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Dog parks in Ottawa: A bone of contention

September 7, 2010

Cleo has a bone to pick about dog parks. Conflict of interest or not, sometime a Pug just has to blog about what needs to be blogged about. After last week’s allegations of a local pooch ingesting rat poison on National Capital Commission walking trails, the subject of dog parks needs to be blogged about.

Bruce Pit and Conroy Pit.  Sound familiar to you? These are two fantastic, open, and very droolworthy off leash dog parks in Ottawa. Dogs and their humans can take long walks on the kilometers of trails, play in the common areas with a pack of other puppies of all different shapes and sizes, chase a ball or a frisbee for hours.  This can be done without disturbing one family picnic, soccer game, or a group of children playing.  How is this possible? Both Bruce Pit and Conroy Pit are dedicated doggy friendly areas. Thier popularity speaks for itself. On a sunny weekend afternoon, the parking areas at either park resemble the parking lot of Ikea!

So where is the Puggy problem you ask? When is the last time you walked around Hintonburg, or Little Italy or Chinatown? There is no space dedicated to dogs anywhere in proximity to the downtown core.  Well, why not just head out to either Bruce Pit or Conroy Pit? Two issues. Neither one is bus accessible and even if they were, OC Transpo does not allow pets to ride on city buses.  What is the solution then? Mixed use urban green space is the Pug approved way to go. This means that certain areas simply cannot be shared like soccer pitches, and play structures. However, this Pug has sniffed out a dozen areas that could be fenced and fitted with adequate, closed waste disposal units in close proximity to soccer pitches, baseball fields and parks for doggy enjoyment. These areas need not be huge, but dedicated spaces are a key aspect to a truly stellar city.

Dedicated doggy areas would be self-policing in terms of waste removal. Nobody wants to step   in that and trust me when I tell you that humans don’t like cleaning that out of furry paws either! The city would be responsible for removing the waste from the allocated bins and humans could adopt the space and oversee general clean-up similar to the way Bruce Pit and Conroy pit are managed. Soccer games could continue uninterrupted, unintended intrusions of picnics, children playing, and/or adults reading would be all but a non issue and urban dogs and their humans could continue to enjoy living in the downtown and surrounding area. This seems like a Puggy no brainer to me?  What do you think about dedicated dog space and the current use of urban green space?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Gail McGibbon permalink
    September 7, 2010 12:57 pm

    Sounds like a puggy no brainer to me as well. Even if only one doggy park were added to the downtown core, would it not lead to getting more people(hopefully kids as well) out of their homes, walking, running and physically interacting with their pets. It encourages activity which even in a small way, addresses the issue of adult and childhood obesity…a contributing factor in many disease processes like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and coronary artery disease to name only a few.

  2. Shsirley Lussier permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:37 pm

    A few months ago I started a petition to keep Laroche Park as an off leash park. It seems that the dog owners are not picking up after their dogs and the baseball players are complaining. The City makes more money with the baseball players then with the dogs so it is easier to get rid of the dogs and their owners then the individuals who are paying for the use of the park. The problem with this decision is that no one from the City of Ottawa has ever made it clear to the baseball players that drinking, urinating in the bushes in public is not aloud in the park. Then they get into their cars and drive home and I have not yet in 30 years living in this neighbourhood seen a police officer stop any of them. Does the City not realize how much money we bring to Ottawa in regards to taxes, pet licenses etc., We should be allowed to have an off leash park in Hintonburg in return of all the money we spend on our animals, without us a lot of individuals would go bankrupt.

    • September 28, 2010 8:11 pm

      If there is ONE PLACE where this pug wants to see a dog park, it’s Hintonburg! My humans often take me for a stroll through the neighbourhood and I long for a chance to frolic in a safe environment with my other four legged buddies.

      I am putting my paw down on this issue. We need more dog friendly spaces. Now, does anybody know how to get a hold of Dr. Richard Florida. He does research on this issue!

      Puggy high five.

  3. Matt Rose permalink
    September 28, 2010 4:32 pm

    Ottawa currently has two off-leash dog parks. One is a puny 1600 sq. ft, the other, even smaller.

    The larger one was under serious threat to be subsumed into the greater Lansdowne Park Project, but was saved due to a bunch of neighbours who, even though they had very little in common, other than the fact that they wanted the park to stay as it was, got together and decided to fight City Hall.

    The smaller one, at Jack Purcell, is doing well, and is getting improved all the time, but is tiny, which is not bad for a pug, but for a Husky who loves to run, it doesn’t really cut it.

    • September 28, 2010 8:09 pm


      Thanks for your reply. As a pug who likes to run with the rotties, labs and other big guys, I feel your husky pain. My humans are fuming with the lack of accessible dog friendly spaces in this city. Worse yet, the dog friendly spaces that do exist are so inaccessible, that it’s ridiculous. The walk to Bruce pit would tire out a Greyhound!

      I say we band together in a critical mass of canine solidarity for a morning walk on City Hall lawns. If this mayoral election is going to get hung up on a candidate’s choice to use lawn signs or not, we should leverage this interest to our advantage. Can you fathom the impact of a few customized lawn signs from a Great Dane!

      Puggy high five to you for the comment. We should catch up at the dog park as soon as I get over my kennel cough.

  4. stephaniecrocker permalink
    April 28, 2011 3:10 pm

    I take my lovely small dog to the graffiti park on Bronson and Slater. Recently, they’ve fenced in most of it and I’ve been going in the mornings and cleaning up the debris left by artists or teenagers. It’s not really too bad. Jack Purcell has a completely fenced in doggy park which is getting some improvements, but it’s mostly a big dog haven. Little dogs scurry up onto the picnic table there.


  5. Deanna permalink
    May 3, 2011 10:13 am

    It would be nice to have fenced off-leash dog areas in other parts of the city as well. We have access to wonderful parks and such, but no off-leash dog areas unless we drive to Bruce Pitt. One park, in our area, has been designated off-leash – very nice of the City to do that but there are play structures (dogs aren’t allowed near that area), a baseball diamond and soccer field. Where do the dogs get to run? The park in question is not fenced in and abuts NCC greenbelt .. of course, the dogs wish to run in the greenbelt … which is a no-no (and the NCC ‘police’ are more than happy to fine you when your dog does wander over that invisible boundary).
    We have a school property, which has been closed for years, with a nice field behind it … it would take some fencing to completely fence it in … not much fencing and would give the local dogs a place to go socialize etc.


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