Fur-la-la-la… ‘Tis the season to be jolly, rolling in the snow and making doggy snow angels. Yes, lucky dogs of Vancouver get to experience fresh powder right at their front doors. As pet parents we watch with joy and pride, and we wonder: where else can I take my dogs so they too can experience the wonder of Christmas? Below are nine of our top suggestions that you and your entire fur family can enjoy.
- What: Local produce, gourmet and artisan gifts, all local! Fuel up on tasty noshes from Vancouver’s unique food trucks on site.
- Where: 4601 Ontario St, in the parking lot of Nat Bailey Stadium, adjacent to Hillcrest Centre.
- When: Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm (except Dec 24 & 31)
- Bark tip: Howlellujah, dogs welcome! On short leash and under control, keeping away from stalls as not to disturb vendor business. Market space is cozy and parking can be dicey, but Riley Park is a neighborhood blessed by lots of green space. Take a breather around Hillcrest Park or cross the street and head to Queen Elizabeth Park. At the end of the day, stop by Three Dog Bakery (4348 Main St) for a special treat
- What: Like its sibling at Nat Bailey, but with a bit more foot room for your dog to roam.
- Where: Hastings Park – Centregrounds
- When: Sundays 10 am – 2 pm (except Dec 25 & Jan 1)
- Bark tip: Get your weekly grocery shopping and holiday gifting done with your dog by your side. The ideal Vancouver life!
- What: deliciously local! The Steveston Festival of Trees is also taking place inside the cannery, showcasing uniquely decorated trees by local groups and merchants.
- Where: 12138 Fourth Avenue, Richmond, at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site
- When: Sundays (December 4, 11, 18, January 29 10 am to 3 pm) Tree display is daily 10 am to 5 pm; Dec. 24 & 31 Open 10 am to 2 pm; closed Dec. 25 & 26, Jan. 1
- Bark tip: While the indoor festivities are reserved for humans, your dog will love the walk around Garry Point park. Unleash your inner athlete by challenging the West dyke trail on foot or bike, with your dog on leash.
- What: Who’s Santa’s lap dog? Naughty or nice, get your photos taken and earn dog karma points with donations benefiting Canadian Guide Dogs for the Blind
- Where: Pet Food and More stores around the Greater Vancouver Area
- When: follow Santa’s paw prints and catch him here.
- What: Your family will be charmed by the relaxing and unique atmosphere of Kerrisdale. Yes it’s got Starbucks and McDonald’s and Gap, but you are more likely to find hidden treasures in the various thrift stores and character shops. Kids can enjoy horse carriage rides on Saturdays. Your dog will love you if you guys check out Quichena dog park nearby, and walk the newly paved Arbutus Greenway Trail (work in progress, but one day will take you from False Creek down to Fraser River!)
- Where: Kerrisdale, Vancouver
- When: Dec 3rd 2016 to Dec 23rd; 12 pm – 4 pm
- Bark Notes: Be sure to grab a bite before you leave, you will not be disappointed; and let’s not forget your fur kid – check out True Carnivores at W. Blvd and 44th!
- What: For the fashion conscious and deal lovers, no more kissing your dog goodbye as you head out to find the best deals. This outdoor shopping mall is complete with a children’s playground and walking paths that welcome canine chaperones. You can also drop off the shopaholics in your family and head to McDonald dog beach or Iona park just minutes away from the mall- both are fantastic dog heavens and a sanctuary from the material, motorized world!
- Where: 7899 Templeton Station Rd #1000, Richmond (Canada line Templeton station if you want to take public transit)
- When: Monday – Saturday 10 am – 9 pm; Sunday and Holidays 10 am – 7 pm
- Bark Notes: Straight from their website:
“Pet Friendly – We love our pets too, McArthurGlen Vancouver is happy to welcome dogs to the Designer Outlet. Be sure to clean up after your dog and keep them on a leash at all times. Dog entry into individual stores is at the discretion of the retailer. We apologize for any inconvenience!”
Carol Ship Parade of Lights (Click for shore-front viewing guide)
- What: Bring your binoculars and head down to the sea wall to see the Carol Ships and their holiday themed decorations. Alternatively, book yourself a dinner cruise or even better, commission a private charter for your friends and family which can include Fido on board! (For public cruise, check in with management as it is case by case.)
- Where: From North Vancouver through English Bay to False Creek, pick your point!
- When: Dec 2 to Dec 23.
- Bark Notes: The false Creek area is magical during winter time! Following the seawall, be sure to stop by Granville Island and the Olympic Village area. Even though the market and the Enchant light maze under Cambie Bridge are off limits to dogs, the surrounding area is dog friendly. Catch some warmth by passing the many heated outdoor patios of restaurants (some dog-friendly) all the way to Yaletown and beyond.
- What: Three million twinkling lights, operated and installed by eight hundred firefighters, eight thousand hours hard work, with proceeds benefiting burn victims. Needless to say, touring Bright Nights should be a rite of passage for all Vancouverites, 4-legged ones included. Lots of holiday festivities to be enjoyed at the Plaza, including a photo op with Santa!
- Where: Miniature railway area at Stanley Park, Vancouver
- When: Daily until Jan 1. Click link above for hours.
- Bark Notes: While dogs are not allowed on the train rides, they are welcomed in the park grounds. Sip hot chocolate and toss a few freshly buttered popcorn for fido while the food police in your family are too busy looking at the lights.
- What: Adventure by day, enchantment by night. The suspension bridge, Treetop Adventure, Cliff Walk, the rain forest and canyon are transformed by lights into winter wonderland. Find the world’s tallest living Christmas tree and check out the fireflies- the coolest interactive light display. Kindle a wave of tiny “fireflies” with the magical flashlight and dazzle your dog! More holiday fun and music to be enjoyed at the Winter Pavilion. This is worth the traffic nightmare crossing Lion’s Gate!
- Where: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, 3735 Capilano Rd., North Van
- When: Daily 11 am – 9 pm, holiday activities start at 4 pm and run until Jan 8th.
- Bark Notes: Dogs are welcomed! (Leashed for their own safety) Paws up to our friends at the Capilano Bridge!
Remember, your dog is safest at the end of your leash! Although these venues are pet friendly, all dogs must remain on leash and on their best behavior at all times. Like people, not all dogs enjoy large crowds and loud music. Since your dog cannot speak, keep a close eye out for stress signals that show Fido isn’t having a good time. These signs can be obvious like cowering, tucking their tail, and shaking, or they could be a bit more discrete signs. Things like yawing, avoiding eye contact, licking their lips, or even lifting their paw off the ground are subtle but tell tale signs your dog is uncomfortable. If these are common things for your dog, Christmas lights may not be worth his stress. Lets keep our pups safe and happy this holiday season!
Written by: Grace Hung