I live in a mature neighbourhood on a corner lot in Toronto. I have no fence and need a hedge which is useful as a barrier to dogs, resistant to salt, and thrives in dry soil, as well as full sun and partial shade; it also has to be beautiful to look at.
evergreens are out of the question.
what about barberry – the extremists hate it but it’s been approved for use, and the city lists it on its site with the proviso not to plant near ravines.
Here are some considerations: barberry (Berberis), with its lovely hues of reds and purples; bridal wreath spirea (Spiraea bumalda ‘Crispa’, which becomes laden with small white flowers in early summer; and flowering shrub roses such as the Japanese Rose (Rosa rugosa). All of these will withstand salt and discourage dogs from entering your property, and fortunately they are hardy shrubs that are easy to grow.
As you noted, barberry is indeed listed as unwanted on the grow me instead brochure for Ontario published among others by the Ontario Invasive Plant council. For more information, see: http://www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca/files/GMI_Booklet_spreads_2011_Final_web.pdf