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Eric Code correspondence May 2018

May 27, 2018

From Eric Code: Dog parks are tricky things and very misunderstood. I would compare them to ecosystems - each one is a little different, and needs to be different, based on the number of dogs, conditions, size etc. What works in one dog park will not necessarily work in another. They must be designed for their unique conditions and use.

Unfortunately, Toronto has tried to use a one-size-fits-all approach. As a result, new parks are less appealing than the old ones. I just had a meeting with the city (Parks and Rec and Waterfront Toronto) and they seem to new ideas. I will be posting the presentation online, soon.

Small dog parks (less than 0.5 acres or so) are sometimes required to fit into urban environments. BUT, that can lead to crowding, which can trigger fights. Also, small dog parks get a huge amount of highly concentrated foot/paw traffic and urine. So, pea gravel often used (it's the new standard). Loads of concerns have been raised about pea gravel - and not just in Canada. BC won't used it in dog parks except when absolutely necessary.

Our Facebook group: is a rather free discussion (unorganized), but there are some resources in the 'files' section (check out the ones on design and strategies, if you're interested). We're planning on having a website eventually.

Vancouver's "People, Park's and Dog's Strategy" is excellent. It was two years in the making, based on best practices from 11 cities. It's hundreds of pages long. In Toronto we have a 6-page policy, and policies are not strategies. Their idea in Vancouver isn't just to create parks for dogs - it's to create conditions that make it easier for people and dogs to share public space in harmony. The more crowded cities get, the more important this becomes.

The round two presentation boards provided a good summary. Note their dog park designs. They are excellent. Making dog parks enjoyable encourages voluntary bylaw compliance. While Toronto does have some nice dog parks, the new ones are usually a patch of gravel with a fence. That's not a park experience. Dog owners want park experiences, too.

Finally, check out "Unleashed: A Guide to Successful Dog Parks." It was commissioned by the Government of South Australia. They have some of the best dog parks in the world, since so many people have dogs (2/3 of households):

There are also some great YouTube Videos about the best dog parks in NY and Chicago, for example.

Texas does amazing dog parks:

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