As North York’s newest dog park (officially opened November 2020) and in the spirit of passing its first anniversary since it opened, we will be looking at the 2-acre (1.5 acres of usable off-leash space) Dogsview Park located in Downsview Park.
Despite its relatively smaller size, this might be a contender in North York as one of the best-designed dog parks in the area. With a surprising amount of amenities including:
- A dedicated fenced small dog park
- A dedicated water supply for humans and dogs
- Lounge chairs for dog owners
- Intentionally crated dog park terrain
Don’t let the smaller size deter you from adding this dog park to your next dog park adventure list.
- Downsview Dog Park Overview
- Directions to Downsview Dog Park
- Parking at Downsview Dog Park
- 9 Key Features of Downsview Dog Park
- 1. Dedicated Small Dog Off-Leash Area
- 2. Dedicated water source
- 3. Multi-terrain
- 4. Double-gated entryway with extra traffic corral
- 5. Cheerful Red Muskoka Chairs
- 6. 3.7KM accessible on-leash trails across 291 acres of multi-use land
- 7. Natural division of off-leash space for play and sniffs
- 8. Garbage and Recycling bins are located inside the off-leash areas.
- 9. Bike racks at the off-leash entrance
- Missing Features You Should Know Before Visiting Downsview Dog Park
- Reminders When Visiting Downsview Park
- Review of Downsview Dog Park
- Seasonal Details
- What other reviewers are saying
- Downsview Dog Park Summary
Downsview Dog Park Overview
Here’s a quick summary of the park before we dive into the detailed review:
Hours of Operation: 5:30 AM – 12:00 AM daily
- 20 – 30 minutes in the off-leash area.
- Up to 2 hours for an on-leash walk around the circuit path and forest trails
Did you know?
Downsview Park officially refers to its dog park as Dogsview Park.
Key Features You’ll Love:
- Dedicated fenced small dog park
- Dedicated water supply for dogs (in the main off-leash area)
- Wheelchair accessible
- Bike Rack nearby
- Unique multi-mound terrain for uphill and downhill play
May not be ideal for:
- Large dogs that jump (low fences)
- Dog owners looking for late evening or early morning visits
Directions to Downsview Dog Park
Dogsview Park is a dog park located in the central-southern region of Downsview Park. Regardless of how you arrive or where you park, you’ll need to walk at least several minutes on the circuit path (the main perimeter trail of the park) to make your way towards the dog park.
While this might seem like a con at first, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that because of this, Dogsview Park is located:
- A peaceful distance from high traffic areas of Downsview Park
- Offers a great view of the Lake
- In the winter becomes a great view for watching tobogganers slide down the ‘Mini Mound’ nearby
- Dogs can play in a less distracting environment
Parking at Downsview Dog Park
Parking is free at Downsview Park.
Only visiting the dog park?
I’d recommend parking to the south of Downsview Park. Street parking is free on Downsview Park Blvd (near the townhomes) and gives you the closest access to the dog park. From the street parking, simply walk around the ‘Mini Mound’ to reach the off-leash area.
Planning to explore the rest of Downsview Park?
I’d recommend parking at the dedicated parking lot located at 70 Canuck Ave, Toronto, ON.
If you’re visiting on a normal day, the side streets and dedicated Downsview Park parking lot should have more than enough parking space for your visit.
Note: Visiting Downsview Park during a special event? Additional overflow parking lots can be found on Downsview Park’s Map & Directions Page.
9 Key Features of Downsview Dog Park
Here is an in-depth look at all the key features offered at Dogsview Park that you and your dog will love:
1. Dedicated Small Dog Off-Leash Area
The small dog off-leash area is restricted to dogs 20 pounds or less.
Important Note: Both fenced off-leash areas share the same initial double-gated entryway. After entering the main area, there is an additional gate to access to small dog off-leash area two steps away.
The small dog off-leash area takes up about a third of the off-leash play area.
This dedicated area features:
- Flat woodchip off-leash area
- Short paved walkways
- Shade (eventually) – trees are planted inside the dog park. All the trees are still young though will need several years before they mature enough to provide shade – in the next upcoming years, however, there won’t be any shade at the dog park
2. Dedicated water source
There is a dedicated water fountain that serves both humans and dogs. Spouts are human height and dog-bowl height. The foundation is located inside Dogsview park, inside the main off-leash area.
- Like most other fountains, the dog fountain is not in operation during the winter months (November to April). Some dog owners at Dogsview Park mentioned that the dog fountain was not working last May either. To minimize the gear you’re carrying, I recommend a collapsible silicone bowl with a carabiner that you can attach to your water bottle or your treat pouch. That way you can keep your hands in your pockets during these cooler months!
- Visitors using the small dog off-leash area will need to cross into the main off-leash area to access the fountain. There is no dedicated water access in the small dog area or outside the off-leash area.
Whoever designed this dog park prioritized fun stimuli for dogs. The off-leash area includes multiple terrains for varied textures and physical abilities including:
- Multiple grassy mounds for uphill and downhill racing fun (also serves as great hide and seek when playing with other dogs!)
- Woodchips in the heavy chase & play area
- Flat grassy areas further back for the relaxed off-leash dog sniffers
- Concrete hard surface for humans and non-muddy treks
4. Double-gated entryway with extra traffic corral
Dogsview park’s entryway is not only double-gated but also features a corral type of fencing (where you need to walk around fences) to help regulate the inflow and outflow of dogs.
5. Cheerful Red Muskoka Chairs
We aren’t even close to cottage country and yet somehow two cheerful red Muskoka chairs found it’s way into Downsview’s dog park! As a fellow dog owner, I can’t help but rejoice with this decision!
Downsview Park designed this dog park to be a serene and comfortable lounge space for humans too!
6. 3.7KM accessible on-leash trails across 291 acres of multi-use land
As a former Canadian Forces Toronto Base, Downsview Park is a massive parcel of land at 291 acres.
Since this space opened to the public in 1999, this former military base has now transformed into an integrated park with a growing list of family-friendly features including:
- An apple orchard pavilion
- 3.7 KM of paved walking trails
- 162,000sq ft. Indoor Merchant Market and Farmer’s Market (weekends 10:00 Am – 5:00 PM)
- 485,000 sq ft. multi-purpose sports complex – aka “The Hangar”
- 45 Acres of Forest with woodchip trails
- 9-acre Storm Water Lake
- Prairie Land
- Urban Farms
- Outdoor urban art
- Children’s play zone
The 3.7 KM trail also known as the Circuit Path traverse the outer perimeter of the open Downsview Park space. This path along with its growing network of interconnected pathways and forest trails means Downsview Park makes for an excellent on-leash stroll filled with stimulating and enriching sights and sounds for you and your dog to enjoy.
7. Natural division of off-leash space for play and sniffs
The dog park itself has an almost teardrop-like shape. Near the entrance or the ‘base’ of the teardrop, the area is wide and offers multiple mini mounds for a more challenging chase and play.
As you walk further into the dog park, the tapered end becomes flatter and the woodchips make way to grassy landscapes. This grassy area has few dogs and is a great place for more shy dogs to spend some time quality off-leash time sniffing around and working on desensitization activities.
8. Garbage and Recycling bins are located inside the off-leash areas.
9. Bike racks at the off-leash entrance
Dog-owning bikers, this is your sign to visit Downsview Park. Not only can you spend some off-leash time, but the dedicated bike racks ensure that your dog can also enjoy some quality off-leash time too before hitting the trails with you again.
Missing Features You Should Know Before Visiting Downsview Dog Park
Here are some features that are missing from Dogsview park that you should know about before visiting:
1. Comfort stations are relatively far away
Plan your washroom usage accordingly. Washrooms are located about a 10 minutes’ walk away at the orchard pavilion.
Flushable washrooms are only available to the public from May to November.
From November to April, the washrooms will be locked. Visitors will only have access to portables at the orchard pavilion.
2. No Additional Lighting
Unfortunately, Dogsview Park does not have floodlights or solar lights. Early morning or late evening play in the off-leash area likely won’t be possible.
The main circuit path has intermittent lighting on the pathways. Parts of the path are not well lit either so I would not recommend Downsview Park as a great park to visit in the dark.
3. Low fences
This is the most frequent complaint mentioned in negative reviews. Downsview Dog Park’s fences are relatively low. Any larger dog or any dog with significant hops can vault these fences with relative ease. On-leash walks around the park may be a better option for these dogs instead.
Reminders When Visiting Downsview Park
When visiting Downsview Park, please remember to:
- Keep your dog on a leash while exploring the park outside the designated off-leash areas
- Pick up after your dog
Downsview Park rules for dogs include:
- Keeping your dog on a leash (no longer than 2.4 M or about 7 feet) at all times outside of the designated off-leash area
- Repairing any holes dug by their dog while in the park
There aren’t any fines that I’ve seen, however, you may be asked to leave the park if you fail to do so.
For dog owners with reactive dogs or those seeking to avoid accidental off-leash encounters please note that you may see off-leash dogs in the following spaces despite the park rules:
- Atop of The Mound
- The meadow directly beside the off-leash dog area
- In the forest trails
Review of Downsview Dog Park
It was a wet, and icy winter weekend day. Still, despite the weather conditions, there were more than a handful of people that visited Downsview Park.
Most were dog owners strolling through the park around the circuit path.
We loved that Circuit Path’s walkways were wide and well salted. The walkways were so wide there was ample space for dogs to pass by each other with a family of four walking in opposite directions.
We ended up spending almost 3 hours at Downsview park on our first stay. Here’s how we ended up spending our time:
- 45 min in Dogsview Park (most of the time was solo exploration since there were so few visitors)
- 1.5 hours exploring the forest grove trails with Limone (we saw an owl and plenty of other winter birds here too!)
- 30 minutes atop ‘The Mound’
- 15 minutes exploring parts of the Circuit Path with Limone
Initial Impression of Dogsview Park
Whoever designed Downsview’s dog park made sure to think of design and experience. Unlike most dog parks that are just fenced-in open, flat spaces, this Dogsview Park was intentionally created with mounds of varying sizes and shapes. Paved pathways and designated rest spaces for owners were also thoughtfully incorporated into this park.
We loved that Downsview Dog Park was designed to be a place for dog owners to enjoy, relax, and linger. Considering there were no dogs in the space we lingered here longer than expected!
Forest Grove Trails
If you decide to spend some time walking and exploring the rest of Downsview Park, we highly recommend the Forest Trails north of the dog park.
For many urban dogs, an additional on-leash trail walk through a woodchipped forested network of trails is highly stimulating and rewarding.
This urban forest also has an active birding community. On our second visit, we saw an owl and several species of birds!
Yep. That’s the official name for the big hill near the forest trails according to the Downsview Park Map. If you can make it up without slipping, the Mound is a great place to enjoy a scenic view of the park and its neighbouring area. From here, you can even spot the Wilson Yard, the largest TTC subway yard and bus garage!
When I write my dog park reviews, I try to include seasonal details – even if I’ve only visited the dog park location a few times. I refer to Google Reviews for some additional seasonal information if I’ve only visited a few times to fill out the other seasonal information as much as possible.
Here are some key points to note depending on which season you are visiting this dog park.
Spring – You may want to avoid visiting Downsview Dog Park’s main off-leash area during Spring. Muddy pools form at the bottom of the mounds at the dog park and the mounds themselves become quite slippery thanks to the mud. Guaranteed a wet and muddy dog if you do decide to visit during the spring!
Summer – N/A overall a great time for dogs and dog-owners alike. Once the trees have matured in the dog park, this will be a great shaded area as well.
Fall – You may want to bring a towel – much like spring the park can become a bit muddy – especially around the mound areas, but there will be less water pooling than spring / early winter.
Winter – From personal experience, late winter and warmer winter days will result in ice around the paved walkways in the dog park. Unlike the circuit path, the walkways inside the dog park are not salted so it can get quite slippery. Please be careful when using the dog park’s paved areas! The woodchipped areas however are great! I’d also recommend a towel to wipe away the salt and mud afterwards too.
What other reviewers are saying
Despite it being a relatively new off-leash dog park (opened September 2020), Downsview Dog Park / Dogsview Park has received an overwhelmingly positive review on Google Reviews. With 96 reviews and an average of 4.8 stars out of 5, this is another great dog park that dog owners should visit.
Here are the recurring positive comments:
- Peaceful and quiet
- Great view
- Very Clean
- Nearby bike racks
In terms of negative or low-rated reviews, this is what most dissatisfied visitors have to say:
- Drainage issues in parts of the park
- Small dog park – especially after you subtract the fenced-off space for the trees and small off-leash dog area
- Low fencing
Downsview Dog Park Summary
Although a bit on the smaller end, Dogsview Park is one of the newest and better-designed off-leash dog parks in Toronto.
This dog park is a great fit for most small and medium-sized dogs.
Owners of larger dogs may find the off-leash area to be a bit *too* small and the fences a bit *too* low, but Downsview Park as a whole makes up for that with its wide array of terrain, trails, urban sights, and garden spaces.
Thanks to its location in the vast Downsview Park, and its discreet central location within the park, this Dogsview Park makes for a serene, quiet and enjoyable visit for most dog owners and dogs.
Downsview Park offers many things that Toronto dog owners are looking for including:
- Free parking
- Dedicated and fenced small dog off-leash area
- Additional on-leash park space
- A cheerful and inviting ambiance
- Massive space great for on-leash walks
For Toronto dog owners that have a car, this is well worth a visit if you’re looking for a more serene space to spend some time with your dog.
Looking for other nice dog parks in North York? Then may I recommend checking out G. Ross Lord Dog Park – it’s a great choice for dogs new to off-leash trails to practice recall in the small off-leash trail area! Be sure to visit Earl Bales Dog Park if you’re looking for unique scenery to go with your dog park visit!
Looking for other dog parks with dedicated small dog areas? Then be sure to check out my post: Which Dog Parks in Toronto have Dedicated Small Dog Areas?
Need a quick recommendation? Then give Jack Darling Dog Park a visit! Although this is in Mississauga, this is one of our top 3 favourite dog park in the GTA!
What We Always Bring With Us to Dog Parks
What’s on Limone:
Depending on the situation we rotate Limone through various harnesses and collars:
- Our Everyday Harness: Julius K-9 IDC ® Longwalk Harness
- ‘Photo-Op/Meeting her Grandpawrents’ Harness: Knick Knack Paddy Whack Harness in Prime *locally made in Toronto
- ‘I’m dirty, my harness is dirty, and I need a shower so I can’t wear a harness anymore’ Collar: KONG® Comfort Weave Padded Dog Collar – we bring this with us whenever we know Limone is going to get muddy or go into the water for a swim and we can’t bother with a harness
Similarly, we rotate Limone’s leash based on our needs. These are the three leashes we use regularly:
- Everyday Leash: 4 My Merles Creations – Standard Braided Leash. *locally made in Orillia, Ontario. Here are the custom options we chose if you’d like the exact same one:
- Embroidered Handle
- Poly Webbing Color: Yellow
- Fleece Color: Red
- Fleece Color 2: Royal Blue
- Embroidery Color: Black
- ‘I’m going to get dirty and drag my leash around OR I’m going to be tied onto a doggy zipline’ Leash: Amazon’s Choice Dog Training Leash with Padded Handle – 6ft in Grey
- Long Line Lead: Amazon’s Choice 20ft Long Lead in Black
Have a specific dog park you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know in the comments below! We (Limone included) would love to explore new places and share our thoughts with you!
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