Mississauga offers retirees the advantages of living near Toronto as well as the perks of life in a smaller city. The “City of Villages” sits just west of Toronto on the shore of Lake Ontario and is home to hundreds of parks, dozens of unique neighbourhoods, and lots of amenities and events for pets and pet lovers.
Retirement communities that love pets
The City of Villages contains a variety of neighbourhoods with senior communities that welcome pets. In the heart of Mississauga is Amica at City Centre, located within a city block of 2 parks, the central library, the YMCA, the city civic and performing arts centres, and Mississauga Celebration Square, the site of many festivals and events. West of downtown in Rockwood Village, Beechwood Court gives residents easy access to Beechwood Park, public transportation, shopping, and dining. Altogether, there are more than 30 pet-friendly retirement homes in and near Mississauga.
Getting around Mississauga and the GTA with pets
Mississauga’s comprehensive public bus system, MiWay, welcomes riders with pets, at the transit drivers’ discretion. To board, pets must either be in an enclosed carrier or on a leash and muzzled. MiWay is currently trying a pilot program that offers a $1 cash fare rate for seniors age 65 and up; regular cash fare is $3.50 per person. Riders going into Toronto can purchase transfers to TTA, which allows leashed and crated pets during off-peak hours.
Off-leash parks with affordable permit fees
Lucky dogs in Mississauga enjoy lots of room to roam. The city maintains more than 480 parks, including 7 parks with leash-free areas that range in size from 1.5 acres at some of the smaller locations to a vast 22 acres at Jack Darling Dog Park. The parks are maintained by Leash-Free Mississauga, a volunteer group. Park permits are available from LFM for $15 a year for one dog and $20 a year for 2 or more dogs.
Festivals for rabbits, reptiles, and other pets
Rabbit lovers will be “hoppy” to know that the non-profit Rabbit Rescue of Ontario, in nearby Cambridge, hosts a fall BunFest fundraiser in Toronto. Visitors are welcome to bring their pet rabbits for spa treatments, photo shoots, nibbles at the bunny café, and social time in the pet lounge. The festival will also have rabbits available for adoption, experts speaking on rabbit care, and food for humans.
Closer to home, Mississauga’s International Centre will host the Fall Canadian Pet Expo, the Canadian Reptile Breeder’s Expo, and birds of prey demonstrations by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy. Visitors can attend Crocodile University classes on large reptile care, visit the many dog breed rescue groups that will be on site, and see unusual new hybrid breeds (Saint Berdoodle, anyone?).
Agencies with animals to adopt and senior assistance programs
Cats, dogs, and rabbits are available year-round for fostering and adoption through Rabbit Rescue and the Mississauga Humane Society. For pet owners who are having trouble affording veterinary care for their pets, the Farley Foundation offers financial subsidies to pay for necessary surgeries, medicines, and other treatments. Among the animals who’ve been helped by the Farley Foundation is Bella, a golden retriever who works as a therapy pet at a Mississauga retirement center.
Thanks to the city’s non-profit pet groups, expansive parks, and welcoming senior living communities, retirement life with pets is easy in Mississauga.