Mining and Mutts: Travel to Dog-friendly Sudbury, Ontario

dog with Big Nickel in Sudbury Ontario

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? On a journey to Sault Ste. Marie, we stopped at the Big Nickle and more to put together this dog-friendly guide to Sudbury.

Here’s where to take your dog in Sudbury, Ontario.

If you’ve got the dog with you while in Sudbury, there are a few fun dog-friendly places to go – except, unfortunately, Sudbury’s the two main attractions :

These attractions are not dog-friendly (but worth visiting). A dog sitter or doggie daycare might be the option if you spend a day visiting these impressive attractions.

Science North is an extensive science centre dedicated to the region.

Dynamic Earth (beside the Big Nickel) is an under-ground journey into nickel mines, both contemporary and historic. This experience is as authentic as you can get outside the real thing (which you can do in Wales, UK – descend into a real mine). Definitely, these are two Sudbury family attractions you’ve got to see before the kids grow up (or even if you don’t have kids). The dog, however, will have to experience a different Sudbury.

I’m here in Sudbury with my pup, and he’s not waiting in the car. So no Science North or Dynamic Earth for us this visit.

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.” I still don’t know where the ‘old hospital’ is.

Here’s the dogtrotting guide to dog-friendly Sudbury. Ontario:

1. Sudbury Dog-friendly Hotel

We checked 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 dog-friendly hotels 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 unfortunately). On the second floor of the Clarion 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 from an organ, yes, an old wooden Yamaha organ, which created distinctive green stripes in the bowl. Who wouldn’t want to take that home?

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) Plus, he’s getting older and exploring dog-friendly Sudbury requires a lot of walking, so he took frequent stroller breaks. And no, I wasn’t the only one there with a dog or a dog stroller.

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. The Big Nickle 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. Then look up – way up.

Side note: Dynamic Earth is close to Highway 17 and has RV parking along with covered picnic tables, so outdoor lunch with your dog here is possible. Many travellers were doing so the day we visited.

4. Sudbury Dog-friendly River Walk

The Sudbury River Walk, or Ramsey Lake Boardwalk, is a boardwalk trail that starts at the end of Bell Park Walkway and meanders along the Ramsey Lake shoreline ending at Science North. Start at Science North if you want to pay $6 to park – otherwise, parking is free across from Bell Park. Along this scenic pathway is were I spent most of the day in Sudbury with my dog.

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. Therefore, be prepared to meet many dog tribe members including some with more than one dog.

From Bell Park on the corner of Paris and York Streets, a concrete trail takes you to the water’s edge – 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 to get a perfect Instagram image.

Allow an hour or two to stroll along the trail if you’re walking casually and sniffing periodically. Take my word for it: excessive sniffing makes the river walk a much longer experience. If you walk frequently with a Fido, you know what I mean.

Find out more about what to see in Sudbury, Ontario here.

Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and a travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria. Contact Sherri at here. All written content is original, written by a person, and based on experience and research. Please subscribe!


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