Big push for off-leash area at Yonge-Eglinton
City staff point to popular tobogganing spot for site of future dog park
Robin Perlmutter with her dog Parker at Eglinton Park
Residents in the Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area could be getting a place for their pets to play after years of pushing for a designated off-leash dog park.
Raquel Walman Friedlich has lived in a condo in the area for more than a year and got her dog Charlie in February. She said they often walk to the off-leash area at Sherwood Park near Mount Pleasant Road and Blythwood Road, which can take about 25 minutes.
“But other than going there, there is nowhere else to go,” said Friedlich.
Friedlich argued it’s also difficult to navigate which spaces forbid pets when walking in the neighbourhood. Certain patches of grass in front of buildings have signs that tell residents to keep their pets away.
“There are some areas with a little bit of grass. But again, you’re not allowed to let your dog off leash there. And there are cars, and it’s dangerous, and it’s inconvenient for sure,” she said.
On Nov. 17, Toronto’s parks and environment committee looked at the feasibility of implementing an off-leash dog park in Midtown. According to a city staff report, Eglinton Park was the only one of 12 nearby that fit the city’s criteria. The south end of the park, next to the baseball diamond was identified as the most suitable spot. However, the report noted the site is often used for tobogganing in the winter.
The park would cost the city an estimated $200,000 to install and another $10,000 a year to maintain.
Councillor Christin Carmichael Greb, of Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence, said the park is already used as an off-leash area in an unofficial capacity.
“We do need more green space,” said Carmichael Greb. “We also have a problem with dogs off leash at Eglinton Park because it’s the only real place in the area that dogs can run. So we’ve been talking for a couple of years now about putting in a dog park.”
Local resident Robin Perlmutter would also like a place for her dog Parker to roam that is much closer to home. Perlmutter said she often has to travel to Sherwood Park or Viewmount Park, near Allen Road.
“It’s been frustrating. Some people do occasionally let the dogs off the leash [at Viewmount Park] and let the dogs have their fun,” said Perlmutter.
Another option for local dog owners has been Sir Winston Churchill Park near Spadina Road and St. Clair Avenue West; however, it’s closed for construction until 2019.