the Ultimate Guide for Toronto's Dog Friendly Patios!

Last updated: 3 January 2022

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When did the Ontario provincial government start allowing dog-friendly patios?
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Before 2019, Ontario was among the Canadian provinces which hadn’t yet formally allowed dogs to join their owners on patios. After the Better for People, Smarter for Business Act of 2019, with the permission of the restaurant’s owners, dogs are allowed in outdoor seating areas, like restaurant patios, and they’re allowed in indoor eating areas, where alcohol and certain low-risk foods (like fries or pre-packaged foods) are served.

Have restaurants who've opened up their patios to dogs since 2019 seen better success?
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So far, the reception has been quite positive from restaurant owners, who are happy to have new advertising angles (billing themselves as dog friendly restaurants), and can more easily welcome dog owning customers. Rob Garrard, owner of Second Wedge Brewing Company, said, “the Ontario government is creating the right environment for local businesses to succeed by removing ineffective regulations.”

Are other Canadian provinces becoming more dog-friendly?
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Yes — in the spring of 2021, Nova Scotia joined the fleet of provinces, de-regulating their restaurant industries by allowing dog friendly patios. Seeking opportunities to help restaurants at a time when they’ve been battered every which way by the pandemic, premier Iain Rankin said, “we've listened to the restaurant industry. They told us this change will help them attract more dog owners who want to enjoy a leisurely meal or a beverage and be able to do so without having to leave their dogs at home.”

Which province was first in allowing dog-friendly patios?
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Alberta was the first province in Canada to allow dog friendly patios, starting in the autumn of 2012.

Are other bigger provinces not dog-friendly for patios?
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In British Columbia, dog friendly patios still technically aren’t allowed for most restaurants, unlike Nova Scotia, Quebec, here in Ontario, and Alberta. To skirt the provincial laws, most “dog-friendly” patios in British Columbia are restaurants that have spacious patios where you can tie your dog “nearby” the patio, but not technically on the restaurant’s patio premises. 

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