Riverdale Park East Dog Park — East Toronto’s Dog Bowl with a City Skyline View

Maria | SYDE Road
12 min readFeb 19, 2022
Top: Maria and Limone from SYDE Road heading towards the Off-Leash area of Riverdale Park East Bottom: Limone from SYDE Road sitting on stump at Riverdale Park East's Recreational Trail - Pinterest Pin background

Do you love Trinity Bellwoods’ “Dog Bowl” but it’s too far of a trek since you live east of Don Valley Parkway? Then you should definitely consider Riverdale East Dog Park another leash-free valley where plenty of dogs come to socialize and play.

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Maria and Limone from SYDE Road heading down the slope at Riverdale Park East toward the Off-Leash Play Area

Riverdale Park East Dog Park Overview

Here’s a quick summary of the park before we dive into the detailed review:

Hours of Operation: 5:30 AM — 12:00 AM daily

Parking: Street Parking

Address: 550 Broadview Ave

Plan for: At least 20–30 minutes in the off-leash area — maybe more if you come for a picnic, trail walk, etc.

Latest Riverdale Park East Activity and Dog Play Dates: Riverdale Dog Park Facebook Group

Did you know? Riverdale Park East used to be just a grassy slope? Thanks to volunteers and the City of Toronto, the space has developed into a mature maple-ash woodlot with a small marsh at the bottom of the hill to collect and clean storm water and provide a natural habitat for native plants and animals.

Key Features You’ll Love:

  • An active, friendly, and supportive network of dog lovers and dogs ready to connect, arrange playdates, and provide regular updates on park safety
  • 1 KM recreational trail walk (on-leash) with bridge views of The Danforth connecting to Don Valley
  • Great all-season views and general activities for lingering (picnics, toboggan, swimming, skating,etc.)
  • A short 2 KM walk to the next nearest off-leash area (Riverdale Park West Dog Park)
  • Dog owners looking for late evening or early morning visits will appreciate the artificial lighting on the trail and nearby baseball diamond fields

May not be ideal for:

  • Dogs with poor recall
  • Dogs that need alone time
  • Street Parking only
  • Open off-leash area (unfenced)

Directions to Riverdale Park East Dog Park

Riverdale Park East is located just South of Danforth and Bloor and just north of East Chinatown. With its elevated space, Riverdale East is a spacious, activity-filled community park that is beloved by all nearby communities.

If this is your first time visiting Riverdale Park East, you may not not be immediately clear of ‘where’ the off-leash area is.

Officially, there are no boundaries that define the off-leash area (though it is recognized by Toronto as a designated off-leash area), however you will find that most off-leash dogs will play in the large field in the middle of the park.

If you’re arriving via car, you’ll most likely be parking on a street off of Broadview Avenue to the East of the park. You will need to head down the slope to reach the off-leash area.

Don’t want to walk on the slope? The off-leash area can also be accessed via:

  • Walking down the stairs near the skating rink to the north OR
  • Looping around the recreational trail that starts near Broadview and Langley Ave to the south

Parking at Riverdale Park East Dog Park

Street parking on the streets just east of Broadview Avenue is free during the following hours 7:00 AM — 12:00 AM. On our weekend visit, we were able to find several open spaces on Sparkhall Ave.

Not a fan of street parking? There are several paid parking lots a walking distance away:

  1. 720 Broadview Avenue (North of the park) which is an 8 minute walk from the off-leash area
  2. 14 St. Matthew Rd (South of the park) which is a 5 minute walk from the off-leash area

8 Key Features of Riverdale Park East Dog Park

Here is an in-depth look at all the key features offered at Riverdale Park East Dog Park that you and your dog will love:

Related: Reviewing an Oshawa Dog Park — Harmony Valley Off-Leash Dog Park

1. Long, flat grassy field

One of the larger dog parks in Toronto, Riverdale Park East’s fields is a large expansive field to allow your dogs to run and run and still be within sight.

2. Active community

If you’re looking for your next regular dog park, you’ll be happy to know that Riverdale Park East has a very active community of dog owners that will watch out for each other. The Facebook Group: Riverdale Dog Park is a great reference for anyone who plans to make this a regular off-leash spot. You’ll find coyote warning sightings, potential hazards and friendly memes in this group.

3. 1 KM recreational trail

While you might think this recreational trail is relatively short, this 1 KM woodlot trail offers a quiet and secluded trail walk and is great for spending a peaceful time bonding with your dog. The trail takes you through woodlots, a bridge over the connecting traffic from the Danforth to the Don Valley, before entering into the quiet back yard space of the nearby City Adult Learning Centre.

Overlooking the Danforth road that connects cars to the Don Valley Parkway during the winter.

A serene walk through the recreational trail will take you over a bridge that connects the Danforth with the Don Valley Parkway

4. Public washrooms nearby

Public washrooms are located on the southernmost side of the at 14 St. Matthews Rd., Toronto

5. Great sunset and skyline views

You can easily make your off-leash dog park visit a mini outing in itself. The hill on the east side of the Riverdale East Park is a popular location for all seasons and all times.

In the summer: a great picnic and hang out spot to relax with your dog and friend.

In the fall: amazing foliage views with a city skyline

In the winter: a popular tobogganing hill

In the evening: a romantic sunset view

6. Bike and public transportation-friendly

There is a bike share rack available on Broadview Avenue around the middle of the park.

The park is also easily accessible via the Broadview streetcar.

7. Artificial lights available

The recreational trail located on the west side of the Riverdale Park East offers lights along the trail. While they aren’t floodlights , the trail lamps provided by the trail are sufficient for dog owners and walkers looking to spend early mornings or evenings here with relative visibility.

8. Garbage and recycling bins located around park perimeter and nearby facilities

Garbage and recycling bins can be found in the following locations around the perimeter of the off-leash area:

  • South-side near the public washrooms
  • East-side atop the Broadview Ave slope
  • West-side — on the recreational trail

We didn’t get a chance to visit the rink area to the north, but I assume that there are also several bins located there too.

Missing Feature You Should Know Before Visiting Riverdale Park East Dog Park

1. No Fences

Much like other ‘dog bowls’, Riverdale Park East does not have any man-made fencing. Rather the park relies on the natural slope and swamp area to serve as the natural fencing around the park.

Review of Riverdale Park East Dog Park (First Impression)

We visited Riverdale Park East on the first snowfall of the year, during the afternoon and on a weekend to boot! Despite the late hour and the weekend, we were able to find a parking spot on the side streets immediately.

However, during the peak summer months, I can definitely see weekend parking becoming an issue unless you visit early in the day.

The weather was hovering just above zero, and the snow was that perfect packable but still fluffy kind of snow that makes the best kind of snowmen and forts.

This naturally meant that our first visit to the park was bustling with family fun. The slope was packed with kids and parents dragging and sliding down the slope with their toboggans.

The off-leash area was surprisingly empty though — with few off-leash dogs, and only a handful of small groups of families constructing snow forts and snowmen.

With so few dogs and people around, Limone basically had the entire flat park to herself and boy did she put it to great use. Once unleashed, Limone had THE BEST TIME running and running and running around the snow.

Related: Jack Darling Dog Park — A 22-Acre Fenced Paradise for Off-Leash Dogs

At one point she became this tiny little orange dot on the field because she was so far away!

After the first hour of unbridled sprinting back and forth across the field, we ended up exploring the nearby recreational trail, making sure to take plenty of stops on our short walk for photos.

While signs indicate that dogs should be on a leash during the trail walk, we did see one very well behaved off-leash dog during our stroll that stayed by his owner’s side even as we passed by.

Despite the short trail length, we ended up spending over an hour traversing back and forth on the 1 KM woodlot trail. There are so many surprisingly scenic locations on the trail that it made for a very enjoyable and easy stroll — even in the winter.

To be honest, the most difficult part of the entire day was walking back up the hill back to our car! While it was only slightly slippery thanks to the snow, I can see this being a real struggle during the icy days of winter.

Seasonal Details

When I write my dog park reviews, I try to include seasonal details — even if I’ve only visited the dog park location a few times. I refer to Google Reviews for some additional seasonal information if I’ve only visited a few times to fill out the other seasonal information as much as possible.

If you have any tips or additional comments, feel free to send me an email, message me on Twitter, or slide me a DM on Instagram!

Here are some key points to note depending on which season you are visiting this dog park.

Spring — Not actually written in the reviews, but you can find plenty of pictures of dogs in mud pools at this park during the ‘mud season’. The field in the rainy season looks like it will essentially turn into a mud pool so I’d recommend avoid visiting for several days after a particularly rainy day to let the pools of mud dry before visiting.

Summer — Amazing place for sunset, picnics, and hanging out. Parking on the weekends will be extremely difficult so plan accordingly.

Fall — N/A

Winter — From personal experience, don’t try to take the slope up or down if you’re heading to the off-leash area unless you’re sure you won’t slip. I’d recommend taking the long sidewalk route down and entering from the southern end of the park if your main purpose is to head to the open field.

What Other Reviewers are Saying

Because Riverdale Park East Dog Park is loosely based within the entire park, Google Reviews does not have a specific review location to reference just the dog park. However, Riverdale Park East does have an overall overwhelmingly positive review. With over 3,100 reviews and an average of 4.7 stars out of 5, this park is a huge hit with the general public. You’ll likely end up visiting and lingering at this park for more than just the off-leash area!

Here are the recurring positive comments:

  • Great sunset and good city skyline views
  • Tobogganing fun
  • Nice amenities like running track, outdoor skating rink, pool, tennis courts, calisthenics park
  • Very big

In terms of negative or low-rated reviews, this is what most dissatisfied visitors have to say:

  • Very close to traffic
  • Noisy because of the DVP (Don Valley Parkway)
  • Nice skylines but not THAT nice
  • Needs more shade, seats and table amenities — can only sit on the hill

Riverdale Park East Dog Park Summary

Overall, Riverdale Park East is a nice large field for city dogs to stretch their legs and run with top speed for a good distance. The space is large and can cater to the most energetic runners in the city.

As a visitor, this space felt like a more neighborly version of Trinity Bellwood Park. Each offers a great all season slope, a strong dog community, and are both spacious dog bowl style off-leash areas.

Related: Etobicoke Valley Dog Park Review — An Off Leash Trail Oasis

Given the recurring reviews of a great sunset view, I’d definitely love to come back again for a short evening romp and relaxing night atop Riverdale Park East’s slope!

What We Always Bring With Us to Dog Parks

We prefer to bring silicone collapsible water bowls with us instead of specialized dog water bottles. Why? Limone drinks more water than most dog water bottles can carry. We save ourselves from carrying extra bottles by carrying an extra-large water bottle with us and pouring water into the bowl instead.

Dog Waste Bags. Standard item to always have with you whenever you’re out with your dog. We get ours from Costco — Poops! 720 count + 1 dispenser option for CAD 21. If you were to buy the same amount from Walmart, Homesense, or other pet specialty stores, it can easily run you past CAD 40 for a similar quantity. Get it from Costco! You won’t regret the $$$ savings!

Dog Treats. This is a given — we don’t have any favourites yet but we tend to carry a couple of handfuls of treats with us to call her back or coax her to come back home with us.

Dog Treat Pouch. I admittedly did more research than I cared for before settling on this dog treat pouch. Out of all the dog treat pouches on Amazon I settled with this one because:

  • It can carry 2 rolls of poop bags — one on the side and one in the back, so even if I run out from the first roll I’ll always have a backup handy (technically you’re supposed to use the back hidden pocket to store your phone since it has a headphone hole but… I don’t use it that way)
  • It has a mesh outer bag for small quick-grab items like my clicker.
  • A deep front zipper pocket to store my keys and phone (it’s deep enough for my Pixel 3!)
  • A massive treat/toy pouch with a full drawstring. Some may hate it but I LOVE the neon green lining. Every treat stands out against the neo green lining make it very easy for your to look for specific treats. Also this pocket is massive enough to carry a small toy with you too
  • You can wear it multiple ways — the bag comes with a long strap and accessories so that you can wear it however you’d like. With the clip, you can waer it directly on the side of your pants. With just the strap, it that can be worn messenger-style (my preferred style), and with the clip + strap, you can wear it like a waist pouch.

What’s on Limone:

Depending on the situation we rotate Limone through various harnesses and collars:

Similarly, we rotate Limone’s leash based on our needs. These are the three leashes we use regularly:

East York Dog Park Toronto Dog Park



Maria | SYDE Road

A *mostly* dog-friendly content creator based in Toronto, Ontario Canada. Look forward to reviews, dog mom stories, and travel anecdotes.