New dog-friendly condos your canine will love

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Tracy Ruddell —

Toronto is a city of dog lovers and condo dwelling doesn’t deter us from becoming fur moms and pops. Cats and condos have always meshed but raising a healthy, happy pup in a Toronto condo can be tough, particularly when you have a very active pooch.

We’ve written before about some of our favourite pet-friendly condos in the city as well as condos near dog parks. You can also find out about any pet restrictions on each, individual building page using our condo building guide, organized by neighbourhood.

Today, we wanted to take a look at what pet-friendly features new Toronto condominiums are promising because, let’s face it, catering to canines is a way to many buyer’s hearts (and wallets).

Here’s the catch, though. A lot of things are promised on paper in pre-construction sales materials but never delivered. We’ll talk more about that below but first, here are the top pet-friendly amenities being touted by developers looking to attract urban dog owners.

The New, Dog Friendly Condos in Toronto Promising to Make Pups a Priority

Onsite Pet Spas

The number one amenity we’re seeing is onsite pet spas because it’s a lot easier (and likely cheaper) to carve out a ground floor room than it is to integrate features like dog runs.

We’ll list a few new builds with planned pet spas here but there are many more. The challenge is that most new development do little to clarify what a “pet spa” actually is. Is this an actual spa or just a self-service dog wash station? Often, it’s just one or two raised washing stations that are nowhere near professional quality so push the developer details.

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Menkes’ Fabrik condos, pictured above and under construction at Richmond and Spadina, is promised to have an onsite pet spa.

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Sonic condos at Eglinton and Don Mills by Lindvest, above, are also planning a pet spa and outdoor green spaces and The Code condos in Forest Hill by Lifetime Developments, below, have promised a pet washing station.

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The highly anticipated East United condos by Signature Communities at Berkley and Parliament will also have a pet spa on the ground floor (above) and will be walking distance to the off-leash dog run at Corktown Commons, where local dog owners are petitioning the City for better infrastructure. Which brings us to our second, popular doggie amenity in new builds…

 

Dog Runs

Toronto (together with North York, Etobicoke & Scarborough) has over 60 city-run off-leash dog parks but a full park takes space. Space that Toronto is in short supply of, particularly in prime neighbourhoods.

As space for new urban parks dwindles, we’re sure to see more compact dog-runs sprout up around new condo developments in future, a solution not lost on the Waterfront Toronto development committee who’s included a proposed dog-run at Aiken Place Park, pictured below, in their new East Bayfront community.

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Image: Scott Torrance Landscape Architect Inc. and Thomas Balsley Associates, courtesy of Waterfront Toronto.

 

Most often, you’ll see a dog-run incorporated into the common green space of a larger community development project such as the likes of Corktown, Regent Park and the East Bayfront but we’re also starting to see more onsite dog runs proposed in new condo developments. Although they’re few and far between, you can find runs in some re-sale buildings as well like Parade at 21 Iceboat Terrace at CityPlace.

What’s really exciting is if Toronto ends up going the way of New York and LA where rooftop dog runs are not unusual. Other cities are taking note of the popularity of this space-saving and convenient solution to an urban problem and following suit.

In fact, some developers are making them the hallmark of their marketing campaigns as seen in this billboard for City Market at O from DC developers Bozzuto and Roadside Developments.

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It’s an idea that various Toronto developers have tossed around for a number of years (here’s a mention in this Toronto Star article) but it’s yet to play out in a big way although the Merchandise Lofts has a rooftop dog run.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to believe that we’ll soon see rooftop dog runs as a common element in many, new condominium proposals in Toronto. City Hall sees the lack of doggie infrastructure as a major issue not only for dog owners but other residents who don’t want to share space with pooches.

Just as we’re having to build up to support the growing human population of Toronto, we may need to build up for our dogs, also.

Onsite Groomers & Other Pet Services

The other feature we’re seeing is a move to attract pet services to ground level retail. Now, this can’t be promised to buyers long-lead of course but if you’re buying into a new build off of an assignment sale or after opening, you may have the benefit of knowing which retailers have already signed on.

It’s not uncommon to find groomers, pet daycare facilities, vets and pet stores occupy the street-level commercial leases of new build condos. This is particularly common in neighbourhoods known for their high canine populations like CityPlace with its popular Pet Social boutique located in in the heart of the community on Fort York Blvd. The Beach is another dog-friendly neighbourhood where its quite common for ground level retail in condos to include pet services or shops, particularly along the main commercial drag of Queen St. E.

Pet Friendly Features Not a Guarantee in New Developments. What You See on Paper is Not Necessarily What You’ll Get.

As pet-friendly amenities become more of a selling feature, we expect to see more examples like the above condo pet amenities in future; canine comforts can be a major USP for developers, after all.

Just don’t assume that what you see on paper is going to come to fruition if you’re buying pre-con. Unfortunately, promised dog runs and pet spas are some of the first amenities to be cut when building projects run long and over budget or if any additional space is needed to meet City approvals for other aspects of the build.

We’ve seen countless pre-construction condos promise amazing, innovative pet amenities that never materialize at all in the final product. Other times, pet plans get downgraded from a true, condo amenity to a “make good”, such as the builder attracting a private dog groomer to rent ground level retail space. And of course with that option, not only are you paying for the service, there’s no guarantee that the retailer will stay for very long. Nor do you have any say over the quality of services offered.

Remember, don’t go it alone to negotiate a pre-construction sales contract. It doesn’t cost you any more to bring your own Condo PRO to the table who will have your back in negotiating the best deal possible. And don’t count on that dog washing station or even an appropriate space for doggy business onsite.

It’s almost always safer to buy a re-sale condo for sale in Toronto but if you do choose to buy pre-con and have a pooch, pick a building near an existing dog park to be safe.

What Do Pet Owners Really Want in a Condo?

Dog ownership in Toronto condos is at an all-time high and as you can see, developers are using pet-friendly promises as selling features. But is it enough?

What pet-friendly amenities would you like to see in Toronto area condos? For all our dog owner readers out there, what would sway you to buy into one building (pre-con or re-sale) over another? Let us know in the comments section, below.

 

Lead image: Sahara playing frisbee in her condo’s commons by Angela Leezer. Condo developer signage by Brett VA. Both licensed under CC 3.0 from flickr.

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