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

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

Riverdale Park East Map with highlighted areas to point out:
1. off-leash area
2. 720 Broadview Avenue Paid Parking Lot north of Riverdale Park East
3. 14 St. Matthew Rd Paid Parking Lot south of Riverdale Park East

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
Limone from SYDE Road lying in the snow at the off-leash area of Riverdale Park East in the winter

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: 

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. 

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. 

Family building a snow fort at Riverdale Park East's Off-Leash Area. There are no fences around the off-leash area so it is very easy for family and dogs to accidentally mingle together.
snow fort in the off-leash area of Riverdale Park East

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.

Maria and a friend slipping down the slope at Riverdale Park East as they head toward the off-leash dog park area
The hill is deceptively steep when you’re sliding down in the snow

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. 

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. 

Limone from SYDE Road sitting and posing on a stump on the recreational trail near Riverdale Park East Dog Park

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.  

The Perfect Companion for Toronto Dog Owners

Carrying gear AND finding the nearest dog park on your next adventure?

How perfect.

P.S. Did you know a portion of every purchase made on the SYDE Road Store goes towards donating to Vets without Borders? They’re a not-for-profit Canadian volunteer association dedicated to improving the health of animals, people and the environment around the world.

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
Maria and Limone from SYDE Road posing in the woodlot in Riverdale Park East's recreational trail beside the off-leash area. This short woodlot trail is a very serene and peaceful walk when Don Valley Parkway isn't busy.

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. 

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

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:

Limone from SYDE Road sitting on stump at Riverdale Park East's Recreational Trail - Pinterest Pin background

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