The city's best beach is for the dogs.
Vancouver’s outdoor lifestyle isn’t strictly limited to its human residents. On the perfect West Coast weekend (read: bleak and drizzly), local pups hit one of the city’s most popular canine stomping grounds: Kitsilano's off-leash beach. Sarah and her sister Shannon brought their parents’ miniature Australian shepherds, Emma (pictured) and Amy, to the dog beach while their mom cooks dinner at home. “Our parents bought these dogs as replacement daughters after we moved away from home,” says Sarah. “They now refer to the dogs as ‘the girls’ or ‘your sisters.’” Though Jessica and Kyle live in Surrey, they frequently bring 10-month-old rescue dog Taco to the off-leash area at Kits Beach. Originally from Mexico, Taco now serves as the face of the couple’s button-up shirt company, making him a qualified international model. Toby the black lab comes to the beach every day with owner Ayden (pictured) and his family. He performs a valued public service by swimming out as far as the boats to rescue other dogs’ balls—an exercise regimen his owners hope will enhance the results of his new diet plan. Slightly more active than her sister Emma, Amy (pictured) has no qualms about going for a dip—even on a cold day like today. You might not think it to look at him, but Frank, an 11-year-old chihuahua, is an avid hiker, currently working on a new personal best for the Chief. Nine-month-old bulldog Archer returns to his owner triumphantly with that day’s stick. “He’s the result of breeders trying to create healthier bulldogs—that’s why he’s not stocky,” says his owner, David. “He’s currently 70 pounds, but his dad is 100 pounds so I’m waiting to see how big he gets.” Michael Cunningham is a familiar sight in these parts, due largely to the three miniature dachshunds with whom he has patrolled the streets over the last two decades. Now he’s down to just one canine companion: Solo. “I called her ‘Solo’ because she’s so low to the ground,” laughs Michael. “I stole the name from some guy who made that joke on this very beach over 10 years ago.” Zola is more of a “people dog” than a “dog’s dog,” evident by her wagging tail as she makes the rounds. “We rescued her from the States when she was six months,” explains her owner, Chris. “She’s just so happy all the time.” This sheepdog-labradoodle hybrid—known as a “sheepadoodle”—is the most energetic canine at the beach. “We named Kirby after a girl in some movie that we can’t remember the name of,” says owner David. “She’s usually big and fluffy like a traditional English sheepdog, but we’ve just had her trimmed.” Kirby and two blue Staffordshire bull terriers (who did not arrive at the beach together) tear around one last time before leaving.