Off leash white dog

Park Board approves designs for new and improved dog off-leash areas in city parks

June 27 2023 –

Vancouver’s canine population and their owners will be able to enjoy more space to exercise and socialize, following the approval of three dog off-leash area (OLA) designs by the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation.

At last night’s meeting, the Board approved plans for the renewal and expansion of the existing dog off-leash area at Emery Barnes Park, in the Downtown area, and two new OLAs at Heather Park, in South Cambie, and Granville Park, in Fairview.

“With Vancouver’s dog population growing, it’s more important than ever to balance the needs of our park visitors,” says Tiina Mack, Director of Park Planning and Development at the Vancouver Park Board. “We recognize the benefits of increasing the number of dog off-leash areas across the city, particularly in fostering community, supporting healthy activity and social wellbeing and reducing potential conflict between park users. We’re delighted to progress this important work and continue growing our network of dog-friendly greenspaces.”

Each design has been shaped by the feedback of over 3,000 people who contributed to the extensive public engagement process on how they use Emery Barnes, Heather and Granville parks. Each project will help serve five priority neighbourhoods identified in the Park Board’s People, Parks and Dogs strategy: Mount Pleasant, Fairview, Kitsilano, Downtown and the West End.

The Strategy is a framework for the delivery of well-planned and designed parks across Vancouver that meet the needs of all park users, including those with and without dogs. 

Emery Barnes Park

The renewal of the existing OLA at Emery Barnes Park will increase the amount of open space for running and fetching, add an agility area, diverse seating and more trees and shrubbery to create a more visually appealing space, help to cool the area and mitigate noise from the park. 

An additional 200 square metres area will incorporate the same materials and features as the main OLA, including pet-friendly synthetic turf, and provide a welcoming space for small and shy dogs.

Heather Park

The new 1,200 sq. m OLA at Heather Park, located along the western edge of the park, will offer open running space (one of the most requested features during engagement) and fun agility features for dogs, as well as seating for all park users.

Granville Park

The design for Granville Park features two fenced OLAs, separated by an existing walking path.

The primary OLA is 1,600 sq. m in size and will be located on the southern portion of the lawn, next to the tennis courts. To the south, an additional 600 sq. m OLA will offer space for small or shy dogs. Both spaces will maximize open running space and offer agility features for dogs and benches for all park visitors.

Next steps

Following the approval of the recommendations, with amendments, Park Board staff will now begin preparing detailed designs and construction tender packages for the three OLAs. Staff are continuing to explore options for expanding the city’s OLA network through strategies such as the park renewal program
For further updates, visit or keep an eye on park signage.

Responsible dog ownership

Dogs are welcome in all of Vancouver's parks and must be on a leash unless they are in a designated dog off-leash area. Dogs are only allowed at beaches with designated off-leash areas. These rules are enforced throughout the year and infractions are subject to fines of up to $2,000.

All dogs and service dogs over three months of age must have a license which should be renewed annually. Visit to find out more.

Dog license data helps support planning for new and renewed off-leash areas across the city, among other benefits.