By Sharon Gomes Thomas
A vibrant nightlife, great restaurants, chic shopping – descriptions we’re used to hearing about New York City. Head north and these can be used to describe Toronto, Canada as well. So when I learned that I needed to split my time over the next few months between N.Y. and T.O. (as the residents fondly call Toronto) and rack up my frequent flyer miles, I knew I was going to feel right at home. I enjoyed my first couple of visits, which were short and sweet. The Canadian city has all the same great elements of NY with a more relaxed vibe, sprinkled with a hint of naiveté. Then panic struck when I realized that my future trips to Toronto would be longer and I had to find a solution for my dog.
I had boarded Darby for the first few trips, but I didn’t want to leave her if I was going to be away for a week or longer, fearing that she would love the dog-sitter more than me. I started looking around for hotels or extended stay residences in Toronto that accepted pets. I found a perfect home for me and my pooch at the SoHo Metropolitan (www.SohoMet.com). Located in the heart of the Theater District, it’s close to all the main attractions, restaurants and shopping. Most importantly, it’s dog friendly.
The SoHo Metropolitan has blended three distinctive personalities. It’s a luxury Hotel (soho.metropolitan.com) boasting a great upscale restaurant Senses, a spa and fitness “sanctuary” that even has its own personal trainer. For longer stays of a few weeks, there are the Residences (www.sohomet.com/res_main_01.html) which are apartments with a European style kitchen and computer equipped workspace. And for the trans-border travelers like me and my dog who need a place to hang their leash for a few months, we found the answer with their furnished Condominium rentals (sohomet.com/rental_main_01.html). Although the Condominium has its own main entrance, I can slip through from my lobby to the hotel and enjoy all it’s the amenities, including the business center, gym and pool. I can even order room service.
Last week, I took Darby to Toronto for the first time. She loved our new second home. She constantly ran up and down the stairs of our loft-style two story apartment. Just down the block from the SoHo Metropolitan is Clarence Square Park which becomes Woofstock every evening when residents in the area take their dogs out for their walks. When Darby whined to go out at 2am, I met another sleepy dog parent who was in the park just like me in his pajamas. It’s a great canine community and we’ve met some great dogs and people.
We also received recommendations for a doggie daycare and a vet. Clarence Square Animal Hospital is right next to the park and the hotel, as is the doggie daycare Umbrella Pets. Umbrella Pets also sells pet supplies and has a groomer who will send your pooch home with a report card at the end of the session letting you know how well or badly your pet did. Their kitty hotel even has soft rock music played throughout the day and night!
I just remembered that Darby’s grandmother and great grandparents are Canadian show champions. Perhaps that explains why she enjoyed her Toronto visit – it’s sort of a homecoming.
SoHo Metropolitan Hotel
318 Wellington Street West
Toronto, Ontario M5V 3T4
Toll-free: 866-soho-met (764-6638)
Clarence Square Animal Hospital
16 Clarence Square
Toronto, Ontario M5V 1H1
48 Spadine Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5V 2H8