Portland Can Have ‘Em: Keeping Edmonton a Secret

If you have been keeping up with Go Pet Friendly’s Annual Tournament, you’ll have seen that Edmonton was booted during round three. At first, I was pretty bitter about it. Portland, Oregon may seem brilliant with all its craft breweries and its gigantic bookstores and its Voodoo doughnuts, but that doesn’t mean it is pet-friendly. Dogs can’t drink beer or eat doughnuts and I am positive most of them can’t read.

Note the handy poop bag dispenser. This is a National Park that welcomes dogs with open arms. It was stocked even in the winter.

Note the handy poop bag dispenser. This is a National Park that welcomes dogs with open arms. It was stocked even in the winter.

In my opinion, the amount of rain the western U.S. city receives each day should be reason enough to stay away. Walking in a downpour is not fun, no matter how beautiful the riverside park might be. I know this from personal experience. I used to live in Halifax.

Can we go back inside now? Rain sucks.

Can we go back inside now? Rain sucks.

Edmonton has just as many off leash parks as Portland and an even bigger riverside forest, both of which one can enjoy in full sunshine almost 365 days a year. How does that not make it more pet friendly?

I am honestly asking because I am still confused by this.

But, I am not bitter. In fact, now that I have had a few days to gain perspective, I am relieved. Portland can keep its bragging rights. It suits me fine if all of the pet lovers of the world see it as some sort of canine Mecca. It means we will have all of this to ourselves:

Taken at Elk Island National Park, less than 30 minutes away from our home in Edmonton

Taken at Elk Island National Park, less than 30 minutes away from our home in Edmonton

No, looking at it now, I am thrilled Edmonton will remain a secret. I want everyone to keep thinking it is a frozen wasteland where none but the truly brave venture. The fewer people who visit, the more we can enjoy a peaceful hike on a Sunday afternoon, unaccosted by hordes of tourists. Places like Portland and Carmel are so jam-packed full of people during the summer months that Edmonton is almost serene in comparison. For that reason alone, it is a much happier place for Shiva and I. Crowds just give us hives.

We didn't run into a single person on this hike. That makes us happy.

We didn’t run into a single person on this hike. That makes us happy.

Heck, what do I care if people would rather stay on the other side of the border? In Edmonton, our pets are well-cultured. In order to preserve this, it is probably best to keep the riff raff away. They’ll never know just how much fun we Edmontonians can be, never get to experience the spirit of a true Edmonton festival – as Canada’s reigning festival city, we know how to have a good time – and they’ll never know how amazing it is to take in a performance of a symphony orchestra with their dogs by their sides.

We also have a wicked sense of humour*

We also have a wicked sense of humour*

As far as I am concerned, I’d rather avoid the publicity a win in Go Pet Friendly’s contest would bring. Save that for the more common jet-setting locales like Vancouver and Key West. Edmonton prefers to move quietly along, enjoying its diverse food trucks, its beautiful garden paths, and its very own restaurant for dogs.** I like that the employees in my favourite high-quality, regionally-owned pet stores have more than enough time to answer my questions and I never have to wait in line. What a shame it would be if these places were taken over by visitors. How horrifying if the invasion of foreign dogs meant some of the pet friendly spaces were taken away.

The grounds outside Muttart Gardens are beautiful, calm, and pet friendly. I'd like to keep them that way.

The grounds outside Muttart Gardens are beautiful, calm, and pet friendly. I’d like to keep them that way.

Thank you, to those people out there who recognized how pet-loving Canada’s most northern metropolis is. My appreciation for your support in the vote is sincere. You helped us not only beat out West Hollywood and Tuscon, but also Toronto and Montreal. Here in Alberta, we consider that a victory of epic proportions.

But my thanks must go to those who voted for Portland as well. You helped keep Edmonton a lovely secret. Every time I stroll along the river without meeting another dog, I will remember you and be grateful.

Of course, my real gratitude must go to Go Pet Friendly for running such an entertaining tournament. The competition is wicked and I can’t wait to see who ends up the final winner! Make sure to keep voting!

*Thanks for reminding me about this, Back Alley Soapbox! Best prank ever. 

**Thanks, Jessie, for telling me about this place in your comment!

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1 Comment on Portland Can Have ‘Em: Keeping Edmonton a Secret

  1. Lauranne
    March 31, 2014 at 2:27 am (4 months ago)

    See there’s always a silver lining!! I must say keeping it a secret would be my vote – the older I am getting the more other people annoy me!
    Lauranne recently posted..Doggie MagicianMy Profile

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