DOG BLOG: Time to include dog parks in community planning

Roscoe the Boxer

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to our new canine affairs correspondent, Roscoe. He’s an eight-month-old boxer – pictured above – with some strong opinions and a love of peanut butter. He’ll be writing from time to time about pressing dog issues.)


Roscoe the Boxer, our canine affairs columnist
Roscoe the Boxer, our canine affairs columnist

I’m usually a pretty happy guy.  There are only a few things I get mad at. Squirrels. The Crate. And the lack of fenced-in dog parks in Ottawa.

You should have seen my tail wagging on the weekend!  I found out that Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson wants to build a 1.5-acre fenced-in dog park at Insmill Park near Terry Fox Drive.  Finally!

Location of the proposed dog park near Terry Fox Drive in Kanata North.
Location of the proposed dog park at Insmill Park near Terry Fox Drive in Kanata North.


I’m worried it will be many dog years before anything gets done.  Wilkinson had a public meeting (for humans) on Monday night and a lot of the neighbours say the plan stinks worse than a used poop bag.

The humans are worried about: loud barking dogs; an unsightly fence; losing a toboggan hill; damage to trees; inadequate parking; it’s not appropriate for big dogs; it’s not appropriate for small dogs; it’s too close to the playground; dogs might get hit by soccer balls; it would attract too many dogs from outside the neighbourhood.

Some of those arguments do pass the sniff test, and you hear the same complaints from humans whenever there’s a proposal to convert an existing human park to a dog park.

That’s why the City should be doing more to mark territory for dog parks during the early planning stages of our neighbourhoods and communities, before humans and their best friends even move in.  There are lots of us dogs in the city (over 32,000 officially registered), and neighbourhoods keep getting denser with smaller and smaller backyards.  Meanwhile there are zero requirements to include a place for dogs like me to legally run around.

Wilkinson wants more dog parks in her ward, but every proposed location gets growled at. She told humans at last night’s meeting that they should email the National Capital Commission and ask them for a dog park next to the Eagleson Park and Ride.

Councillor Shad Qadri deserves a treat for asking City staff to consider a fenced dog area in the new Fernbank lands, or even in the (privately-owned) Shea Woods.

There are supposed to be new soccer fields built someday near the police station on Huntmar, so maybe there’s an opportunity for a park there too.

I’m a young pup, but I’m not holding my stinky breath that any of these will happen in my lifetime.  So in the meantime, maybe I’ll run into you among the forest and fields near Abbott Street!


WHAT DO YOU THINK? We’d love to hear from humans – or dogs – on canine infrastructure in our community, or any other pet/animal topic. Add a comment below or email


6 thoughts on “DOG BLOG: Time to include dog parks in community planning”

  1. As part of the approved Environmental Assessment for the new landfill on Carp Road, Waste Management committed to providing community recreational lands which could include an off-leash dog park.

    “Recreation – WM’s current landfill operation has extensive non-operational lands. Some space will be required to support the facility’s operation, but other lands will be dedicated for community uses that could include sports fields, biking and hiking trails and a leash-free dog park;”

    Now they say these facilities will be part of a post closure plan which means decades for dogs and dog owners to wait. Sorry Roscoe. Perhaps if we all bark loudly it will happen sooner.

  2. Great article Roscoe!! We’re looking to bring another boxer into our family and I’m wondering if you remember who your breeder was?


  3. The only way a dog park gets on the agenda with the City is if you start asking/begging for one! I remember getting a notice in my e-mail in-box a few years ago from our local councillor (I live in Kitchissippi ward) regarding a “Cash-in-lieu-of-parking” proposal that she had been given; essentially it meant that there would be surplus land made available…she wanted to know what the residents of her ward wanted done with it. I immediately made the proposal back to her about a dog park–and I cited an example of a successful one downtown (Jack Purcell) that could be used as a model. Fortunately, it seems as if many other people (I passed the word around also) made the same request! As a result, within a year or two, we now have a really good, big, Fenced space in the ward just for dogs!!

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