Corktown dog owners petition for better digs

Dennis Hanagan —

Corktown dog owners want a bigger and better off-leash dog-run than the current gravel one in Corktown Common park.

“We’re looking for a more environmentally-friendly space for the dogs,” Kristin Halliwill, with Dogs of Corktown, said in an interview at the fenced-in dog-run in the park’s northeast corner. It’s about half an acre in size, surrounded by grassland.

“It’s barren. There’s no shade. It’s not large enough for (dogs) to actually exercise well,” said Halliwill. It’s also single-gated whereas most dog runs are double-gated for dogs’ safety.

Deputy Mayor Pam McConnell said it’s unlikely the run—which is in the Don River flood plain—can be made much larger.

She noted the current space is on flat land and nearby land is sloped which could be unsafe for dogs running loose. She suggested the possibility of at least adding shade.

On May 15, over a dozen Corktown dog owners, with their pets, gathered for a group photo by A.J. Messier of Hogtown Studios in Corktown to help publicize the group’s petition for a better off-leash area.

Halliwill said dog owners are willing to help fund-raise to get the run enlarged. She said shade trees are needed.

“With no shade, in the warmer weather, it’s not conducive to them staying healthy, staying hydrated,” Halliwill said.

She knows of 40 to 50 dogs in the neighbourhood, and with more buildings yet to be occupied “it’s going to become busier and busier. Dogs from the Distillery (District) are coming now, too.”

McConnell said Waterfront Toronto is looking to see what can be done with the run and she wants pet owners “kept in the loop” about possible ways to make it more enjoyable for them and their canines.