Toronto Islands - Escape from the City

By Contributor

Bev is the co-founder of Staying Native. She left her corporate gig to be able to travel more with her young family. She loves traveling and likes to share her local experiences with others. As an amateur photographer, her stories come with lots of pictures. Bev is Staying Native's lead tweep, moderator of the "Do it like a local" blog and the curator of all things social media.

Sunday, Jun 23, 2013

We´re here after a 10 minute ferry ride from downtown. The cool breezes off the water all but erase the memory of the stifling summer humidity, that makes 30C feel more like 40C. Yes, even on a hot summer day the temperature here is at least 5C lower than in the city core. 

There are lots of things to do on the islands; cycling, boating, picnicking and the beaches, but today we're here for just one reason - Centreville Amusement Park.


The Toronto Islands


An aerial view of Downtown Toronto and the Toronto Islands

Collectively known as the Toronto Islands, this cluster of 13 islands are accessed by boat and linked together by bridges, which allow you to explore without the need to ferry-hop once you´ve arrived. 

Toronto_-_Centre_Island_bridge_over_lagoon.jpgBridge Connecting Centre island and Ward islandWard Island

Ward Island is named for the Ward family who first built here in the 1830´s.  It is the largest of the islands and home to Ward´s Island Beach, Manitou Beach and Toronto´s only clothing optional beach, Hanlan´s Point. 

Centre Island

This island has a spectacular view of Toronto´s skyline, a cool shrubbery maze, bike rentals, boat rentals, beaches, resturants and my kids' favourite, Centreville Amusement Park. 

Getting to the Islands

Toronto Island Ferry


Boarding the Ferry to Centre Island

The ferry runs regularly throughout the day, leaving from the docks located at the base of Bay Street, just behind the Westin Harbour Castle hotel. For the most current ferry schedule and pricing, visit the City of Toronto website.

Toronto Harbour Tour


Loving the Harbour Boat Tour

For a hop on - hop off alternative take a harbour boat tour. A total ride time of about an hour gives you a tour of the Toronto waterfront and waterways of the islands and stellar views of the Toronto skyline, with the added benefit of being able to exit the boat at Centre Island. The best part is that you can catch the rest of the tour on your return trip or if you miss the last tour boat back, catch a ride on the ferry.

TIP - Purchasing your ticket online saves you 20% over the price onsite.

Centreville Amusement Park


Swan Ride at Centrevill Amusement Park

Centreville Amusement Park is located on Centre Island and once the weather turns fair, it draws quite a crowd. The park is open every weekend from May through the end of September and daily in the months of June, July and August. The rides are targeted at the younger crowd, ages 3-10, and theres no admission required to walk through the grounds. The fan favourites for our family include the Log Flume Ride, the Toronto Island Monster Coaster, Antique Cars and the Swan Ride. 


anticipating the First Ride of the day at Centreville

TIP - Tickets for the rides tend to get spent quickly so if you are planning to play all day, it is more economical to buy the pass.  Pre-purchase your passes online to receive a discounted rate over the price paid at the gate.

Recommendations for a Great Day at the Toronto Islands


Watching SwAns by the Regatta course on Centre Island

Torontonians are spoiled by this island paradise in the heart of the city. To make the most of your visit, here are some of my tips and recommendations.

  • Make plans to stay all day!  Take a picnic lunch, walk the paths or ride a bike, go to the beach and visit Centreville.
  • Bring your camera. The islands are beautiful and the view of the city skyline is stunning, day or night. 
  • Weekends are very busy on the Islands so head out early in the morning or go on a weekday to enjoy the beauty without the crowds.

   Toronto_twitter_header.jpgToronto skyLine at night from the Ferry Docks on Centre Island

comments powered by Disqus

Want to share your travel stories and more?

We're looking for authentic travel experiences and local insight into your city to give fellow travelers the inside scoop.

Contact us at