Welcome Victoria! Travel with your Dog to Presqu’ile Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Even from a safe distance, few people can hold back a smile seeing a eight-week-old freckled pup wrapped in a pink blanket. I’ve finally got her – I picked up my new pandemic puppy after months of searching and then a six week wait.

The first trip we take together is an over-night stop at Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Ontario on our way home. My home. And her new forever home.

She hasn’t exactly got her hiking legs yet. On a nippy late fall day, I’ve got Victoria wrapped in a fleece as we watch the waves crash against the shore along Lake Ontario. She jolts alert to the water’s roar.  It’s Victoria’s first-time seeing nature this large and loud, and she’s understandably nervous.

Victoria’s been in this world barely seven weeks.

Mid-November I got my new puppy, days shy of the eight weeks. The family who raised her was ready for her and her eight siblings to go. Two months ago, after struggling to rescue a new dog, I put a down payment on a new-born black and white Sprocker – half Cocker, half Springer and all Spaniel. (Check her out here).

This weekend, I picked her up, snatching her away from the only home she’s every known and the one littermate left. (That dog was going to her forever home the next day). Victor spent her first night away at a hotel. I figured it was a good transition to her new life as travel buddy and canine cutie.

Actually, it was a longish drive to where I picked her up, and I assumed (correctly) I’d need one sleep along the journey back.

Plus, having a dog in tow – even if that dog is more swaddled than sprinting – is a great reason to check out an Ontario provincial park I haven’t seen yet: Presqu’ile Provincial Park minutes from Highway 401 along Lake Ontario midway between Kingston and Toronto. Presqu’ile, a boomerang-shaped spit of limestone and sand, is French for an ‘almost island, and it’s a stop for migratory birds and butterflies Spring and Fall.

Is Presqu’ile Provincial Park dog-friendly? Yes, especially for puppies who love kids.

Presqu’ile Provincial Park is also an ideal day use park for people and pups, particularly for those not interested in hiking the backcountry. In fact, you can drive the entire park. Yes, drive. A circular road takes you around the park, literally – just like my experience with Victor, my first heart dog, in Erie several winters ago (see here).

Of course, there’s spots to stop and park the car: trail entrances, lakeside (beach) access, a boardwalk over marshes, and a historic lighthouse – Ontario’s second oldest.

Today, because I’m warming up Victoria to the world, we’ll skip the trails though they are busy, being one of the few activities people can do in late 2020. Other dogs are here too, including a vocal lab for whom the Great Lake is not too cold to leap through like a playful dolphin.   

Presqu’ile, 982 hectares in total, is one of the few provincial parks open all year (camping April to October). So, the six walking trails ranging in length from 1 to 5 kilometres are well travelled. The most popular is Jobes Woods circular trail, the shortest and level though classified as a ‘moderate’ hike. All other trails, despite being longer, are classified as ‘easy,’ including the Owen Point Trail that follows Lake Ontario’s shore.

Marsh Boardwalk Trails at Presquile Provincial Park, Ontario

The 1.1 kilometre of Marsh Boardwalk Trails we didn’t get to experience because flood waters rendered it unusable (which happens randomly throughout the year). But the winding boardwalk and observation tour is an ideal place to exercise a four-legged travel buddy (unless he makes a dive over the edge, as my Victor did at Pelee Provincial Park years prior).

We did visit the historic lighthouse, Ontario’s second oldest, built in 1839 and home to stories of shipwrecks and lost locals. What’s fun about lighthouses is first, they are water adjacent so there’s usually a photo-worthy view, and second, they are round. Dogs can run around and around them to burn off some steam.

Victoria didn’t actual burn too much energy – being little and new she was cautious – but loved the kids she met and took a healthy interest in following me. That’s a good start.

Parts of the park were once farmland, so the picnic grounds reflect that history: Calf Pasture Point area is a warm weather spot on the other side from the lake and a good place to drop a canoe into the water.

Speaking of warm weather, I’ll be coming back here. Or we’ll be coming back here when Victoria full-sized and ready to roam the longest of trails. Definitely a romp along the Marshland boardwalk is on the agenda, maybe even a night in a tent. We’ll see.

Highlights of Presqu’ile Provincial Park:

  • Address: 328 Presqu’ile Parkway, Brighton, Ontario, Canada
  • Three soft-side tent accommodations for rent April to October
  • One fully furnished 1930s renovated Clarke-Denson Cottage with three bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen.
  • Five campgrounds with hundreds of tent and car spaces, most with electrical service
  • RV camping spots
  • Ten group camping spots accommodating groups between 35 and 75 people
  • Birding is a popular activity (though many birders don’t appreciate dogs). March for waterfowl, May for songbirds and September for shorebirds are highlight months and about 130 species nest at the park
  • Land-based fishing at the Calf Pasture Picnic Ground or by boat in Lake Ontario and Presqu’ile Bay
  • Canoeing at Presqu’ile Bay
  • Nature Centre and Lighthouse Interpretive Centre
  • No dogs allowed at the Sandy Beach, the only spot safe for swimming

Rules for Taking Pets to Presqu’ile Park (according to the Park’s website):

  • For the protection of wildlife and other park visitors, your pet must be under control and on a leash, not exceeding 2 metres, always.
  • You must ensure your pet does not damage or interfere with vegetation or wildlife.
  • You must also ensure your pet does not interfere with others’ enjoyment of the park.
  • Pets are not permitted in the swimming area, on the beach or in a posted prohibited area at any time.

Check out our second year anniversary visit to Presqu’ile Park here!


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  2. […] the dog a reasonably pleasant experience. Add together these factors, multiply by one incredibly high-energy pandemic puppy, and I’ve got reason to explore a new dog park, dog trail, or dog walk every day this […]

  3. […] might be my pup’s birthday month, but November is when we celebrate her ‘gotcha’ date. Mid-November in 2020, I made the six-hour drive to pick up my new Sprocker (half Springer, half cocker, and all […]

  4. […] and run by the Grand River Conservation Authority. My pup loved visiting the marshy trails at Presquile Provincial Park, so Luther Marsh is on the list for our next outing. Maybe we’ll discover more Grand Valley Quail […]

  5. […] collided and in November 2020 an eight-week-old Sprocker walked through my front door. A Sprocker is half Springer, half Cocker Spaniel and all tightly wound […]

  6. […] Christmas and New Years Eve 2021 proved to be a perfect dog-friendly retreat for those like my crazy Sprocker puppy who want to walk, walk, and well, run too far given the chance. And unfortunately, I gave her the […]

  7. […] pups celebrating the 2020 holidays – which was a disappointment for me, because that was my fur baby’s first snow covered holiday. She experienced it at the ripe old age of three […]

  8. […] the perfect pic, out of nowhere a little kid jumps up on the chair and hugs my dog. Fortunately, my young Sprocker loves kids (and was raised with them as a new puppy) and took it all in stride. Not all dogs would. […]

  9. […] months ago, I took home a little black and white ball of energy I could fit in two hands. She had big paws to fill because I had lost my previous dog four months […]

  10. […] losing Victor in July 2020, I looked forward to continuing the tradition with Victoria, my new Sprocker (see here) named in his honour. This was the year I’d take an enthusiastic (albeit more clueless) 10-month […]

  11. […] of the best things about puppies is firsts. Our first car ride, our first hotel stay, our first provincial park visit – and now our first dog festival … […]

  12. […] to Florida is on my list – I missed the opportunity with my previous dog, but won’t with my new puppy Victoria! However, two things need to happen before I can take the dog to Florida: the puppy needs more […]

  13. […] In September 2020, a little Sprocker was born – one half Springer, one half Cocker, all Spaniel – three months ago, she came home with me. It’s been a ride – and not just the journey home (see here). […]

  14. […] was the year of loss. I also lost my steadfast four-footed travel companion but gained a new one. Meet puppy Victoria here. The situation got me thinking how much I took travel for granted. I thought about all the places […]

  15. […] home, of course. My new home that I was whisked off to about five weeks ago. (Check out my home coming adventure here). Thanks to that pandemic thing, I won’t be celebrating my birthday at nearby dog café Munchies […]

  16. Congratulations on your new addition ❤️🐾

    1. Thanks!

  17. Sandy Weinstein · · Reply

    i noticed you called Victoria Victor above. so i guess she will learn to answer to both names….

    1. Oops. Thanks for noticing. I’ll fix that.

  18. Sandy Weinstein · · Reply

    she is just adorable. so glad that you found the perfect traveling partner. although she will never take the place or replace the memories you had with Victor, I am sure she will create new wonderful memories.

    1. Thank you so much – she is very people friendly.

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