In 1995 three different groups of dog owners contacted the City of Mississauga about setting up Off-Leash Parks. They asked that the bylaw be amended to permit the existence of designated LeashFree Zones within the boundaries of Mississauga. Six pilot parks of various sizes and fencing types were set up in the City’s Parkland. Public meetings were held after the 12-month pilot and surveys were sent out to adjacent residents. Four of the six pilot zones were kept, and one was relocated.
A report went to the Mayor and Council in 1997 in which both the Parks By-Law and the Animal Control By-Law were changed to allow designated areas in certain parks to be off-leash areas. Also in this report was the stipulation that all costs associated with the set-up of the Leash-Free Zones would be incurred by the Volunteer groups, and that the day-to-day operation of the zones was maintained by these groups. An interim committee with representatives from each of the groups was set up so the City of Mississauga, Recreation and Parks would deal with one group as opposed to 5 individual groups. This is how LeashFree Mississauga (LFM) was
formed. The Group was assigned a City Liaison who assisted with the set-up of their group, fund-raising opportunities and dealing with other departments within the City.
In 1998 LFM became an affiliated volunteer group with the City of Mississauga working closely with the community and
the City to provide safe, friendly and fun Leash-Free Zones. Each Leash-Free Zone had its own group of volunteers who oversaw the day-to-day operation of the zones. LFM was responsible for all costs associated with the set-up and
maintenance of the zones. Any new zones were also paid for by LFM. The City assumed the up-front costs and LFM paid the City back. When a new zone was opened the Parks By-law was changed to allow for off-leash dogs in the specified area.
The set-up of the original 5 zones was $24 000 in which the City of Mississauga paid for with the understanding that LFM
would pay these costs back in a 5 year term. LFM agreed to charge an annual membership fee, in which 70% of the fee
would be put towards paying the debt. LFM managed to pay this off in just under 3 years and set up two more zones in
which another $16 000 was spent. LFM paid off all these obligations to the City of Mississauga in 5 ½ years.
The City of Mississauga owns the parkland and approves locations for Leash-Free Zones within City parks.
Etobicoke Valley Dog Park
South Creek Rd., South of Dundas
Garnetwood Dog Park
2069 Burnhamthorpe Rd. E. just east of Etobicoke Creek
Lakeside Dog Park
2266 Lakeshore Rd. West.
Jack Darling Dog Park
Lakeshore Jack Darling Memorial Park
Just off Eglinton Avenue, west of Kennedy Road
Located within Paul Coffey Park, access from Professional Drive
Erin Mills Pkwy, just north of Erin Mills Town Centre, entrance off southbound lanes