Sudbury, Ontario. Admittedly, not a common destination to pack up the car and head to. But stopping on the way to somewhere even further north … why not?
Science North, an extensive science centre dedicated to the region, is an all day-family activity. Similarly, Dynamic Earth (beside the Big Nickel) is an under-ground journey into a nickel mine, both contemporary and historic, is as authentic as you can get outside the real thing (which you can do in Wales). Both family attractions you’ve got to see before the kids grow up.
But I’m here with my pup, and he’s not waiting in the car.
If you’re in Sudbury with the dog, there are still a few things you can do. You’ll likely meet other dog-people too. A word of caution, though: I found it a challenging city to navigate. Traffic moves quickly, pick up trucks rev impatiently, and locals give you directions like “go up the hill past the old hospital.”
Hopefully, this guide to dog-friendly Sudbury is helpful:
1. Sudbury Dog-friendly Hotel
We check into the Clarion Downtown, 117 Elm Street – centrally located and a ten-minute drive from either Dynamic Earth and Science North and within a walking distance of the Saturday summer market (more on that coming up). Clarion is dog-friendly, one of the better in Sudbury, though there is an economical and newly renovated Motel 6 at the edge of town.
At the Clarion, we get a comfortable king-bed and doggie welcome bag at check in. The parking lot is behind the hotel (adjacent to the Beer Store which invites panhandlers). On the second floor is both the indoor pool and gastro pub open for dinner and breakfast. (Note: I visited the Clarion as a guest of Sudbury Tourism).
2. Sudbury Dog-friendly Saturday Morning Market
Referred to as a ‘Farmer’s Market’ on promotional material, the Saturday morning Sudbury street market is popular. One downtown street and two parking lots are blocked off every Saturday morning from 8 am to 2 pm for what I’d call a ‘community’ market on Elgin Street by the train station. Many people attend, several with pooches in tow, and live entertainment creates a festive vibe.
But there wasn’t a farmer or fresh vegetable in sight when I visited. Essentially, it’s a flea market with a few artisans punctuating the mix. I ended up with a Gerry Belair hand-crafted bowl made with reclaimed wood including an organ, yes, an old Yamaha organ, creating the distinctive green stripes. Who wouldn’t go home with that?
My dog spent time in his stroller because he insisted on sniffing everything stinky … and at a flea market that’s a lot of stuff. Check out his stroller here. (affiliate link)
3. Sudbury Dog-friendly Photo-Op
The Big Nickel. Don’t leave town without a photo. This iconic emblem of Sudbury graces many a visitor’s Instagram account and it rests in a place of hilly prominence beside Dynamic Earth. A landmark in the city, The Big Nickel is a nine-metre (30-foot) replica of a 1951 King George nickel and claims status as the world’s largest coin. Walk up the viewing ramp to stand under it.
Side note: Dynamic Earth is close to Highway 17 and has RV parking along with covered picnic tables, so outdoor lunch with your dog is possible.
4. Sudbury Dog-friendly River Walk
A boardwalk trail that starts at the end of Bell Park Walkway and meanders along the Ramsey Lake shoreline ending at Science North. Or starts at Science North if you want to pay $6 to park – otherwise, parking is free across from Bell Park.
Bordered by water on one side and a strip of forest on the other, Ramsey Lake Boardwalk is the place to exercise the pooch (on leash) and many Sudbury residents do, so be prepared to meet many dog tribe members including some with more than one dog.
A concrete trail takes you to the water’s edge from Bell Park on the corner of Paris and York Streets, after you leave your car across the street and cross at the lights. Stop at the Miner’s Heritage sculpture dedicated to the mine workers who built Sudbury. If your dog sits nicely (mine doesn’t) pose him between the arch of God-like hands anchoring the piece to the ground.
Allow an hour or two along the trail if you’re walking casually and sniffing periodically. Take my word for it: excessive sniffing makes it much longer.