The Toronto Islands are a chain of small islands providing a shallow natural harbour for the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A busy inland transhipment port trade was facilitated by the locks on the Saint Lawrence Seaway at Montreal. This advantage went into decline with the creation of extensive railway links and an export development plan which evolved over several changes in the Parliament of Canada.
A very good place to unwind. Very romantic and an ideal place for the whole family. A place to enjoy the view of the harbourfront, the skyline of downtown Toronto, and the amusement park and rides for the kids.
You have a choice to go to any of the three islands: Hanlan's Point, Centre Island, & Ward's Island. If you are with the family and young children, I suggest you go to Centre Island. For more mature patrons, Hanlan's Point and Ward's Island are the places you need to discover.
Schedules of ferry boats to take you to any of the three islands are detailed in the linkpage I provided below. Ferry costs $6 for adults, $3.50 for students and seniors. $2.50 for children under 14 years old, and FREE for kids under 2 years old.
Enjoy and have fun! You have so much to discover in our Islands!
It was the first stretch of waterfront revitalized at Toronto. Notable attractions include Queen's Quay Terminal (shopping), waterfront promenade, outdoor entertainment, a couple of art galleries, live concerts/festivals & nightclubs.
In the wintertime, the pond at Harbourfront is turned into a skating rink.
This area was first redeveloped in 1972, but developers turned the area into a plight of ugly suburban condos, taking away green space & vitality in the area. It is hoped that any future revitalization in the city does not follow this example.
A bay in the north shore of Lake Ontario. A very nice place to unwind. Though a bit touristy, it is a place for a great weekend destination. Activities in the harbourfront go on all day and into the night. The waterfront is a picturesque backdrop to some of Toronto's cultural attractions.
You will find yourself busy all day and maybe one day and night in the Harbourfront is not enough. I have a long list of activities in the area. From Art Galleries, Boat Cruises, City Tours, Visit to Historical Sites, Museums, Theatre and Stage Plays, Theme Parks & Entertainment Complex.
To be able to view the detailed information on what to see and what to do in Harbourfront, I am providing below the links for your convenience.
The Toronto Islands is one of the biggest & also one of the most visited parks in the city. Why? Well, is surrounded four sides by water, the gardens are beautiful & it offers the best views of Toronto's skyline.
The park is divided into three main areas: Centre Island, Wards Island & Hanlan's Point. They are also the three destinations for the Toronto ferry.
Centre Island offers a kiddy amusement park called Centreville, which has attractions like the swan ride, the log ride & the Sky ride. There are also gardens, including a hedge maze, & one adorned by fountains. Usually Centre Island is where people start their journey on the island.
Ward's Island is on the Eastern reach of the park, one of the more quiet places at the park. Nearby is Algonqiuin Island, where a small village of people live.
Hanlan's point is on the Western end of the park, & this is where Babe Ruth hit his first professional homerun! It is also home to Toronto's first Clothing-Optional Beach, designated in 1999.
If you are planning to take a long walk or jog along Toronto Island Park, remember to stay within the inner waterfront, for views of the city is far more interesting than views of the lake!
My favourite activities at Toronto Island Park include biking, rollerblading, & even picnicing on its many green spaces. It is a lot of fun, & good excerise too! You could actually rent 1 - 3 passenger bikes at Toronto Island Park, though it can get somewhat expensive.
Families pack the ferries in the summer to spend the day over on the islands. On Ward Island there are permanant residents, how lucky are they!! The main attraction is Centerville on Centre Island. It is a real family day out. A 20 acre theme park designed to look like a turn of the century Ontario village. It has a ferris wheel, log flume, train ride and mini golf course. The is a petting farm, and a beach. You can hire bikes to get around the Islands, and there are plenty of cafe's although most people seem to like the picnics. There are even signs saying "Please walk on the grass" It has it's own beautiful little harbour too.
Harbourfront and Queen's Quay is a federal government attempt to restore the harbour district of Toronto. Back in 1972 this area was falling into decay and required restoration. The government took over control of much of the lands and began redevelopment. This has not been without controversy. Much of the lands where turned into condos and rather ugly ones at that. There is a lack of green space to relax in. Other than for an outdoor skating rink there is hardly any reason to come down here at all in the wintertime. There have been some recent openings of major nightclubs in the area to draw an after hours crowd.
For me the best time to come here is on the weekends in the summertime. There are always some kind of music and folk festival going on. You can also take a lakefront boat cruise which can be fun.
Queen's Quay is a privately operated building just to the east of the Harbourfront Centre. There is some decent shopping the main floor and a couple of acceptable restaurants and cafes where you can watch the boat sail by. Up above are condominiums where several of Toronto's professional sports celebrities have lived over the years.
If you like art and craft, Harbourfront Centre is a must to visit. There are art studios where you can see glass blowers, pottery makers, painters working on their art works. There are also theatres, musical performances and dance.
Within the complex, there are restaurants and cafes with a great view of Lake Ontario, a marina and an outdoor skating rink with rentals available in winter.
This is a perfect pedistrian leisure time walk.
I took my husband to Toronto Harborfront where a VT member had planned a Toronto VT Meeting. The Union Station was our meeting point with other members. We parked our car at a parking lot near Captain John's Seafood Ship and walked upto the Union Station. We waited for about 1 hour. No body showed up. My husband began to grow irritated at the plan. So I suggested that we walk towards the restaurant that was to be the next meeting place.
It was a warm day. We walked enjoying views of the buildings and shopping outlets. We reached harborfront Plaza where a concert was going on. Nearby was ethnic bazaar. We enjoyed the concert. I bought few dresses from a kiosk. We continued hiking towards westside and reached a seaside restaurant where we had a dinner.
Since pictures are worth a thousand words, why don't you have a look at the pictures to see what we saw.
It is a nice place to be in summers. From different ports, one can take a ferry to the Toronto Islands or take cruise around various islands taking snaps of Toronto highrises.
I wanted to go on the tall ship that was at the harbour, but it was too early in the year (early June) for the ship to take tourists - they were still doing school tours. After I walked along the waterfront, I decided to take regular power boat narrated cruise of the lake and islands. This was really informative and I took a lot of pictures. I learned a lot of information about Toronto architecture and history which was helpful when I went up the CN tower to tell me what I was looking at. Most of the pictures were taken with a panoramic camera and need to be expanded to see the ends.
Their website says:
ENJOY A THROUGH TORONTO'S SCENIC HARBOURFRONT AND ISLAND PARKLANDS! THE NUMBER ONE CHOICE FOR A TORONTO HARBOUR TOUR!
Experience a narrated tour aboard one of Mariposa's classic vessels. Thrill to Toronto's breathtaking skyline and take in the sights and sounds of the Toronto Islands, Island Airport, Harbourfront, CN Tower, Skydome, Air Canada Centre and the fabled Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.
YOUR HARBOUR TOUR FEATURES
Fully licensed cash bar and snacks
Limited wheelchair accessibility
Both inside and outside seating
CRUISES DEPART AT
11:00 AM; 12:15 AM; 1:30 PM; 2:45 PM and 4:00PM
Call for extended season departure times
Adults $16.50 CAD
Seniors (65+) and Students (12-17) $15.00 CAD
Children (4-11) $11.50 CAD
Group and Charter Rates Available
Afterwards I went shopping and ate dinner at the Queen's Quay.
There is a nice waterfront to relax by. It overlooks Lake Ontario and the Toronto Islands. There is a ferry that seemed to leave very often to take people to the Island. Rumor has it there is a nude beach over there.
I will always recall the Toronto Islands with enormous affection, if only for the most wonderful - and utterly unexpected - 'guided tour' that I was on the receiving end of!
I had a spare afternoon in Toronto, and as it was a beautiful, if crisp, spring day, I decided that I would take the ferry out to Centre Island and go for a walk. As I was waiting to disembark from the ferry, I fell into casual conversation with an elderly woman who was the spitting image of my mother-in-law (whom, I should add, I rather liked), and, as it turned out, just as determined!
The lady in question was a German lady who had emigrated to Canada with her organ maker husband decades earlier. When she was widowed, she had sold up her house in rural Ontario and had relocated to an apartment in Toronto. However, her greatest regret was that she no longer had a garden, and by way of compensation, she visited the Toronto Islands on a regular basis and regarded them as her own personal space.
And so I found myself being briskly but amicably 'frogmarched' around the island's perimeter for the next two hours. It was a slightly surreal experience to gain such a remarkable insight into her life - such as beaches where she had taken her kids to swim when they were young - and perhaps because we were total strangers who were unlikely ever to meet or interact again, she presented her memories with remarkable candour. I am left with the happy image of a woman in the autumn of a life well lived, juxtaposed with a springtime location of trees in bud and bulbs coming into flowers. Quite simply one of my happiest travel memories.
The Toronto islands comprise a group of about ten small islands that were originally part of a sand spit that was severed from the mainland during a particularly violent storm in the mid 19th century. The islands are primarily used as a recreational area for the city, with the small Centreville amusement park and a myriad of sporting facilities (including canoe and yacht clubs as well as swimming beaches for the hardy). There is also small, rather bohemian residential community of about 250 houses on the eastern section of the islands.
On a practical note, there is no road access to the islands, but regular ferry services departing from Ferryquay at the Toronto waterfront to docks at Hanlan's Point, Centre Island Park and Ward's Island. There is also a ferry to the small Toronto Island airport.
If the weather is nice, this is a beautiful place to while away all or part of an idle day, far from the bustle of the CBD. It's extremely family-friendly, but it's also possible to escape the crowds even in high summer if you're willing to walk for a while, so pack a book, a picnic and your sporting kit (if you're feeling active).
Do not miss Harbourfront as it is an easy walk and offers something for the whole family. On the waterfront you can watch the ferries and other boats, take a cruise on the harbour, visit the museum, have lunch or coffee at one of the many restaurants and cafes, or look through the great variety of shops.
We took the cruise which was excellent, also walked the dock and looked over to the beautiful apartments lining the harbour. We also had lunch at Tim Horton famous coffee cafe.
There are 18 islands only a 10-minute ferry ride from the foot of Yonge Street in Lake Ontario. From here, you can enjoy panoramic views of the city skyline, miles of parkland with beaches, barbecues and picnic tables, boat rentals, bicycle paths, a children’s farm and even an amusement park. Bring your bike and a picnic lunch and make a day of it!
Check out the website below for the ferry schedule and fares.
We were only in Toronto a short time, and being February it was SO COLD!!
We diddnt actually go out to the Islands, but if I went back during the summertime I definatly would go to the islands!
They are a hotspot during the summer months, people go there to fish, swim and cycle amongst many other possibilities.
We made do with wandering along the harbourfront in the chilly weather, it was really beautiful looking back at all of the skyscrapers that line the waterfront.