We love the hustle and bustle of the city, but sometimes it’s nice to get away from it all – even if it’s just for a day! Luckily, here in Toronto, we have an oasis of our own that is just a short ferry ride, paddle, or swim (but we don’t recommend that last option) away. The Toronto Islands are a staple in the city for day trips with family and friends to enjoy the heat of the summer. It’s the perfect place to spend the full day outdoors and really get away from it all back in the downtown core.
If you haven’t been to the Islands in a while, well, what have you been doing?! Here’s how we recommend you make the most of it and spend the perfect day there:
First things first, you need to get there. The easiest way to get to the Toronto Islands is of course to take the ferry, so check the schedule and head to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to get yourself across. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can rent a canoe or kayak from the Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre and paddle your way across. This is definitely one of the best ways to enjoy the city skyline from the water!
Once you’re there, we recommend renting yourself a bike to get from place to place. For the first few hours you’re there you can bike around and explore, and maybe make a pit spot at the Centreville Amusement Park for a few rides. If you’ve lived in Toronto for the last few decades, you’ll be sure to have a few flashbacks of taking a spin on the swan ride there.
Now that you’ve probably worked up an appetite, it’s time for lunch! There are a few options for eating on the Islands, whether it’s at one of the local restaurants like the Island Cafe or Rectory Cafe, or laying down a blanket and having your own picnic. If you’re feeling something a bit more fancy than packed sandwiches, you can bring charcoal to use at one of the BBQ stations or obtain a permit beforehand to use one of the firepits on site.
Your afternoon should be spent one of two ways: playing sports or relaxing on the beach. If you’re up for an activity, you can check out the tennis courts at Hanlan’s Point, the soccer field on Ward’s Island, or claim a beach volleyball net at any of the beaches on the the Islands. We’re also big fans of paddleboarding on Lake Ontario! If you’re ready to kick back and relax, you can head to either Hanlan’s Point Beach, Ward’s Island Beach, or Gibraltar Point Beach. A word of advice: Ward’s Island Beach is often the least crowded because it’s in a more residential area.
Image via Joseph Morris on Flickr
After a long day spent on the Islands, cap it off with a walk along the boardwalk at Ward’s Island or grab a drink at the Toronto Island Marina before heading back to the city.