In case y’all didn’t know…this past weekend, Front Street by St. Lawrence Market was closed off and thrown to the dogs for Woofstock, North America’s largest outdoor Dog Festival.

One of its claims to fame is being beamed around the world via CNN. Ahh, memories. I prefer to think of it as the perfect place, if you’re a dog owner (possibly of the more frou-frou variety), to enjoy a day outdoors with your beloved pet, where you can mingle with the right crowd (butt sniffing and all), get a chance to purchase any kind of dog product and service under the sun, stock up on free samples, special deals, demos, and get a professional photograph taken of your pet. Toronto animal-welfare organization Paws For The Cause had a photobooth set up complete with fun props, and for a donation of $5 you got a frame-worthy photo set of your dog. Paws-lady Ashley Bartlett, pictured below holding sign, was in doggy-heaven all weekend long. Dogs of all shapes and sizes took to the streets, from majestic gentle giants like Great Danes, Huskies and Malamutes, to teeny tiny little things like Pomeranians, Yorkshire Terriers and Dachshunds. Many booths had some kind of fake dog in place, possibly to act as a plastic decoy to attract the real kind (if they fall for that kind of thing).

The Woofstock festivities boasted a High Tea extravaganza at The King Edward Hotel, a Speed Dating Event for Single Dog Lovers, Wiener Dog Races (note to self: how did I miss this?!? Fail.), Agility and Trick Competitions, Doggy Fashion Shows, K9 Rescue Me Walk-A-Thon, a “Stupid Dog Trick Contest” and Mr. and Ms. Canine Canada Pageant (ok, now that’s a bit much).  Probably the most exciting event of this year was the search for the next Toto in a new Wizard of Oz-inspired reality show titled Over The Rainbow coming up on CBC. The end result of the show is to eventually find the next superstar Toto (and Dorothy) for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz production coming to theatre seats near you in winter 2012. Exciting! A potential pooch superstar may have been discovered this year at Woofstock! Requirements included: Be adorable. Be obedient. Embody the spirit of Toto. And most importantly, have that “It” factor.

Owning a dog was, of course, not a requirement to attend and if you just love them, or found yourself randomly stumbling into Woofstock thinking “what IS THIS?!” there were plenty of cute slobbery faces to enjoy and pet throughout the weekend. Which I did. It was fun. The dogs seemed to literally be soooo happy and having the time of their lives, and were on their best behaviour, which is pretty impressive. And so many puppies! Awww! AWW! Look at that one! And. Oh….is there a dog coming out of that person’s pocket? Yes. Yes there is. I wonder how it feels about that. The best part of Woofstock is making up captions with you and your friends about what the dogs could REALLY be thinking throughout all the madness. Do they want to be in a buggy? Only they know. Woof.

~ Becca Lemire 

Photos by Becca Lemire (Click to Enlarge)