Dogs are some of our favourite visitors. They arrive completely present and ready to enjoy whatever magic the moment offers. Of course, this enthusiasm (and their inability to read English signage) means dog owners have to do a little more to make sure everyone is following the rules and having a good time.
Tofino is laid back and mellow. But, from traffic to rogue waves, there are some unexpected risks to dogs, owners and wildlife that make it mandatory to leash up.
As per District of Tofino bylaw, all dogs entering and within the Corporation of the District of Tofino shall be under the control of their owner or handler and be leashed, tethered or contained within a vehicle. (And don’t forget a pocket full of poo bags)
In Pacific Rim National Park Reserve:
Dogs are permitted in the Long Beach area of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve; however they must be on-leash at all times. This includes beaches, trails, parking lots and in the water. The beaches and trails here are important habitat for wildlife, including wolves and shorebirds, whose very survival is impacted by dogs off leash.
This regulation is actively enforced under Canada’s National Parks Act, with fines and further penalties if needed. It is also illegal to harass wildlife, so a person can be charged if their pet chases a wild animal.
Please clean up after your pet and dispose of the waste in the garbage cans provided. Get more information here.
From beachside cabins to cozy motels, we have a variety of dog-friendly accommodations. Check our accommodations page and look for the ‘paw’ icon. You’ll find a warm welcome for you and your best friend.
Can we bring our dogs to the beach?
Yes! Dogs are welcome on the beach. However, local bylaws require that they must be leashed. Owners are also expected to clean up after them.
Why can’t we let our dogs off-leash on the beaches and trails?
There are good reasons to keep dogs on-leash at the beach and on trails. Shorebirds land to rest here on their long migratory path. (I just flew in from San Jose and my wings are killing me!) If the birds are disturbed too often, they will be reluctant to return to these beaches. Another reason is to prevent potentially aggressive, or even just excitable dogs, to roam free on the beach. Wildlife encounters are a possibility at any time, on any of the beaches and trails in and around Tofino.
So, bring a sturdy leash and comfortable shoes. Your dog can still run – you’ll just have to keep up!
Why can’t we leave our dogs off-leash in the National Park Reserve?
The idea of dogs running free in nature is a pretty one, but it just isn’t safe for our wildlife, visitors, or the dogs themselves.
The beaches and trails of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are important habitat for our native species, including wolves and shorebirds, whose very survival is impacted by dogs off leash. Dogs off-leash are also easy targets for cougars and wolves.
Also, not everyone is a dog lover, and some people have very real apprehensions around dogs.
For these reasons, Parks Canada requires that dogs remain on-leash. Those who fail to comply will be fined.
Is there an off-leash dog park in Tofino?
There is no off-leash dog park in Tofino at this time.