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I found Goderich to be complicated in its dog allowance policies, leaving me with the impression that the city is really trying hard to be fair to everyone.

Leashed dogs are allowed on St. Christopher’s Beach, which is sandwiched between people-only beaches. Dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk, which runs along the roadway. Yet, this is where you’ll find the signs indicating the dog-friendly boundaries and stating the maximum $2000 fine. (By the way, you have to traverse the boardwalk to get to the beach from the parking spots.) I happened to notice one of the signs because I parked by it.

I talked to one of two women I saw, who both had their small dogs loose. She indicated that they (the city) aren’t too strict this time of year (September) since it’s not as busy as in the summertime.

Farther down, at the end of the roadway, there is another dog-friendly area. I get the impression it’s off-leash, but the signage at its entrance is confusing. The biggest sign states: “DOG RUN AREA—Dog must remain under control of owner.” A smaller sign above states: “DOGS MUST BE LEASHED.” Huh?

I let Tessi run free since no one was about. The area has a path running through a grassy area overlooking the lake. Eventually, the path takes a short descent to the rugged shoreline, where rocks are interlaced with mud and dead vegetation. Anyone looking for pristine sand won’t find it here—looks like it’s available for people only. The ruggedness suits Tessi and me, anyway. We much prefer it.

We strolled for about 15 minutes or so before turning back, having never reached an apparent end to the dog run area; however, we passed two lawn chairs sitting by a firepit, making me wonder if we had entered private property. I didn’t see any houses at the top of the cliff or any path down its side.

An irony I take away from our outing is that there are lots and lots of geese on all areas of the beach—even where dogs aren’t allowed. (Extra signage thanks you for not feeding the birds.) You may not have to worry about stepping on dog poop, but watch out for the goose poop.

(c) Cheryl Smyth, 2012


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