By James Vorstenbosch
One day my friend and I stumbled upon an amazing find. While walking along the beautiful Harbourfront in Toronto we found The PawsWay: a centre devoted to our four-footed friends, canine and feline alike. Intrigued by the bright colourful banners we decided to investigate and discovered a whole new pet world that revolves around the concept of pet socialization.

Located right in the heart of downtown, The PawsWay is a Purina PetCare Legacy Project – a place where people (and their pets) can go to learn about important pet topics, participate in pet activities and socialize with other pet owners. Admission here is free and your canine friend is very welcome to wag along, as long as they behave appropriately and you are willing to take care of any accidents that might occur. The centre also houses The Purina Animal Hall of Fame to honour the many pet heroes and their brave acts (to learn more, check out this article here). All in all, it is a place designed to celebrate and learn about the joys of pet-hood.
No matter what your interests or breed, The PawsWay offers something for everyone. It’s museum like entrance showcases all sorts of interesting facts and information about cats and dogs in attractive wall displays, like the benefits of owning a pet and insights into behaviour. There’s even a set of scales so you can weigh your furry friend and make sure you’re not spoiling them with too many treats. But interesting facts aren’t where the true fun lies. The centre also offers a variety of events to keep your pup entertained, like agility activities, weekend wellness groups and exclusive photo shoots! The centre even has a weekly walking club where owners and dogs can enjoy the beautiful waterfront routes as a pack.
By James Vorstenbosch
But if you do want something a little educational to go along with all that exercise there are special events which focus specifically on different breeds, such as the Toy or Scottish breeds that were featured in August. The amazing selection of workshops the centre offers might suit your fancy as well. Ever have a question about your pet that nobody seems to know the answer to? Well, The PawsWay hosts regular ‘Ask the Vet’ nights, which can remedy any of your queries and teach you all sorts of things, from training tips to nutritional news.
Of course, if you’re looking for something a little more chill, you and Fido can always drop by and relax during one of their movie nights, featuring… your favourite animal movies, of course! Or you can grab something to drink at the Williams Coffee Pub, which is a dog-friendly eating zone.
Angela Leung, who has visited the PawsWay with her sister and beloved Chihuahua, Oscar, loves what the centre has brought to her little pup’s life. “At the back there are some rooms for dog playgroups,” says Leung. “We occasionally bring him to the Chihuahua playgroup so he can socialize with dogs his own size.” Small dogs like Oscar have a designated time each week to play with each other off-leash. Don’t worry, large breeds get their own time too. “It was relatively nice and clean, which is a change since we’ve been to some other playgroup places which were not as nice,” says Leung, who although preferring outdoor play groups, appreciates the centre’s presence during the summer heat or rainy days when pooch plans are ruined. The indoor play area is also a great alternative for dogs who aren’t so obedient off-leash.
Although a few of the events come with some cost (for example, the meeting groups have a small fee and the Walking Club is $25 for a six-month-membership), the overall expenditure is very reasonable. The centre is an affordable way to meet lots of great people and their respective pooches. Remember, your puppies need some friends too!
Oftentimes pets don’t often have much of a social life. They sit patiently by the front door waiting, while their owners get to go out and party. The PawsWay, however, is striving to give pet’s a fun social outlet, by providing a completely fur-friendly space where people can go with their dogs and cats and watch them transform into social butterflies.
 By Allison Vorstenbosch