Toronto Islands provide an outdoor oasis just a short ferry ride from Downtown Toronto
Toronto Islands are an oasis comprised of 570 acres of small islands in Lake Ontario across from Toronto Harbour. Only a 10 minute ferry ride from Downtown Toronto, you will find great trails, beaches, gardens and more - a great place to spend a day. The islands were originally a long sand spit formed by a combination of erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs and currents in the lake. Storms in the 1800s opened up channels in the spit to form islands. With no intervention the islands would have eventually eroded away, but they have been protected by the extension of the Leslie Street Spit and 'hardening' of the shore lines. Land has also been reclaimed over the years by dredging up sand from the harbour.
The islands are now home to the Regional City Centre Airport along with Parkland, Beaches and over 250 homes and cottages, but no cars! Vehicle traffic is limited to service vehicles making the islands a peaceful place to spend some time strolling or cycling. There were once over 600 homes and cottages in the community, but the city wanted to convert most of the islands to parkland and, in a battle with residents that lasted for decades, expropriated and demolished the majority of the homes on the island. The battle was finally settled in 1993 with the remaining residents able to purchase a 99 year lease. Access to the islands is provided via ferry service from Queens Quay in Downtown Toronto.
Recreation on the islands includes Centreville Amusement Park, a children's turn-of-the-century themed amusement park with a miniature railroad, vintage carousel, ferris wheel. pony rides, farm animal display, and more. It is open daily during the summer months. There are several swimming beaches on the islands. Recreational boating is popular with the islands being home to four yacht clubs and the Toronto Island Marina. Canoe and boat rentals are available from Toronto Island Boathouse on Centre Island and Bike Rentals are available next to the pier on Ward Island. For more information see the Official Website: Toronto Island Park.