Humber Bay Park West.
It was the largest turnout ever for a leash-free area proposal suitability assessed by the city, said Carol Cormier, city manager of parks, standards and innovation.
Fencing emerged as dog owners' primary concern with both off-leash parks.
Currently, a fence exists at the water plant site, Cormier said.
City staff will review the off-leash park's fencing situation in spring to determine whether additional fencing is required, Cormier said.
The Humber Bay Park West off-leash park is set to open in spring.
At issue in that dog park is a fence. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority wants it fenced, citing the danger of strong lake currents in the area. Dog owners largely don't want a fence.
Etobicoke's only other off-leash park remains open, but is threatened.
The dog park in Don Russell Memorial Park is a proposed site for the installation of an $800,000 FIFA artificial turf soccer field donated by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment to adjacent Lakeshore Collegiate.
Benches and garbage cans will be installed in both dog parks. City bylaw enforcement officers will regularly monitor both off-leash areas.
City policy prohibits pit bulls, female dogs in heat and non-neutered males from off-leash areas.
Last year, three applications for off-leash designation in Etobicoke were denied, citing proximity to wetlands and conflicting existing park uses at King's Mill Park (north of Bloor Street West), Michael Power Park and Grand Avenue Park.


Unknown said...

"It has been too cold. My dogs won't wear their boots,"

Right. Because your dog gets cold feet, we need to turn over another publicly funded park so lazy dog owners can let their pets run, crap and dig up another park.

Spot the Dog said...

The dogs parks are great. But I thought access to swimming was the most common concern - having been at the meeting. There are no serious currents near the Humber site - that was just what the yatchers said. Dogs swim there all the time.

mister.anchovy said...

I read the article in the Guardian but I'm confused about a couple things. First of all, I read several days ago - maybe it was in the Star - the City made changes to the law REQUIRING fencing and allowing un-neutered males into leash free parks. Secondly, as of last night, there is no evidence that the City has done anything. There are no signs at the RL Clark site, no sign-posts, nada. Has anybody heard anything definitive about when the City is going to move on this? At the public meeting, we were told mid-January. All they've committed to are some signs and garbage cans and a bench or two...

Anonymous said...

I have walked my dog at Humber Bay Park for years. I always have him on lead as he has been attacked by off-leash dogs in the past and was attacked yesterday. I enjoy walking there but now that its officially off-leash I feel I can't go there anymore. There are no posted rules and some people do as they like without regard to other people who have smaller dogs.

Anonymous said...

The entire area of Sir Sam Smith park is considered 'off-leash', judging by the behaviour of the majority of dog owners.