Toronto Islands provide an unbeatable outdoor oasis just a short ferry ride from Downtown Toronto
Toronto Islands and Toronto Island Park form a beautiful pedestrian only oasis comprised of 570 acres of small islands in Lake Ontario across from downtown Toronto. After a fun 10 minute ferry ride from Downtown Toronto, you will find there are no cars, just fabulous beaches, trails, gardens, attractions and more, making this a fantastic place to enjoy the day.
The islands were originally a long sand spit formed by a combination of erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs and currents in the lake. Storms in the 1800s opened up channels in the spit to form islands. With no intervention the islands would have eventually eroded away, but they have been protected by the extension of the Leslie Street Spit and 'hardening' of the shore lines. Land has also been reclaimed over the years by dredging up sand from the harbour.
The islands are now home to the Regional City Centre Airport along with Parkland, Beaches and over 250 homes and cottages, but no cars! Vehicle traffic is limited to service vehicles making the islands a peaceful place to spend some time strolling or cycling. There were once over 600 homes and cottages in the community, but the city wanted to convert most of the islands to parkland and, in a battle with residents that lasted for decades, expropriated and demolished the majority of the homes on the island. The battle was finally settled in 1993 with the remaining residents able to purchase a 99 year lease. Access to the islands is provided via ferry service from Queens Quay in Downtown Toronto. The ferries operate daily from morning until nighttime. For information on fares and schedules go click on the 'Map and Directions' tab. You can also contact the Ferries by phone at 416-397-2628.
Recreation on the islands includes Centreville Amusement Park, a children's turn-of-the-century themed amusement park with a miniature railroad, vintage carousel, ferris wheel. pony rides and more. It is open daily during the summer months.
Located just east of the Centreville Amusement Park you will find Far Enough Farms, a free petting zoo with over 40 species of farm animals and exotic birds on display. This is a great place to take your kids and will appeal to the kid in all of us. It is open from 10am-5pm 365 days a year.
There are several swimming beaches on the islands. Recreational boating is popular with the islands being home to four yacht clubs and the Toronto Island Marina. Canoe and boat rentals are available from Toronto Island Boathouse on Centre Island and Bike Rentals are available next to the pier on Ward Island. Friends of Toronto Islands website is a good source of additional information about the islands.
Facts For Your Visit
Fee: Yes - For ferry service to the islands
Address: Middle Island - Olympic Island, Toronto, ON, Canada
Phone: (416) 392-8196