You can take a walk on the Toronto Islands in any season and gives it you a unique view of the city. Allow at least 3 hours for your walk.
Suggest Walking Route
Take the ferry to Ward’s Island. In winter this is the only ferry running but it makes a good starting point anyway as it is at the extreme east end. From the docks when you arrive turn left and walk up and down the various laneway.
It is a different style of living for the residents here in the quaint cottages packed close together and plenty of outdoor art. There is a public washroom near the park which is generally open year round.
Continue along the walkway on the south side of the island with a few cottages on one side and a public beach on the other. The Rectory, the only year round restaurant is here and features an outstanding outdoor patio.
I then generally head across the open space to Algonquin Island. Walk over the wooden bridge, past the stand where residents trade clothing and other items. The home here are a little larger but are still colourful When you get to the far side you have a unique view of Toronto. There are also a few houseboats parked on shore.
Head back across the bridge and straight to the boardwalk. This wooden walkway goes on for a few kilometers and provides excellent views of Lake Ontario and the Leslie Spit and lighthouse.
At the end of the boardwalk you soon come to the pier which juts out into Lake Ontario. Nearby is the bicycle rental stand which provides another way to explore the islands.
You are now on Centre Island with some gardens and ponds in front of you. To the left are heated public washrooms, open all year. In summer there are a few restaurants open.
I head over to Far Enough Farm which is open all year. In winter the donkeys, goats and retired police horses welcome visitors as it is quieter. Also in winter when the keeper is around they sometimes let the horses out so take care as they can get into open backpack Next door is the seasonal Centreville Amusement park for kids.
For winter walks I now turn around as only the Ward’s Island ferry operates and it is a bit of a walk back. If it is cold enough the local residents skate along the canals, actually it seems the entire community turns out.
In summer head out to the west end of the island. There is a garden just behind the washrooms worth a visit. The lighthouse was originally a little closer to the shore and guarded by soldiers. There are rumours of a ghost as one of the soldiers died nearby.
Continue walking past the beaches (one is clothing optional) to Hanlan’s Point to catch the ferry back.
Getting to the Toronto Islands
The ferries depart from the Jack Layton docks at the foot of Bay Street. Ferry schedules vary depending on the time of year. In colder weather there is a warming room while you wait. Map of Toronto Islands.
A walk on the Toronto Islands offers a easy way to explore this interesting part of the Toronto.