Pet-loving seniors, especially those who enjoy the outdoors, can find a lot to like about Ottawa. The capital city is home to hundreds of dog-friendly parks, a kennel club that welcomes visitors to all events, active cat and rabbit groups, and more than 20 retirement communities that put out the welcome mat for dogs, cats, and their owners.
Dog-friendly parks in Ottawa
Ottawa maintains a paws-itively enormous roster of more than 850 public parks. The city makes it easy to find parks by ward, and there are dog-friendly parks in each of Ottawa’s 23 wards. Parks designated “Dogs Allowed” are open to off-leash dogs, while “Dogs on Leash” parks are just that. Some parks are marked “No Dogs,” and some parks are divided into dog-free and dog-friendly zones, but overall Ottawa’s parks are open to well-behaved canines and their owners.
One of the most popular off-leash parks, Bruce Pit, is on the 20,000 hectare National Capital Greenbelt. The Greenbelt is the world’s largest such natural area, where forests, wetlands, farms, and recreation areas draw hikers, boaters, students and scientists for play and study. Leashed dogs are welcome along many of the Greenbelt’s 150 kilometres of trails between April 15 and November 30, and there is another off-leash Greenbelt zone at Conroy Pit.
Senior living communities for pet-owners
There are more than 20 retirement homes in Ottawa that are open to residents with pets. Landmark Court welcomes cats, dogs, and nature-loving seniors. The community features walking trails in green space along a former quarry, a duck pond, and indoor sport options including swimming and tennis.
For fans of city living, the pet-friendly Edinburgh offers urban studio and 1-bedroom apartments, a penthouse lounge with dramatic views of the New Edinburgh neighborhood, and lots of shopping and dining options nearby.
Unitarian House of Ottawa offers non-denominational retirement living and independent living near shopping, dining, and recreation areas along the Ottawa River. Quiet, well-mannered pets are welcome, and residents can bring their garden plants, too—Unitarian House offers outdoor garden space for its members.
Big events and social opportunities for pet lovers in Ottawa
The Ottawa Kennel Club has been around long enough to be a local institution for dog lovers. OKC was founded in 1887 and welcomes the public to meetings where experts talk on topics related to dog care and training. OKC also sponsors shows and trials, such as the All-Breed Conformation and Obedience Dog Shows in the Ottawa suburb of Richmond.
Cat lovers can check out the Ottawa Valley Cat Club, which hosts the Ottawa Valley Cat Show in the autumn at the Nepean Sportsplex. Fans of rabbits and other pets can volunteer with the Ottawa Humane Society or New Moon Rabbit Rescue to provide foster care for shelter bunnies or take part in fundraisers such as the OHS annual Summer Harvest Garden Party and the Wiggle Waggle Walkathon.
For those who can’t decide which pets they enjoy the most, the Ottawa Pet Expo in November offers a bit of everything, from dock-jumping dogs to reptiles, birds, fish, and pocket pets. Visitors are welcome to bring their own pets to the show, and on-site pet-sitting is available. From indoor winter events to outdoor summer fun, Ottawa gives retirees with pets plenty to do year-round.