Toronto islands

Today we’ve decided to spend our day on the Toronto Islands.

These islands are easily reachable via a 15min ferry from downtown, and are the popular weekend getaway for people living in the city.

After a relaxed morning and a leisurely walk, we arrived at the ferry port of Toronto to catch the ferry to Center Island, the main island.

The queue to the ticket office was crazy, so we quickly went online to buy them on the official ferry ticket website. This saved us a good half hour of queuing.

Center Island (and the rest of the Toronto Islands) is only a quick 15min ferry away, and also provides a unique view back over the city skyline. Just for that alone it’s worth getting there.

The island itself is also very beautiful (well, all of them, but they’re all linked). There are many beaches around the islands where you can swim (we didn’t, the water was freezing), and many beautiful areas to browse.

We started off by heading to the bike rental place, where we thought we’d be renting bikes for the day. However that was without checking prior the bike rental prices and realising bikes were $9 per hour! As we wanted bikes for the whole day it would have been over $100 for the both of us so we decided to pass and walk instead. We’ve got some big walks coming up in Chile, so any training will help.

The island is pretty small, and by walking 18 km that day we’ve been able to have our picnic lunch at Ward Beach, then walk back on the water front towards Centre Island, and then walk all the way to Hanlan Beach on the West.

The latter we stayed literally 2 seconds as it was a clothing optional beach, and we weren’t too keen on the view it was offering!

The island had been flooded a couple of months back, so a few roads still had water on them. This meant we had to walk on sand bags a few times; the obstacle courses weren’t too testing.

After a long day of walking, we then made our way to Toronto Island BBQ & beer co, the only place on the island with a panoramic view over the city skyline. It was so similar to Sydney!

We enjoyed some downtime there, a couple of beers and some food watching the sun set before making our way back to the city.

We’re really enjoying Toronto so far and are glad it made our short-list.

TIPS

  • Purchase your ferry tickets in advance on this website. You’ll receive them as an email that they scan at the ferry terminal. You’ll save precious time doing so rather than queuing at the port.
  • If you don’t want to pay $9/hour renting bikes on the island, rent an ebike on the shore for $7 for the full day and take it with you on the island (it’s fine to take bikes on). Much more cost effective. Shame we didn’t do it at the time.
  • They don’t check tickets at the ferry port on the way back, so you could water taxi to the island ($10/pp) if you just missed the ferry or can’t be bothered to wait (though it comes every 30 min in summer during the week and every 15 min on the weekends) and then ferry back for free. It would only end up being $2 more expensive per person. Note: Not an officially approved method!
  • Toronto Island BBQ & beer Co was a great beer garden to watch the sunset from. Be warned though, they close at 8.30pm and literally kick you out in the rudest way even though you’re not done eating/drinking. We ended up jumping the fence with our beers and continued watching the sunset on the waterfront.

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