Dogs at the City Market – Our List of Do’s and Don’ts

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The farmers’ market is a great place to shop, meet friends and enjoy the city centre, and many of our customers bring along their best furry friend to take in the atmosphere and polish up on their social skills. But is the market really the best place for dogs?

There’s food and people, it’s outside and it’s a great place to be. Naturally you’d like to spend the day with your pet and give him every chance to experience as much as possible. Dog owners love to include their pet in family outings and if you’ve been to the City Market you’ll notice plenty of dogs.

The City Market Downtown does not prohibit dogs and that is simply because we are on a residential street and a number of our neighbours have dogs. They must pass through the market area to walk their leashed pets, which makes it impossible for us to allow only some animals and prohibit others.

Every week we receive feedback from our customers (a lot of it negative) about the number of dogs at the City Market. The leashes are a tripping hazard, they sniff and drool over the food in vendor stalls and shopping bags, and one ate their Fat Frank’s hot dog.

Many of the dogs who visit us are well suited to the market environment and don’t become overwhelmed with all the stimuli. The reality is, however, that some dogs don’t handle it very well. They get overpowered by the number of people, the variety of smells, and all the loud and sudden sounds of the city centre. We have had to break up the odd fight, and ask the dog and the human to leave the market.

Here are some quick do’s and don’ts if you shoppers intend to bring your dog to the market:

  • Do bring poop bags and promptly clean up after your dog
  • Do bring water for your pet and keep him hydrated – the market does not supply water dishes
  • Do have your dog on a short leash to avoid creating a tripping hazard
  • Do keep your pet close to you at all times
  • Do keep in mind that not every shopper at the market wants to have interactions with your pet
  • Do monitor your pet’s behaviour at all times – if he’s getting anxious maybe it’s time to head home
  • Don’t bring aggressive or yet-to-be socialized dogs to the market
  • Don’t allow your pet to enter the vendor stall areas
  • Don’t assume everyone will love your dog – people can be allergic to or scared of dogs, even cute little ones

The City Market welcomes shoppers who are accompanied by their best furry friend. We do ask that, as a responsible pet owner, you really make sure Fido can handle it, and when in doubt, leave him at home in his familiar environment. Our goal is to make the farmers’ market shopping experience a positive one for everyone.


  • Angela

    I’m sorry to hear that people are upset about dogs at market. My family feels it is part of the culture and our kids are so excited to see them when we arrive. Please know that there are many, many people out there who are happy to have dogs at market.

    June 1, 2012
    • Staff

      Thank you for your comments. Many people have told us well behaved dogs at the market add to the atmospehere and make it more special.

      June 1, 2012
  • Neil

    I am not a dog owner, but love seeing them out at the market. I’ve never had problems with misbehaving dogs at the market, and owners behave respectfully.

    I realise that some people complain vocally about their presence, but there are plenty of other markets for them to visit. Strathcona is nearby, and St. Albert has a dog-free outdoor market. People vote with their feet, and the City Market clearly has no shortage of people voting for it.

    Also, I suspect that for many of the complainers it is less about what dogs are actually doing, and more about how they perceive dogs generally.

    As for being the only market to allow dogs, I’m not sure that’s entirely correct – the new Thursday market on 124 St also has no dog ban.

    June 1, 2012
    • Staff

      Hi Neil –

      Thank you for commenting on this issue. Like you say, these are many options in the city which provide shoppers with choices.

      June 1, 2012
  • Heather B.

    I am also not a dog owner, but love seeing all the dogs at the market. My little boy (10 months) LOVES dogs so it keeps him entertained while I shop! Although most dog owners know the common-sense rules to bringing a dog to a public event, this is a great reminder!

    June 2, 2012
  • Morgana

    I am adamantly opposed to dogs at the market. Dog owners do not follow the quidelines. I am tired of dogs sniffing me, leashes across my legs, and noses right up to the stalls with food on them and their proximity to the eating tables. If the rational is that dog owners live on the street, allow dogs on the sidewalk, but not on the street (is that what is meant as the vendor stall areas?).

    June 7, 2012
    • Staff

      Hi Morgana –

      Thank you for weighing on this issue. The stall areas is the area within the canopied area of the tent which is occupied by the vendor. The new layout definitely makes it easier for dog walkers to stay on the sidewalk and still take in the market.

      June 7, 2012
  • Sarah

    One of the BEST parts of the market is the fact that people can bring their dogs! We have never seen a problem with any dog at the market. My husband and I choose not to take our own dogs to the market because they woud be quickly overwhelmed by all of the stimuli, but we wouldn’t enjoy the market nearly as much if we didn’t get to see dogs there enjoying the atmosphere and interacting with others.

    June 24, 2012

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