Imagine a serene oasis, just minutes away from the bustling city of Toronto, where you can escape the urban chaos and indulge in a day filled with exciting activities, several beaches, and breathtaking views of the Toronto skyline. Welcome to Toronto Island! This popular day trip destination offers an array of attractions and experiences, catering to visitors of all ages and interests. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s explore and discover the many wonders of Toronto Island and find out what to do on Toronto Island, Downtown Toronto.
- Explore Toronto Island with ferry rides, sightseeing cruises, and beach activities.
- Visit attractions such as Centreville Amusement Park and Far Enough Farm for family fun or take part in active adventures like bike rentals and disc golf.
- Uncover the island’s history through special events and festivals or explore its residential areas for a peaceful escape from city life.
Getting to Toronto Islands
Beginning your Toronto Island adventure is simpler than it may seem. You can choose from several transportation options, such as the ferry from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, a water taxi, or a boat cruise. Most visitors opt for the ferry, which departs from the terminal at the foot of Bay Street and Queens Quay West for convenience.
During the off season, ferries operate solely between Ward’s Island. Hence, it’s advisable to check the ferry timetable and purchase tickets online before planning your visit. Regardless of your transportation choice, you will soon be admiring the stunning Toronto skyline and the beautiful Lake Ontario.
Ferry ride duration
The ferry boats ride to Toronto Island lasts a brief yet enjoyable 15 minutes. With access to Centre Island, Ward’s Island, and Hanlan’s Island, you can decide where to kick off your island exploration. Keep in mind that the frequency of the ferry service varies depending on the season, with more frequent departures during the summer months and reduced service during spring and fall.
Apart from its convenience, the ferry ride also presents an excellent opportunity for capturing breathtaking photos of the city skyline and the lake. Don’t forget your camera for a ride to remember!
Sightseeing cruise option
If you desire a luxurious touch to your Toronto Island experience, consider a sightseeing cruise. The Toronto Harbor and Islands Sightseeing Cruise, a one hour journey, provides scenic views of the Toronto skyline, an insight into the area’s rich history, and an exploration of the Toronto Islands.
Why not treat yourself to a sightseeing cruise? Enjoy the city’s spectacular skyline from the comfort of an upper deck while sipping a refreshing beverage. This is an experience you will not want to miss!
Beaches of Toronto Island Park
Upon arrival at Toronto Island Park, you can start exploring the three main beaches: Centre Island Beach, Ward’s Island Beach, and Hanlan’s Point Beach. Each beach has its own unique charm and offers a variety of recreational activities, making them ideal spots for a relaxing day under the sun.
Centre Island Beach
Centre Island Beach, located on the south side of Toronto Island, is the most popular and easily accessible beach, situated just a short walk from the Centre Island Ferry Dock and Centre Island Pier. This beach is perfect for families and visitors looking for a day of fun in the sun. It offers amenities such as:
- Change rooms.
The offshore breakwater at Centre Island Beach fosters a calm and temperate aquatic environment, perfect for swimming and lounging by the water. With your sunscreen, beach towel, and favorite book in tow, allow the sound of the waves to usher you into blissful relaxation.
Ward’s Island Beach
If you’re seeking a quieter and less crowded beach experience, Ward’s Island Beach and Ward’s island ferry dock on the eastern side of the Toronto Islands is the perfect choice. This hidden gem is known for its pristine sandy shore and crystal clear waters, making it an excellent spot for swimming and searching for beach glass. Stroll along the picturesque Lakeshore Avenue boardwalk, lined with lush trees on one side and Lake Ontario on the other, and immerse yourself in the serene natural beauty of the island.
Remember to bring along a picnic and make use of the numerous picturesque picnic tables and sites spread across Ward’s Island, several of which provide stunning views of the city skyline. With lifeguards on duty and beach upkeep during summer, Ward’s Island Beach is a safe and delightful destination for all age groups.
Hanlan’s Point Beach
For a unique beach experience, head to Hanlan’s Point Beach, situated on the west shore of Hanlan’s Point, just a 10 minute walk from the Hanlan’s Point ferry docks. Hanlan’s Point Beach features designated clothing optional and clothing mandatory areas, providing visitors with the freedom to choose their preferred beach experience.
The Hanlan’s Point Beach comes with a variety of amenities such as:
- A ball diamond.
- A bike trail.
- A change room facility.
- A drinking fountain.
- A fire pit.
- The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.
Hence, whether your interest lies in sunbathing au naturel or exploring the island’s historic lighthouse, Hanlan’s Point Beach is a destination you must visit on your Toronto Island adventure.
Family fun at Centreville Amusement Park
A day spent at Centreville Amusement Park, situated on Centre Island, epitomizes family fun. The park offers over 30 attractions, including:
- Kiddie golf.
- An arcade.
- A water play splash pad.
With these options, the park guarantees a day brimming with excitement and laughter for both children and adults.
In addition to the thrilling rides and attractions, the park offers a variety of dining options, such as Carousel Cafe and Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Co, providing visitors with delicious meals and snacks to refuel between rides.
Exploring wildlife at Far Enough Farm
Situated next to Centreville Amusement Park, Far Enough Farm is a captivating petting zoo offering delightful wildlife encounters for visitors across all age groups. The petting farm is home to over 40 species of barnyard animals and exotic birds, providing a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with some of your favorite furry and feathered friends. As a fully functioning farm, it provides an educational experience for visitors, allowing them to learn about the different animals and their habitats.
Active adventures on Toronto Island
If you crave physical activity and outdoor adventure, Toronto Island is the place to be. With activities like:
- Bike rentals.
- Disc golf.
Bike rentals and tours
Exploring the scenic landscapes of Toronto Island by bicycle is a great option. Rent a single bike, tandem bike, or even a quadricycle from Toronto Island bicycle rental and set off on a self guided tour of the island’s numerous attractions. Alternatively, join a guided bike tour for a more immersive experience, complete with fascinating insights into the island’s history and natural wonders.
Featuring wide walkways and car free residential areas, Toronto Island makes for a cyclist’s paradise. So, mount a bike and uncover the hidden gems and breathtaking views that await on this idyllic island.
Kayak and canoe rentals
If water exploration is more your style, think about renting a kayak or canoe from The Boat House. As you paddle through the tranquil waterways and marvel at the magnificent city skyline, keep your eyes peeled for:
- Sun basking turtles on partially submerged logs.
Kayaking and canoeing on Toronto Island offer a unique vantage point of the city and its surroundings, letting you appreciate the serene beauty of nature while still in view of the bustling cityscape. So, seize a paddle and set off on an unforgettable aquatic adventure.
Disc golf course
Those seeking a unique experience can head to the 18-hole disc golf course just beyond the Boat House on Toronto Island. This unconventional sport, which is gaining in popularity, involves hurling a flying disc into a basket or target with the goal of finishing the course in the fewest throws possible.
The disc golf course on Toronto Island provides a fun and challenging experience for novices and seasoned players alike. Even better, entry to the course is free – all you need to bring is your disc and an adventurous spirit. Experience a friendly match of disc golf while absorbing the island’s scenic surroundings.
Dining options on Toronto Island
After a day filled with exploration and enjoyment of Toronto Island’s numerous attractions, you’ll undoubtedly have worked up an appetite. Fortunately, the island boasts a variety of dining options catering to all tastes, including Island Cafe, Rectory Cafe, and Toronto Island BBQ and Beer Co.
Whether you’re craving a juicy burger with a view of the city skyline at Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Co or a refreshing espresso at Island Cafe, you’ll find something to satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst on Toronto Island. So, take a break from your adventures and indulge in some delicious island cuisine.
Special events and festivals
Throughout the year, Toronto Island hosts a range of concerts, festivals, and special events, enhancing the excitement and entertainment of your visit. Some of the notable events held on the island include:
- Electric Island event.
- Toronto Islands Jazz festival.
- Island Soul festival.
- Alternative music festival.
These events showcase a diverse range of musical styles and genres, offering something for everyone to enjoy. So, be sure to check the event calendar before your visit and experience the vibrant arts and culture scene of Toronto Island.
Exploring the residential areas
For a calmer and more serene experience, meander through the car free residential areas of Algonquin Island and Ward’s Island. These delightful neighborhoods, with their unique homes and lush gardens, offer a peaceful escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. As you stroll through the scenic streets, you’ll encounter stunning views of Toronto’s skyline, perfect for a photo opportunity.
The residential areas of Toronto Island offer a glimpse into a different way of life, where nature and community blend seamlessly with the urban landscape. So, take your time, soak in the atmosphere, and discover the hidden gems that await you in these enchanting neighborhoods.
Toronto Island is a true urban oasis, offering visitors a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. With its beautiful beaches, exciting amusement park, engaging wildlife encounters, and array of active adventures, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on this idyllic island. Add to that the rich history, diverse dining options, and vibrant special events, and it’s clear that a visit to Toronto Island is a must for both locals and tourists alike.
So, why not plan your perfect day trip to Toronto Island today? Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a little bit of everything, this enchanting island destination promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you longing for more.
Frequently asked questions
Is there anything to do in Toronto Island?
You won’t run out of activities on Toronto Island, with beaches, amusement parks, shops and food to explore. Centre Island, the largest and outermost island, crescent shaped and forms the shoreline of both Eastern and Western Channels, is teeming with attractions for you and your family.
How do you spend a day on Toronto Island?
Spend the day at one of the many beaches on Toronto Island, such as Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach, and Ward’s Island Beach, while biking, hiking, or swimming.
How long should I spend on Toronto Island?
You can easily spend a few hours exploring Toronto Island, taking advantage of the various beaches, amusement park and car free environment. Renting bikes is a great way to get around and take in all that the island has to offer.