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Toronto/Islands

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Toronto : Islands
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Toronto Islands are a small island chain in Toronto harbour also known as the Toronto Island Park.

Toronto’s own island community offers a quaint summer amusement park, paddleboats and bikes for rent, in-line skating paths, and plenty of grass and beach area for picnics. Best of all, there are no cars! Summer cottages from the 1920's are home to some 250 families, and feature charming English-style gardens. The Islands are a 10-minute ferry ride from the docks located at the foot of Bay St. The islands are also home to Toronto/ City Centre Airport, known as 'Island Airport' by Torontonians.

Get in[edit]

Catch the ferry at the Toronto Ferry Docks at the foot of Bay Street and Queens Quay. Return fare is currently $7 for adults, $4.50 students and seniors and $3.50 for children. There is no extra charge for bicycles. Water taxis are also available but are much more expensive. The last ferry leaves the island at 11:45 pm during the summer months but take the ferry back at sunset for a spectacular view. Note that there is no access between the Toronto Island Airport.

Get Around[edit]

The islands are all connected and can be walked end to end in hours, expect a lot of walking. A more efficient option is to rent a bicycle from the stalls at the pier. Traditional bicycles are $10 per hour per person, they also offer two and four seat options. Open only during the summer months.

See[edit][add listing]

Paddling among the Toronto Islands.

The Islands provide the most spectacular view of Toronto’s impressive skyline, and are user friendly; signs instruct visitors to “Please walk on the grass”! No cars allowed, which make the area a favourite for cyclists, walkers and rollerblade enthusiasts. The many lagoons and waterways are populated by ducks and swans, and some areas are off-limits to people, designated as “wilderness zones” for migratory birds.

The three major islands - there are eight islands with names and several without - are connected by a tram system. And each has its own atmosphere.

The most popular is Centre Island, which features huge picnic areas, greenspace, a maze, a beach, a chapel and award-winning gardens. It also features an amusement park geared towards younger children. 'Centreville' has some 30 rides, a petting zoo featuring farm animals and pony rides, and picturesque swan boats circling a small lagoon.

  • Ward's Island community [1] is one of Toronto's oldest residential communities. Residents of the island own their homes and lease the land. The small picturesque cottage-style homes sport some beautiful gardens and more cats per square metre anywhere, except possibly the Coliseum in Rome.
  • Hanlan's Point Beach is the only officially recognised clothing-optional beach in the City of Toronto. It was first approved as clothing-optional in 1894 but this approval was repealed in 1930 due to the protests of citizen's groups. The official status was restored in 2002 following a three year pilot project.
  • Gibraltar Point lighthouse, on the southwestern tip of the islands, has stood since 1808 and quickly became home to one of Toronto’s oldest mysteries when, in 1815, its first keeper, J.P. Radan Muller, disappeared. A subsequent lighthouse keeper found skeletal remains years later. Believed to have been beaten to death by soldiers from nearby Fort York, Muller is said to haunt the lighthouse, as a plaque on the grounds will attest to.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Centreville— Located on Centre Island, it is an amusement park for families featuring rides for kids, including an antique carousel and pony rides.
  • Hanlan's Point Beach— Beach which includes a designated clothing-optional section.
  • Bicycling— Explore the island on bike with cycle friendly trails stretching the 4-mile (6.5-km)way.
  • Go to the Rectory restaurant which serves as Ward’s Island informal social center. The menu has hearty meals of generous portions.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Souvenir shops are plentiful during the summer, selling the usual sort of wares.

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Pizza Pizza, locations throughout the islands. Open during the summer season only.
  • Rectory Cafe, located on Ward's Island. It's somewhat pricey, but has excellent food and is a lovely place to eat outside in the summer time.
  • By far the best way to eat on the island is to bring your own and take advantage of one it's many beautiful picnic areas.

Drink[edit][add listing]

There are drinking taps on the islands if you're running low on cash otherwise there are various places to buy assorted overpriced beverages.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

Camping is prohibited, although you may be able to pay a local to allow you to camp in their garden.

Mid-range[edit]

Splurge[edit]

A number of island residents offer "Bed and Breakfast", expect to pay around $150-$200 per night.


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