BringFido's Guide to British Columbia

Posted by Billy Francis

While you’re hanging out with your hound in The “Paw-cific” Province, sample local drafts in welcoming breweries and delicious delicacies on board a floating restaurant. Then book a dog-friendly stay in a 5-star resort or a dome on a secluded river.

Things to Do

“Who hears a train whistle?” Photo by @peyto.potato

Cruise on the water, glide in a gondola and stroll through scenic surroundings on Fido’s British Columbia adventure.

Whistle Stop Tour of Whistler

Whatever the weather, Whistler is a wonderland for wandering Weimaraners. Outbound hounds who want to romp off leash and enjoy an afternoon dip can pay a visit to Barking Bay in Rainbow Park and Arfa Lake Dog Area. Be sure to check out incredible views of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains from Meadow Park. Or, go on a unique hike that crosses a suspension bridge with views of the Cheakamus River and leads to painted train carriages in the woods on Train Wreck Trail. If you’re visiting with your powder pup during the winter months, slip on her snowshoes and take to the trails at Whistler Lost Lake Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Trails or Ski Callaghan.

Van City!

Getting around Vancouver is a cinch with your canine. While small pups can ride the Skytrain in a carrier, pups of all sizes can join their owners in a dog trailer towed behind an electric or mountain bike from Spokes Bicycle Rentals. First, cruise over to Hadden Park for a dip in English Bay. Then, cross Burrard St. Bridge to Stanley Park, where you’ll find serene paved trails and an off-leash area. Then, lock up your bicycles and join Stanley Park Horse Drawn Tours for a trot through the park.

“Follow my nose to safety.” Photo by The Butchart Gardens

Breeze Through Botanical Gardens

British Columbia is home to a variety of botanical gardens that welcome pups. The Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay is a National Historic Site that changes with the seasons, offering visitors a different breathtaking experience every time. “Paws” for thought at five canine water fountains conveniently located throughout, and don’t forget to stop by the reception desk to request a tasty treat for Fido. The Gardens at HCP in Victoria invites furry friends to check out 20 distinct green spaces, including the largest outdoor Bonsai Garden in Canada. For a colorful display in Tofino, tour a variety of enchanting trails that wind through a 10-acre coastal rainforest at Naa'Waya'Sum Gardens in Tofino.

B.C. by Boat

From lakes and rivers to ocean islands, The Pacific Province is a playground for pups who don’t mind getting a paw wet. Victoria Harbour Ferry operates water taxis and guided tours of the Salish Sea between Seattle and the B.C. capital city of Victoria. Pups are welcome to join in the fun as you set sail to Victoria Gorge, stopping to see historic neighborhoods and working shipyards along the way, or cruise around Victoria Harbour together. If you want to spend more time with your Terrier on the water, take a pet-friendly cruise with BC Ferries to discover remote destinations like the Southern Gulf Islands and the Sunshine Coast.

“This is safe, right?” Photo by BringFido/Brenda

Vancouver’s Natural Side

Surrounding the University of British Columbia, Pacific Spirit Regional Park is a chance for you and your pooch to stretch your legs on 30 miles of pet-friendly trails and at the off-leash area within the park. Then, it’s time to head up to North Vancouver for a hike on the moderate Dog Mountain Trail, which leads to a spectacular view of Van City below. Then, wander across Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, 50 feet above the forest floor. On the other side, hikers get to choose between three scenic trails. Bridge-loving Boxers can also trot over the river at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. If you can’t handle another hike but your dog is begging for more, Indiana Bones Dog Adventures will take him on a guided tour of the North Shore’s incredible off-leash hiking trails.

Coastal Adventures

With nearly 16,000 miles of coastline, no visit to British Columbia would be complete without touring some of the most pet-friendly spots along it. Visitors to the east side of Vancouver Island will witness exceptional natural beauty on hikes like Mount Normal Trail at Gulf Islands National Park Preserve. Paddle around more of the preserve’s 15 islands in a pet-friendly rental from Pender Island Kayak Adventures. If your trip with Fido takes you to the Pacific Coast instead, wander the winding trails on the west coast of Vancouver Island at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, before taking your tails to Tofino, home to pet-friendly Chesterman's Beach and MacKenzie Beach.

Places to Stay

“Whistlin’ in Whistler.” Photo by Four Seasons Whistler

From 5-star luxury to one-of-a-kind vacation rentals, an unforgettable stay in British Columbia is right at your paws.

VIP’s Welcome

After snowshoeing at Whistler Lost Lake Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Trails, spend the night in a European-inspired village at Four Seasons Whistler. Pups are invited to become a “VIP” (Very Important Pet) and will receive a bed, bowls and treats at check-in. When dinner time arrives, Fido can join you at the resort’s pet-friendly outdoor dining areas. If guests want to partake in an activity that doesn’t allow dogs, like a helicopter tour for afternoon tea on a mountainside, the resort can arrange reliable pet-sitting services nearby.

There’s No Place Like Dome

One way to experience an unforgettable vacation is to book a unique pet-friendly Airbnb for you and your dog. Situated on three secluded acres along the Salmo River, this private dome home provides a respite after an exhausting day of snowshoeing or hiking. While your pup relaxes by your side, take a soak in the wood-fired, cast iron tub by the river. Then, dry off by the woodstove and watch Fido’s favorite movie on the projector screen.

“We’re gonna need a bigger room.” Photo by

Stanley Park Stay

Located on English Bay, The Sylvia Hotel is a historic hotel covered in beautiful Boston ivy that makes for a great photoshoot with your pooch. Fido isn’t the first four-legged superstar to stay at the hotel. Mr. Got To Go, a local stray cat who decided to stay, has inspired three popular children’s books. His legacy is one of the reasons why animals are treated as guests of honor today. Pampered pups receive comfy dog beds, bowls, toys and treats.

Off the Grid and on the Lake

Located in the secluded surroundings of northern British Columbia, Vines and Puppies Hideaway is an off-grid experience for bold Bichons who love to get away from it all. During the day, guests can use the canoe and kayak provided to enjoy the pristine waters of Vines Lake. After returning to shore, clean up your pup’s paws at the outdoor shower that overlooks the lake, then head inside for a cozy evening in front of the roaring woodfire stove.

“Just leave the bucket and go.” Photo by Airbnb

A Fairytale A-Frame

Stones Throw Cottage Retreat is a charming pet-friendly Airbnb in Qualicum Beach that welcomes adorable adventurers to stay in luscious forest surroundings. Canine guests can use the house collars, leashes, dog dishes and dog beds, while umbrellas provide shelter for walks in the woods on rainy days. Outside, dogs can live their best off-leash lives in the fenced backyard or join you for a chill morning on the gated deck, and you can prepare the whole pack’s favorite meals on the barbecue grill.

Meet the Canine Ambassadors

The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver in the heart of downtown provides an exclusive stay for pups and people alike. Nicknamed “the Castle in the City,” this historic hotel has been providing a place for people to stay in Vancouver for nearly a century. Fido can hear all about the hotel’s great amenities like bowls and beds from hotel mascots, Ella and Elly, who are best friends at work and after they clock out for the day.

Dog-Friendly Restaurants

“Lie down at the lido?” Photo by @lidobistro

Share memories and a plate with your pup on the waterfront, while floating on the water and at a pub named for a floppy-eared breed.

Dine on the Water

Furry best friends flock to Lido Waterfront Bar & Bistro for a meal with their owners on the sunny patio that overlooks Victoria Inner Harbor. This popular eatery dishes up a variety of favorites from pizza to tapas and fish tacos. While you chow down, your thirsty dog can lap up a bowl of water under a shady umbrella.

Float with your Furry Friend

For a unique dining experience, head to Penny's Palapa Restaurant in Nanaimo. Pups are welcome at this seasonal Mexican eatery situated amidst a tranquil floating garden. Soak up the evening breeze from the harbor, dig into tasty tacos and sip on fresh-squeezed lime margaritas, while Fido enjoys his own water and the good vibes.

“I think I deserve a bite…” Photo by BringFido/Lori

Snuffle with your Shih Tzu

The Noble Pig is the first microbrewery in Kamloops. Join the faithful “pawtrons” for scratch cuisine, unique beer fusion and a relaxing afternoon on the pet-friendly patio. Then, take a walk to River Street Dog Park and let your dog loose with his new pals.

Soak Up Squamish

Gaze down on Squamish from above on the Sea to Sky Gondola, then head to the upper patio at Howe Sound Brewpub downtown, where you can order a Howe Sound Lager and soak it up with a Brewpub Burger or brisket sandwich. Pups can lap up a bowl of water while you relax. If you want to stay for a few more, reserve a room at Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company, the brewery’s cozy 20-room hotel with views of The Chief, Mamquam Mountain and the Tantalus Mountain Range.

“Calling all floppy-eared furballs.” Photo by BringFido/Ken

The Beagle Pub

Bring your Beagle to her namesake, The Beagle Pub, located just a short walk from Beacon Hill Park. Fido is welcome to join you at a table on the lively sidewalk patio. The eatery serves pub favorites like fish and chips, peas and mint conchiglie, fried chicken strips, shrimp scampi fettuccine, and more.

Read It and Eat

Book lovers and their Basenjis can read the latest bestseller and grab a snack from Bacchus Books and Cafe. You can’t miss the vibrant yellow walls of this popular bookstore, and when you step inside and climb the creaky stairs, the smell of books, coffee and treats will put a smile on every bibliophile’s face. While you dig into a tasty bagel sandwich your peckish pup can order puppuccinos and dog treats.

Where will you take Fido in British Columbia? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by iStock/KatieDobies.