Protected bird nest in Toronto shuts down newly opened off-leash dog park

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Barking mad!

Earlier this week, off-leash dog parks across Toronto finally reopened after being locked-down for the past two months. In a tweet, Mayor John Tory said city staff are currently in the process of unlocking the locked-down off-leash parks areas as life slowly begins to return to normal. Well, sort of…

Ah, but there’s one dog park that remains shuttered within the centre of the universe. And it has nothing to do with the Wuhan virus or city staff overlooking a patch of doggy-friendly real estate. Rather, the smackdown is due to… a bird?!

Indeed, at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in the city’s west end, man’s best friend has been unceremoniously kicked to the curb due to the presence of a killdeer. That’s a bird, by the way. Yeah, I’ve never heard of this fine feathered friend either, but it is supposedly significant for some reason or other – even though this creature appears to be quite the birdbrain.

killdeer is a:

“...shorebird you can see without going to the beach. Killdeer are graceful plovers common to lawns, golf courses, athletic fields, and parking lots. These tawny birds run across the ground in spurts, stopping with a jolt every so often to check their progress, or to see if they’ve startled up any insect prey.”

Groovy. In other words, this is one of those birds that would apparently prefer to walk than fly.

So, what does all that have to do with the off-leash dog area at Colonel Samuel Smith Park?

Well, going against all the rules inherent to Darwinism, a killdeer has decided to make use of the park’s off-leash area to make a nest. Not in a tree, of course, but on the ground. Naturally, this means the city has decided to close off the entire off-leash dog park for its intended use (i.e., a place where one can let his or her dog off a leash, as the term “off-leash dog park” kinda suggests.)

That’s right. The city has fenced off a plot of land big enough to erect a condo tower so that… a bird won’t be disturbed? Can’t a city staffer relocate the killdeer? Oh, don’t be silly, folks – that’s logical, and logic doesn’t fly in Toronto.

Actually, it gets worse. We all know how Mayor Tory loves East Berlin-style walls (the Hogtown Kaiser recently walled-off High Park to prevent his subjects from sniffing cherry blossom trees – no, seriously.) And so it is that at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, a separate enclosure within the dog park enclosure has been erected to further protect that killdeer. Yes, walls within walls… all to ensure the comfort of a bird at the expense of exercise-deprived dogs owned by the city’s taxpayers.

Speaking of which, I’ve been tipped off that sometimes city bylaw officers are camped out at this dog park looking for scofflaws who they can presumably nail with one of those $880 tickets. Nice.

So, Toronto canine aficionados – welcome to Colonel Samuel Smith Park, in which enjoying a dog day afternoon is strictly prohibited by law.

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  • By David Menzies


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