The Toronto Islands are hands down my absolute favourite place in the City. It’s a little piece of paradise just outside the downtown core. It’s my happy place.
I love living in Toronto – I think it’s an amazing place to live – but as a small town, northern Ontario girl I do sometimes go a bit stir crazy with city life and need to escape it all. Toronto Island is the perfect solution and you can get there with the good o’ TTC (Toronto Transit) and the Toronto Ferry.
Once on the island, busy city life just fades away.
It’s such a peaceful place. I’m always surprised by just how far away the city feels once I’ve made my way to the southern edge of the island and it’s disappeared from view. All I can see is the vast open water in front of me, sandy beach all around and trees to my back. I could be a million miles away.
There are several great beaches to relax on (including our famous nude beach at Hanlan’s point) as well as gorgeously tree lined paths, and lakeside boardwalks. You can rent bikes (single and tandem) as well as canoes and kayaks and paddle boats – so the way you explore the island is completely up to you. No matter how you chose to get around, you’re sure to see some spectacular views of the city and its iconic skyline.
Last weekend I went to the Island with my boyfriend Dave and we grabbed ourselves a canoe ($27.00 for 1 hour) and off we went. I love canoeing but don’t get the chance to do it nearly often enough! We had a grand old time exploring the little waterways between the islands and relaxing on the water. We eventually found our way into the Harbour and got some fantastic views of the skyline.
As dusk was approaching we decided to walk all the way to Wards Island along the boardwalk. We made it onto the rocks facing the city just as the sun was just tucking itself behind the tower.
All in all, a pretty fantastic way to spend a lazy summer Sunday and a great way to beat the city heat!
To get to Toronto Island you have to make your way down to the Harbour Front. You can get here by going to Union Station and then walking south a few blocks. Here you’ll find the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. The ferry ride over usually takes about 15 minutes or so.
The return ferry ride over to the islands costs $7.50 and can be bought online here which I highly recommend so you can jump the often excessively long ticket queue! You only need a ticket to get to the islands. Once there, you can take any of the three ferries back to the city at no cost.
There are 3 ferry options to chose from to get to the islands: Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point and Wards Island. All three islands are connected so you can take any ferry and still make your way around all three islands.
Centre Island: This is the most family friendly/touristy bit of the islands- with a little theme park, kids area and petting zone. The beach here is most crowded and full of kids.
Hanlan’s Point: Hanlan’s point is more for the locals and tends to be a bit quieter. Due to its level proximity to our famous clothing optional beach you’re much less likely to find children here. I prefer this area. My favourite beach spot is towards Gibraltar Point. Not over run with children or covered with naked people. Beach perfection.
Wards Island: This is where you’ll find the majority of the island’s residence with many houses and cottages.
Thanks for reading!
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