Local Parks - off leash and on!

One of the best things about having a dog is getting out and spending time outdoors - and that includes spending time in our local parks - of which we've got a lot of very beautiful ones!

Dogs need a ton of different kinds of experiences in order to have fulfilled, balanced and healthy lives - and that includes lots of off leash exercise, as well as on leash walks, sniff and pass experiences, wrestling with other dogs, hanging out at outdoor restaurants, going on errands with their owners, spending time in crowds, being exposed to children - everything. If your dog can handle it - they deserve to have as many varied experiences as you can give them - and everyone knows, a tired dog is a good dog!

The HRM's website pretty clearly outlines what our responsibilities are as dog owners as to how we have to carry ourselves in public with our dogs, and that's great - because knowledge is power - and they also have a section on off leash parks in the HRM. You can check out the HRM's website about dogs in general at http://www.halifax.ca/animalservices/dogs.php

There are currently 2 PERMANENT off leash parks - Point Pleasant Park and Mainland Commons Offleash Dog Parks. There are also 5 parks that the city calls "off leash pilot parks" - they are Shubie Park, the Dartmouth Commons, Fort Needham, Hemlock Ravine, and Sandy Lake.

From November 1st to May 1st they open up 28 sportsfields around the HRM that are open from 5am to 10pm - and then from June 1st to November 1st, they leave 7 of those sportsfields open to off leash use - although they have closed one of them down - the Robert Drive Park ball field.

Here are the RULES for off-leash exercise within the boundaries of the Halifax Regional Municipality as laid out on the HRM's website: Provided that owners can control their dogs so that they do not interfere with people or other dogs, dogs are allowed off leash: In designated areas of HRM Parks (Point Pleasant, Seaview) On HRM sports fields from November 1 to May 1, between 6am and 10am, so long as the field is not in use or does not have signs indicating that dogs are not allowed or must be on leash.

The success of this pilot program depends on the stewardship of responsible pet owners. A list of the sport fields and ball diamonds is available at: https://www.halifax.ca/recreation/parks-trails-gardens/parks-outdoor-spaces/leash-dog-parks

OTHER PLACES in the Halifax Regional Municipality are considered to be ON-LEASH areas.

You must keep your dog on-leash or be subject to a fine for letting your dog running at large - even if your dog is simply sitting beside you and you're sitting at a bench minding your own business - if he's not tethered to you in some way - he's running at large. It's the LAW.

So take that for what it is, and consider yourself warned. A little known fact though is that CROWN LAND is also an area that dogs are allowed off-leash - even when that crown land is located within the HRM boundaries.

I talk about it on my blog at "You may already have legal off leash space in your neighbourhood!" - gut it's up to you to find the Crown Land - I won't suss it out for you! I'm good, but I'm not that good! haha!

So look below for different parks locally to go enjoy some time with the most favourite being in your life!!

The HRM has a page that's really great that lists out the municipal trails around the HRM - they are all on-leash - but they are all great to have a fun time on - you can check it out at http://www.halifax.ca/trails/index.php

Tip for salt water beaches - I had an email from Ferne and her dogs Sheba and McGee, she said that she never takes her dogs off-leash when she goes to salt-water beaches during the months of January, February or March because she's actually met up with LIVE seals when she's gone to Rainbow Haven beach in particular - and she's learned from local biologists that seals can be quite nasty at this time of year because this is when they give birth - and seals can give nasty bites to dogs when provoked, and she doesn't like to take any chances.

She wanted to give out that information in case other people weren't aware of that possibility when they're at local beaches. I know I wasn't aware that seals beached themselves locally - I've only personally seen DEAD seals - and my dogs LOVE to roll on dead seals, dog knows what they'd think of live seals!! Thanks so much Ferne for the heads up!!

The HRM also has some neat pages on their website that list out every playground, every ball park and every sports field in the city - you can find those pages at -
Baseball diamonds - http://www.halifax.ca/rec/BaseballDiamondsinHRM.php
Playgrounds in HRM - http://www.halifax.ca/rec/playgroundsinhrm.php

Another really neat place to visit is a facebook page called "Hiking with dogs in Nova Scotia" - it's a pretty active group of dog owners in Nova Scotia who share places that they've hiked with their dogs and you get lots of tips of new places to go with your dog - you should definitely check it out!

Here are the Parks that I've taken a look at and reviewed for this website:

Mainlands Common Off Leash Dog Park - Clayton Park
Fort Needham - northend Halifax - off leash park
Shubie Park - off leash park
Hemlock Ravine - Bedford - offleash park
Point Pleasant Park - offleash park
Cole Harbour Bissett Park - Cole Harbour
Burnside Trails - Eileen Stubbs Ave in Dartmouth
Clam Harbour - Dartmouth
Crystal Crescent Beach
Deadman's Island - off the Purcell's Cove Road
The Dingle and The Frog Pond on the Purcell's Cove Road
Great Neighbourhood Walks
Halifax Commons
Long Lake - Halifax
Martinique Beach - Dartmouth
Northwest Arm - Halifax
Oakfield Park - Fall River!
Porter's Lake Provincial Park
Prospect Bay

York Redoubt - Purcell's Cove Road
"The Moose" - Silver Sands Beach in Dartmouth
What to do if you’re dog isn’t dog-friendly

Is your dog a dog friendly dog? Click here and find out! This link also has a link to the HRM's website about "responsible dog ownership"


  1. Wow. I've never seen a Seal at Rainbow Haven. Thanks for the warning.

  2. Just found this site. I love it. Thanks for taking the time to make it.