Taylor Creek Park a great park for dog walking
Taylor Creek Park is one of the best on-leash parks for dog walking in Toronto East & Scarborough Southwest. Being a very large park, it has plenty of space to roam and is not at all crowded. We have visited all of the larger parks in this area, and there are many great places to walk dogs, but Taylor Massey Creek park is exceptional.
The best thing about it is the amazing variety of terrain and activities for the dogs. This one destination offers so many expeditions, giving the dogs the opportunity to hike on 57 trails, frolic on the grass, explore the scents of the forest, feel the fresh Earth on their paws, or cool off in the creek. When it’s super hot outside, there are always plenty of shady places to walk under the canopy of big trees, which are also gorgeous in the autumn. In the winter the trail is not maintained, which means no salt. No salt is good news for dogs.
Paved or Unpaved: take your choice
There is a paved path on the South side of the creek, running 3.5 km from just East of the Don Valley Parkway all the way to Victoria Park. This paved side is a multi-use trail used by dog walkers, cyclists, rollerbladers, joggers, moms with strollers and anyone else who wants to go for a lovely walk. Once in the park, no cars or buildings can be seen. Taylor Creek park allows you to leave the city hustle and bustle far behind while being surrounded by the beauty of nature, with the sounds of birds, flowing water and the breeze rustling the leaves in the big trees. This place is like a wildlife refuge with occasional sightings of deer, herons, and frogs.
There are bridges to allow crossing the creek in several places, which is great when dog walking, because it allows us to choose to take a different path back than the one we took going out. Both the dogs and their dog walkers appreciate the variety of hikes this park offers. There are also stairway entrances with signs that link to more great places to walk.
On-leash trails & New off-leash park
Apparently the entire park was a leash free zone for 30 years, until 2010, when it was denied off-leash status due to it being a ravine and part of a floodplain, and therefore it was designated a sensitive environmental area to be protected. Although the entire park is officially an on-leash park, many dog owners allow their pooches to roam unleashed on the North side of the creek, which is unpaved. However, they do occasionally receive large fines for doing so. Our experience has been that the dog walkers follow the rules of the park, whereas the individual dog owners take their chances. No doubt that has to do with the significant fees we pay the city to obtain our licenses, and the hefty insurance that goes along with it. Breaking the law could jeopardize our licenses. We also have a responsibility to keep the dogs in our care safe, and to ensure none of the dogs causes harm to other park users, or damage to the park itself.
Exciting news for people wanting more fenced off-leash parks; there is a new dog park just completed at the end of summer 2016 at the far West end of the Taylor Creek Park recreational trail, right beside the parking lot. There is currently only one operational washroom near the other (East) end of the trail by the Dawes Road parking lot.
Directions & Parking
Speaking of parking lots, there is plenty of free parking: at the West end of the trail, just South-East of the Don Mills Road and the DVP (which is also near the Coxwell Ravine Park), another parking lot just off Dawes Road near the East end of the trail, and another parking area on Haldon Ave. near the middle of the trail. Here’s a link to the Parks, Forestry & Recreation map of Taylor Creek Park.
How the park got it’s name
Interestingly, according to Ontario Trails, “Taylor Creek Park follows a major tributary to the Forks of the Don River. Three rivers meet at the forks and form the Lower Don River: the East Don, the West Don and this tributary. Known by several names over the years, the two most commonly used names — Taylor and Massey Creek — are taken from two families with important historical ties to the area. A third name, Silver Creek, was used during the early 1800’s.” The Taylor family owned the Don Valley Brick Works, (now named Evergreen Brick Works) and the Massey family owned the Massey-Ferguson farm equipment company. These wealthy families owned large estates in the area.
Taylor Creek Park is a great spot for dog walking along a series of delightful nature trails. It’s is a wonderful green space in the midst of the city.