Vancouver Goes to the Dogs: North America’s pet-friendly capital

Cute Vancouver Dogs

Just outside of downtown Vancouver, high-rises give way to the white sands of Hadden Park beach.  Brisk ocean water laps at the shoreline and leafy coves offer shade from the sun.  This postcard-perfect strand would make an ideal spot for a picnic or romantic stroll except for one little thing:  It’s gone to the dogs.

Hadden Park is one of nearly a dozen dog beaches in Vancouver, one of the most pet-friendly cities in North America.  While people are welcome, it’s the dogs that rule the sand and surf at Hadden.  Here’s a quick rundown of other dog-friendly parks and amenities for pet owners visiting the city:

  • Dog-friendly hotels: Dozens of hotels in Vancouver are happy to accept pets.  Options range from economy lodging to five-star digs.  Among the most notable pet-friendly hotels in the city is the iconic Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.  Dogs visiting the historic hotel receive a welcome mat and toy and can also eat from a specially designed pet menu.  The Fairmont even has two canine ambassadors, Mavis and Beau, who greet guests upon check in.  For a list of pet-friendly hotels and their restrictions, check out this website.
  • Off-leash parks:  Fido will have no trouble finding green space to romp in Vancouver.  More than two dozen city parks offer designated off-leash areas, where dogs can run free at specific times of the day.  Some of these areas are fenced-in exclusively for pets, while others are open to people, too.  For a list of off-leash parks, check out this website.     
  • Dog beaches:  Pets enjoy special ocean, lake and river access at parks throughout Vancouver.  At urban beaches, dogs can swim against the backdrop of bridges and ferries, while at more remote spots pets can wrestle for driftwood and dig in the sand.  For a list of dog beaches, check out this website.
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