Toronto/IslandsToronto Islands is a large park with a small residential community in the City of Toronto.
There are three major islands, eight islands with names and several without names. Despite its name, Ward's Island is not an island but a peninsula of Centre Island, the main island. To add to the confusion, Centre Island Park is on Middle Island rather than Centre Island.
Each island has its own atmosphere, with Centre Island—which features huge picnic areas, an amusement park, greenspace, a maze, a beach, a chapel and award-winning gardens—the most popular.
WinterThe island ferries are on a very reduced winter schedule from about late October to about mid-April. With the winter schedule, only the ferry to Ward's Island operates. Expect no eateries to be open in winter on the island.
Shoulder seasonThe shoulder season is from about mid-April to the Victoria Day weekend (in late May), and from after Labour Day to about late October. The ferries service all 3 terminals on the island but not as frequently as in summer. The only eating establishments open may be the Riviera (former Rectory Cafe) and perhaps a Pizza Pizza stand at Centre Island. Bicycle rentals are available from May to September. However, as the month of May progresses, more establishments start opening mostly near the Centre Island ferry terminal.
Access to the islands is only via ferry, taxi or private yacht, and there is no access between the Toronto Island Airport and the rest of the Toronto Islands.
address: Toronto Ferry DocksAll ferries to the islands depart from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. From the mainland Ferry Docks, there are three destinations on the islands. During peak hours, it usually will take between 15 and 90 minutes just to buy ferry tickets. It may be quicker to buy tickets online instead.
Centre Island Ferry Docks
Ward's Island Ferry Docks
Hanlan's Point Ferry DocksThe western-most docks on Centre Island. In the shoulder season, the last ferry leaves in late afternoon. If you miss it, you need to take a water taxi to the mainland, or walk to the Centre Island ferry dock (4km).
Bicycle Rentals are available on Centre Island south of the Centre Island Ferry docks.
In summer, there is a Tram Tour (really a tractor train).
Boardwalkaddress: Lakeshore AveMost of the eastern section of Lakeshore Ave is on a boardwalk over long along the lake's edge. You may see boats entering and leaving Toronto Harbour via the Eastern Gap. On the inland side, between the trees and bushes, you may see short walkways leading to cottages long since demolished; the island community was once much larger.
Cherry tree blossomsJapanese cherry trees were planted in 2011 near the fountain at the south side of the bridge to Centreville. The trees bloom in late April or early May (depending on weather) and blooming lasts for only one or two weeks. There is a web page to find more precise information about when cherry trees bloom in Toronto.
address: 21 Avenue Of The Islands EastA petting farm with over 40 different species of farmyard animals and exotic birds.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouseaddress: Lakeshore AvenueGibraltar Point lighthouse 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.
Ned Hanlan statue and tugboatMonument to champion rower Ned Hanlan (1855-1908) plus a 1902 tugboat named in his honour, now mounted on a pedestal.
Olympic IslandOlympic island offers great views of the Toronto skyline. The island also is home to the Lagoon theatre and has a large field for picnics and BBQ.
phone: +1 416-203-0873address: 102 Lakeshore AvenueSt. Andrew-by-the-Lake is an Anglican church serving the islands' residents and visitors. This cute church of semi-Gothic/Medieval style was built in 1884.
Toronto Fire Station 335address: 235 Cibola AveAlthough built in 1995, this fire hall has a quaint old-fashioned look.
Toronto Centre Island Pieraddress: at the foot of Avenue of the IslandView of the CN Tower from the lake. View of boats on the lake.
Toronto Island CommunityThis is one of Toronto's oldest residential communities. Island residents own their homes but 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. There island community is clustered in two areas as follows:
Ward's IslandWard's Island offers views of the eastern side of the harbour which is more industrial on the other side of the water.
Algonquin IslandThere is a footbridge connecting Centre Island to Algonquin Island. The north side of the island has great views of the Toronto skyline.
Centre Island Beachaddress: 1 Avenue of the IslandMain beach on the island.
address: Lakeshore AvenueA quieter beach according to a blog.
Hanlan's Point BeachHanlan'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.
Ward's Island Beachaddress: Lakeshore Ave
Centreville Amusement ParkAn amusement park geared towards families with young kids, it has some 30 rides, an antique carousel, a petting zoo featuring farm animals and pony rides, and picturesque swan boats circling a small lagoon.
Antique CarouselThe Antique Carousel was built by the Dentzel Company in 1907 and is one of only 125 of its type still operating. The 52 animals used on the ride are all hand-carved.
Franklin Children's GardensA themed garden based on characters from "Franklin the Turtle" stories, it contains many bronze statues of Franklin's friends, many plants, a turtle pond, small benches and paths for kids to explore.
phone: +1 416-203-0009address: Lakeshore Ave, Centre IslandTraditional bicycles are $8 for the first hour, they also offer two and four seat options. Open only during the summer months.
address: Ward's IslandThis is an annual event held on a weekend in June to tour the beautiful gardens maintained by the Island Community. See the website for details. Even if you can't attend the tour, many gardens are in the front yard of cottages and are easily viewed from public walkways.
address: Avenue of the Island35-minute guided tour of Centre Island and Hanlan's Point operated by Toronto Parks and Recreation. The "tram" is really a rubber-tire tractor train.
William Meany Mazeaddress: Avenue of the IslandRevived by the namesake, Mississauga businessman William Meany. Meany has always enjoyed this maze as a child and he donated $200,000 towards the revival of the maze. The maze is built with fences between small evergreen trees to prevent shortcuts.
phone: +1 416-203-0405address: Centreville Theme ParkPatio restaurant by a water channel. Licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.
phone: +1 647-299-5514address: 20 Withrow Street, Ward's IslandLight, local fare, plus live music & game nights. Licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.
phone: +1 416-203-2152address: 102 Lakeshore AveLovely place to eat outside in the summer time. Licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.
Pizza PizzaOn weekdays in early May, this pizza kiosk may be the only eatery open between the Centre Island and Hanlan's Point ferry docks.
phone: +1 416-234-2345address: 17 Avenue of the IslandWaterfront eatery offers BBQ, burgers & brews, plus a patio & city views. Licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.
The Beach HousePatio offering alcoholic beverages.
Hanlan`sPatio offering alcoholic beverages.
The Mermaid Cafeaddress: Lakeshore AvenuePatio offering alcoholic beverages.
- Some residents of the Toronto Island Community offer "Bed and Breakfast" accommodation; expect to pay around $150-$200 per night.
Ward's Island Washroomsaddress: Lakeshore Ave
Center Island Winter Washroomsaddress: 1 The Mall
Hanlons Point Ferry Unisex W/Caddress: 760 Lakeshore Ave