Pet Friendly Roadside Stop Rigaud, Quebec
We do a lot of travel by car. Drive to Toronto, to Montreal and sometimes trips (about 5 hours one way) to Quebec City to visit family. And I have to say we have our favorite pet friendly roadside stops.
I have mentioned before that we believe a dog, just like a human should be strapped in for safety, and as a result I have a booster seat. In addition, we have also mentioned those things that should be brought along for a road trip – short or long – that are basics for comfort and health.
But the most important moment on the road trip is the pit stop (a.k.a. pee break). With a dog, this becomes even more important, especially for puppies that do not yet have bladder control and need a positive experience.
You will find that many airports have come to understand the needs of canine travelers. On the whole, Highway road side facilities are actually less up-to-snuff. You have zooming high speed traffic and unlike at certain airports, we have never seen an enclosed safe zone where a dog could run free to stretch out. Luckily however, almost every road side stop comes with a grassy area. Unfortunately many of them have been abused by bad pet owners that do not clean up after their pets. Never have we seen a designated pet area at a highway road side stop.
Until now that is.
Imagine our surprise as we pulled in at Rigaud’s brand new stop about an hour before reaching Montreal . It’s a classy place with 2-3 eateries (unfortunately only fast food) a corner store and nice large clean bathrooms with stainless steel dividers and automated sinks and soap dispensers. It has a visitor’s center and a large area for tour buses to stop. The trees are still young – but they are there and will soon provide shade in the summer months to all the parked cars. There is a fun and busy kid’s jungle gym and playground off to the rear of the building with picnic tables for families to chow down. The gas station is open and clean and has a path that allows 4 wheelers to drive up right off the wooded trail to fill up – the same would apply in the winter for the snow mobiles. The place is amazingly well thought out and … includes a dog area.
Yep – an area especially and clearly marked for those travelling with Canines. Even more lovely is that those traveling with dogs have not been relegated to the far back corner! No … right there – near the front entrance no less! There are about 8-10 spots for cars set aside under the dog sign. When we stopped there were three cars parked there. There is a large area with thick grass, and a sign reminding you to pick up after your pet. Poop bags are not provided but the restaurants are happy to give you something (napkins etc.) should you have forgotten to bring your own and there is not one, not two but four garbage cans provided for easy waste disposal.
The area has a fence to protect pets should they get away and stop them from getting to the highway. And, there are picnic tables available for folks to sit down and enjoy a meal with their canine(s). Canadian bylaw prevents them from doing anything inside (mom asked) so – inclement weather would still be a problem. But the fact that they even thought of this is remarkable and a step in the right direction.
I had a great time sniffing all the fun new smells, relieved myself and ran around (on leash) with the bipeds. We sat and enjoyed a little sun and some fresh water and some local hard cheese. We felt welcome.
Oh AND if it’s raining but you want to stop for coffee or a snack – the restaurants are not pet friendly BUT the little library area at the info section IS!! WE ate at the table no trouble (pictured in the banner).
In review: Pet Friendly Roadside Stop Rigaud, Quebec: If you happen to be on the 417 (Queensway) between Ottawa and Montreal with your canine, stop for your break at Rigaud… you will not regret it! We need more pet friendly roadside stops so don’t be afraid to ask for them!