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The Toronto Islands is a large park with a small residential community in the City of Toronto. The park is a popular summertime daytrip for Torontonians who want to get away from the hustle of the city. They provide a spectacular view of Toronto's impressive skyline, and with no cars allowed, the area a favourite for cyclists, walkers and rollerblade enthusiasts.


Paddling among the Toronto Islands

Torontonians commonly refer to the islands as if they were one: "the Island", or "Toronto Island". In fact, 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.

The many lagoons and waterways are populated by ducks and swans, and some areas are off-limits to people, designated as “wilderness zones” for migratory birds. Their charm extends to the residential neighbourhoods, year-round home to some 250 families, containing cottages from the 1920s and featuring English-style gardens.

Each island has its own atmosphere. Centre Island, which features huge picnic areas, an amusement park, greenspace, a maze, a beach, a chapel and award-winning gardens, is the most popular.



The 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. Most eateries, facilities and attractions are closed during the winter, and only three washrooms remain open. Nevertheless, the park remains accessible, and for warmly-dressed and well-prepared visitors it can provide a peaceful solitude amongst snow and ice within view of the city's skyline. Remember that the island tends to be a few degrees cooler than the mainland, and strong lake winds can make it feel even colder. There are no heated shelters; expect to be outside from the time you step off the ferry until you're back on board for the return trip.

Shoulder season


The 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.

Get in

Map of Toronto/Islands

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.

  • 1 Jack Layton Ferry Terminal (Toronto Island Ferry Docks Terminal), Toronto Ferry Docks (at the foot of Bay Street and Queens Quay; 509 or 510 streetcar to Queens Quay Ferry Docks Terminal.). All 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. Return fare: $8.70 adults, $5.60 for 19 and under or 65 and over, $4.10 children, free for infants under 2; no extra charge for bicycles; TTC fares/passes not accepted; 13% tax not included.
Ferries sound a very loud horn just prior to leaving the dock. If you are very close to the ferry slip, you may have a running chance of catching the ferry once the horn sounds. The loud ferry horn may startle some people, but consider it part of the ferry trip experience.
Toronto Island ferry
  • 2 Centre Island Ferry Docks, Avenue of the Island. No winter service; last ferry leaves the island at 11:45PM in summer. The Centre Island docks are on Middle Island. Taking the ferry back at sunset offers a spectacular view.
  • 3 Ward's Island Ferry Docks, Bayview Ave (not the same as Bayview Ave on the mainland). Year-round service. The small cottage community on Algonquin Island and at Ward's Island uses this route year-round. Ward's Island is not an island per se but rather the eastern-most peninsula of Centre Island.
  • 4 Hanlan's Point Ferry Docks. No scheduled winter service. The western-most docks on Centre Island. In the shoulder season, the last ferry leaves in late afternoon. If you miss it, you have to take a water taxi to the mainland, or walk to the Centre Island ferry dock (4 km).
  • 5 Water Taxi (6 locations, including York Street Slip, and Queens Quay at Spadina), +1 416-203-8294. Toronto Harbour Water Taxi and other companies offer an alternative to the ferries. $12 each way, extra charges for bikes and strollers.

Get around


Walking or cycling is the main means of getting around on the islands. The roadways on the island resemble wide recreation trails, as only city and service vehicles are permitted. Lakeshore Avenue runs from Hanlan's Point ferry docks to Ward's Island Beach, via Gibraltar Point and Centre Island Beach. For most of the Ward's Island peninsula, it is a boardwalk right along the lake. East of the Centre Island beach, Cibola Avenue branches away from Lakeshore Ave to the Ward's Island ferry docks, following the city-side shore. From the Centre Island ferry docks, Avenue of the Islands leads to Lakeshore Avenue at the beach.

The distance between the Hanlan's Point and Ward's Island ferry docks is about 6 km (3.7 mi) or about 90 minutes on foot, but this excludes any detour to visit the Centre Island Park on Middle Island.

From the Centre Island ferry dock, the pier, beach, and Lakeshore Avenue are about 800 m (2,600 ft) or a 10 minute walk. Hanlan's Point ferry dock is another 3.2 km (2.0 mi) from here, or Ward's Island ferry dock is 2.4 km (1.5 mi).

The ferries and water taxis permit bicycles on board as long as space permits. During busy summer days, the Centre Island ferry is often busiest with larger groups, wagons and strollers. If cycling, it can be faster to take whichever ferry is leaving first with space on board, since it is quick to cycle between docks on the islands. 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).


The islands are separated by picturesque channels that you can explore by canoe or on a boat tour
  • 1 Boardwalk, Lakeshore Ave (from Ward's Island Beach to the intersection with Cibola Ave). Most of the eastern section of Lakeshore Ave is on a boardwalk over 1 km (0.62 mi) 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.
  • 2 Cherry tree blossoms (southern end of Avenue of the Island near the fountain). Japanese 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.
  • 3 Far Enough Farm, 21 Avenue Of The Islands East (east side of the Centreville Amusement Park). Open year-round. A petting farm with over 40 different species of farmyard animals and exotic birds. Free admission.
  • 4 Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, Lakeshore Avenue (western half of Centre Island). Gibraltar 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. Gibraltar Point Lighthouse (Q5559191) on Wikidata Gibraltar Point Lighthouse on Wikipedia
  • 5 Ned Hanlan statue and tugboat (Hanlan's Point ferry dock). Monument to champion rower Ned Hanlan (1855-1908) plus a 1902 tugboat named in his honour, now mounted on a pedestal. Ned Hanlan (Q6986000) on Wikidata Ned Hanlan (tugboat) on Wikipedia
  • 6 Olympic Island (just east of the Centre Island Ferry Docks). Olympic 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.
  • 7 St. Andrew's by the Lake Church, 102 Lakeshore Avenue (north of the intersection of Cibola Ave and Lakeshore Ave), +1 416-203-0873. St. 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.
  • 8 Toronto Fire Station 335, 235 Cibola Ave (west of Ward's Island). Active fire station; interior not open to public. Although built in 1995, this fire hall has a quaint old-fashioned look.
  • 9 Toronto Centre Island Pier, at the foot of Avenue of the Island (directly across the island from the Centre Island Ferry Dock). View of the CN Tower from the lake. View of boats on the lake.
A house on Wards Island
  • Toronto Island Community. This 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:.
    • 10 Ward's Island (NE of Ward's Island Ferry Docks). Ward's Island offers views of the eastern side of the harbour which is more industrial on the other side of the water.
    • 11 Algonquin Island (west of Ward's Island Ferry Docks). There is a footbridge connecting Centre Island to Algonquin Island. The north side of the island has great views of the Toronto skyline.


  • Beaches:
    • 1 Centre Island Beach (Manitou Beach), 1 Avenue of the Island (straddling Lookout Pier on the south-centre side of Centre Island). The most popular beach for families, with a wide sandy area between Lakeshore Avenue and Lake Ontario. Large changing rooms with toilets and showers are near the pier. Across Lakeshore Avenue, large trees in a grassy field provide lots of space to take a break from the sun or set up a picnic. Food and drink vendors are located at the base of the pier. Centre Island Beach (Q120918448) on Wikidata
    • 2 Gibraltar Point Beach, Lakeshore Avenue (south of the Artscape Gibralter Point building). A quieter beach, with fewer amenities further from either the Hanlan's Point or Centre Island ferry docks. Washrooms are available at the far west end of the beach.
    • 3 Hanlan's Point Beach (east of Hanlan's Point on the south side of Centre Island). Hanlan'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, and as of 2023 the beach (and the portion designated as clothing-optional) is gradually being expanded, including a section of beach to the south that restores part of the shoreline that had eroded. Expect this beach to be the most crowded and noisiest of all the island beaches on summer weekends. The beach is accessed by trails and a boardwalk from the main pathway through the sand dunes and forest. Washrooms and a snack bar are located off the beach, along the main pathway. Hanlan's Point Beach (Q5648577) on Wikidata Hanlan's Point Beach on Wikipedia
    • 4 Ward's Island Beach, Lakeshore Ave (SE of the Ward's Island Ferry Docks). Toronto Islands (Q248110) on Wikidata Ward's Island Beach and Island Beach on Wikipedia
  • 5 Centreville Amusement Park. Open at 10:30am June to Labour Day and all weekends in May and September. An 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. Free admission to park grounds but charges for rides. Centreville Amusement Park (Q5062718) on Wikidata Centreville Amusement Park on Wikipedia
    • 6 Antique Carousel (N/W corner of Centreville). The 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.
  • 7 Franklin Children's Gardens (North of the intersection of Lakeshore Ave and The Mall). A 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.

  • 8 Toronto Island Bicycle Rental, Lakeshore Ave, Centre Island (south of the Centre Island Ferry Docks), +1 416-203-0009. Traditional bicycles are $8 for the first hour, they also offer two and four seat options. Open only during the summer months. Cash only.
  • Toronto Island Garden Tour, Ward's Island (At the gazebo next to the Ward's Island Ferry Docks). This 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. Adults $10, Seniors $8, Children $2.

  • 9 Toronto Island Tram Tours, Avenue of the Island (departs regularly from the south side of the Manitou Island Bridge). Daily in summer, week-ends in late spring/early fall, from noon to 6 or 7PM. 35-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. Adult $9, senior/student $6.50, child $5.
  • 10 William Meany Maze, Avenue of the Island (West of Avenue of the Island, south of bridge from Centreville). 8AM–11PM. Revived by the namesake, Mississauga businessman William Meany. Meany had 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.



Despite the presence of the island community, there are no shopping opportunities on the Toronto Islands.


  • 1 Carousel Café, Centreville Theme Park (south side of Centreville just east of a bridge), +1 416-203-0405. Closed in winter. Patio restaurant by a water channel. Licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.
  • 2 The Riviera ~ Ward's Island Kitchen (formerly: Rectory Cafe), 102 Lakeshore Ave (Ward's Island), +1 416-203-2152. M-Th noon-8PM, F-Su, noon-9PM (hours vary during shoulder season holidays; closed in late December and early January). Lovely place to eat outside in the summer time. Licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.
  • 3 Pizza Pizza (A few steps west of Centre Island Ferry Docks). May–September. On weekdays in early May, this pizza kiosk may be the only eatery open between the Centre Island and Hanlan's Point ferry docks.
  • 4 Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Co., 17 Avenue of the Island (south of the amusement park in Centreville), +1 416-234-2345. Closed in winter. Waterfront eatery offers BBQ, burgers & brews, plus a patio & city views. Licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.



Water fountains are available throughout the islands, typically along Lakeshore Avenue and near the ferry docks. They can be some distance away from the beaches; remember to pack a refillable bottle. Besides restaurants in Centreville and at Ward's Island, here are patios licensed to serve alcoholic beverages.

  • 1 The Beach House (SE corner of Avenue of the Island & Lakeshore Ave). Summer only. Patio offering alcoholic beverages.
  • 2 Hanlan's (Next to Hanlan's Point ferry dock). Summer only. Patio offering alcoholic beverages.
  • 3 The Mermaid Cafe, Lakeshore Avenue (about 800 metres south of Hanlan`s Point fery dock). summer only. Patio offering alcoholic beverages.


  • Some residents of the Toronto Island Community offer "Bed and Breakfast" accommodation; expect to pay around $150-$250 per night.



There are three winter washrooms open to the public year-round:

  • 6 Ward's Island Washrooms, Lakeshore Ave (about 300 metres east of Ward's Island ferry dock).
  • 7 Center Island Winter Washrooms, 1 The Mall (400 metres N/W of Centre Island Pier).
  • 8 Hanlons Point Ferry Unisex W/C, 760 Lakeshore Ave (near Hanlan's Point ferry docks).

Other public washrooms are closed during winter. More washrooms are open in the warmer months especially in summer.



There is no post office outlet and probably no establishments offering free WiFi on the islands. It's best that you wait until you are back on the mainland to "connect".

This district travel guide to Islands is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.