Pet owners who want to enjoy retirement living in Toronto are in for a treat. The Queen City caters to companion animals like royalty in many ways, including access to public transit, lots of off-leash park space, and big fun at the continent’s largest dog-focused festival and a not-to-be-missed winter rabbit show. In Toronto, people can shop with their furry friends, take the grandkids to cuddle bunnies, watch the annual Running of the Pugs at Woofstock, and much more.
Toronto retirement homes that welcome pets
Toronto has hundreds of assisted living communities that take care of daily details for residents, and many of them make pets feel at home, too. There are at least 30 pet-friendly assisted living and retirement homes in Toronto in a variety of neighborhoods to suit many tastes. For example, the Annex welcomes dogs and cats and offers downtown living in the area just north of the Discovery District, which is home to the University of Toronto, Queens Park, and the historic Kensington Market.
Away from downtown in the Forest Hill area, Pine Villa offers retirement living in the Jewish tradition and welcomes residents with dogs and cats. The walkable neighborhood around Pine Villa includes several parks and a long list of restaurants and shops along Eglinton Avenue. Northeast of the city center, pet-friendly Retirement Suites by the Lake is a short walk from Scarborough Heights Park on the Lake Ontario shore.
Out and about in Toronto with your pets
Getting around with a pet pal is easy. The Toronto Transit Commission allows leashed or crated pets on public transportation any time other than weekday peak commuting times. (Pets cannot board between 6:30 and 10:00 am or 3:30 to 7:00 pm Monday thru Friday).
The city boasts more than 60 off-leash areas for dogs. Among the most popular dog parks are High Park, which also has a free zoo, playgrounds, and lots of walking trails among the cherry trees; and Trinity Bellwoods Park, where visitors can also check out art installations, take a self-guided tree identification tour, and shop for produce at the park’s farmer’s market on Tuesday afternoons from May through October.
Shopping options for people and pets include the upscale Bayview Village center, where well-mannered and properly groomed pets are welcome in the shops while their people shop for luxury home goods, designer shoes, and the latest clothes. Another popular shopping spot, The Shops at Don Mills, is an outdoor shopping complex that draws crowds during the warmer months.
Pet-centric festivals and shows
No pet event draws more visitors to Toronto than Woofstock, a free event that draws more than 300,000 humans and tens of thousands of dogs to Woodbine Park each May for 2 days of pageants, agility competitions, dog fashion and costume shows, and unique events like the aforementioned Running of the Pugs.
During cooler weather, the November Royal Agricultural Winter Fair offers indoor fun featuring all kinds of pets. Rabbits take on a miniature version of horse jumps in the fair’s President’s Choice Animal Theater, sheepdogs show off their herding skills, and there’s even a goat agility-course competition. The fair’s Rabbit and Cavy Show lets visitors meet and greet dozens of different breeds of rabbits and cavies, while the Royal Horse Show features world-class show-jumping, dressage, and other equestrian competitors.
From the Royal fair to the neighborhood dog park, the number of animal-friendly destinations and events makes Toronto a great place for retirees and their pets.
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