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TORONTO ISLAND PARK The Toronto Islands were not always islands but actually a series of continuously moving sand-bars. Eroded stone of the Scarborough Bluffs was carried westward by Lake Ontario currents to create the islands. By the early 1800's the longest of these bars extended nearly 9 kilometres south-west from Woodbine Avenue, through Ashbridge's Bay and the marshes of the lower Don River, forming a natural harbour between the lake and the mainland. Visitors to the Toronto Islands have enjoyed their lakeside charm for centuries. Although the peninsula and surrounding sand-bars were first surveyed in 1792 by Lieutenant Bouchette of the British Navy, they were wellknown by native people. Aboriginal lore described them as a place of leisure and relaxation. Many aboriginal encampments were located between the peninsula's base and the Don River. The sand-bars were also important to birds and other wildlife. During migration periods vast numbers of birds frequently stopped at the sand-bars and marshlands of the Don River and Ashbridge's Bay. In 1850, the young engineer Sanford Fleming studied the sand-bar movement and calculated that twelve hectares of area had been added to the western section of the sand-bars over the previous fifty years. In 1858, an island was created when a storm completely separated the peninsula from the mainland. Dredging projects have since been undertaken to stabilize shorelines, reduce sand-bar movement, create deeper boating channels and raise land levels. On January 1, 1956, the City of Toronto transferred the islands to Metro Toronto to be developed as a regional park. Over 1,225,000 people visit this 230.388 hectare park each year.

TORONTO ISLAND FERRY AND PUBLIC TRANSIT SERVICE The Toronto Island Ferry service docks at Hanlan's Point, Centre Island and Ward's Island. The Mainland Ferry Terminal, located at the Bay Street and Queen's Quay West intersection, is ten minutes walk from Union Station. Public transit to the terminal includes the Bay 6 bus and the Harbourfront L.R.T. Abundant user-pay parking can be found nearby. Bicycles may be taken on the ferry, although some restrictions apply during peak periods.


Centre Island is located between Hanlan's Point and Ward's Island. Two distinctive bridges were built in the early 20th century to accommodate increased traffic as the Centre Island Ferry became more popular. The Manitou Road bridge (1912) replaced an old wooden bridge and the Olympic Island bridge (1914) was built to link Olympic Island with Island Park. Ward's Island, actually the east section of the old peninsula, was named after the Ward family who first settled here about 1830. The family built the lanmark Ward's Hotel in 1882. The hotel, in addition to Wiman's Baths, built in 1881, created a pleasant resort that attracted many visitors. On January 1, 1956, Metro received the Toronto Islands from the City of Toronto for development as a regional park. Many projects were undertaken by Metro Parks and Culture including fully accessible washrooms, a public marina, an amusement area and petting zoo, and the establishment of naturalized areas and wildlife reserves.


Pedestrian/ Bicycle Pathway:

• 1.11 kilometres from Island Filtration Plant to boardwalk • 1.68 kilometres from boardwalk to Ward's Island Ferry Dock • 0.76 kilometres from Centre Island Ferry Dock to Lookout Pier

Park Facilities:

• 2 fully accessible washrooms • 2 fully accessible washroom-change rooms • 1 washroom and 1 washroom-change room • 18 drinking fountains • 10 water taps • 21 picnic areas with 6 fire pits • 2 First Aid stations

Ward's Island • 4 drinking fountains • 2 water taps

TORONTO ISLAND FERRY: The Toronto Island Ferry is an enjoyable, 20 minute trip across the harbour to the Islands. A cash fare is collected at the Mainland Ferry Terminal for a return trip. Rates as of January 1, 1996 are as follows: Adults . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $6.00 Juniors (under 14) . . . . . . . $2.50

Students/Seniors (under 19/ over 65) . . . . . . . . $3.50 Children (under 2) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . FREE

Ferry Schedule Information 416-392-8193 Special group rates and advanced ferry tickets are available (certain conditions apply) -- phone 392-8194 for details. Please present a certified cheque or money order payable to "The City of Toronto" for the exact amount – NO DEBIT, CASH ONLY. Unused tickets may be returned for a refund provided they are numbered consecutively and not torn apart.


Main Park Type: island picnic park


• 4 snack bars (seasonal operation) • Carousel Cafe and Island Paradise Restaurant, licensed (416-363-0496) • bicycle rental (416-203-0009) • boat rental (416-397-BOAT) • Centreville Amusement Area and Far Enough Farm • Toronto Island Marina • serviced public boat moorings (48-hour limit) • Historic Tram Tour (June-September) • 1 wading pool • 2 splash pads • Allan A. Lamport Regatta Course on Long Pond • The Island Church (non-denominational) • Avenue of the Islands Gardens • Franklin Children's Garden • Royal Canadian Yacht Club (private) • public phones on Centre and Ward's Island • frisbee golf course • Toronto Island Recreation Ropes Challenge Course • Toronto Island Natural Science School

Ward's Island • Queen City Yacht Club (private) • Ward's Island Beach (with washroom) and playground

Four-wheeled freight wagons (approx. 5' x 2½' x 3') can be rented at the Mainland Ferry Docks on a first-come, first-served basis for a $10.00 fee plus a $20.00 refundable deposit. Deposits will be refunded provided the wagon is returned within the same day.

PICNIC AND BON FIRE PIT PERMITS (416-392-8188): A $53.50 non-refundable picnic permit is required for groups larger than 25 persons, or groups of any size wishing to use the fire pits. Wood is often provided free of charge (while quantities last) with a fire pit reservation.

SCHOOL GROUPS AND CATERING: Advance food arrangements may be made for school groups via Centre Island Food Services. Food can be picked up at any concession stand or restaurant. Please phone 416-203-0245 for details. Catering arrangements for group picnics may also be made in advance with the Toronto Island Park concessionaire – no outside caterers are permitted. For more catering information, visit

GAS BARBEQUES: Propane or gas B.B.Q.'s are not permitted on the Ferry Boats for safety reasons. We recommend that you bring along a small portable charcoal operated hibachi B.B.Q., just in case one of our B.B.Q. stands is unavailable for your use.

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: Centre Island Food Services hold the exclusive rights to “special occasion permits” on Toronto Islands. For further information, please call 416-203-0405.

TORONTO ISLAND RECREATION (T.I.R.): T.I.R. offers a variety of recreation opportunities such as walking tours, day and overnight camps, fishing, junior farmer, gardening, leadership and team building programs. Please call 416-392-8192 for more information.


The Hanlan family was among the first year-round inhabitants on Toronto Island, settling at Gibraltar Point in 1862. After the islands were transferred to the City of Toronto in 1867, the land was divided into lots and allowed cottages, amusement areas and resort hotels to be built. In 1878, a hotel was built by John Hanlan at the northwest tip of the island and soon after the area became known as Hanlan's Point. Edward "Ned" Hanlan earned international recognition as a rower and held numerous world records. In 1894, an ambitious lakefill project added space for an amusement park. A baseball stadium, built in 1909 and destroyed by fire one year later, was rebuilt to hold 10,000 spectators. Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run here. The role of Hanlan's Point as a centre of recreation declined after the 1930's when the stadium was closed and the Maple Leaf baseball team moved to a new facility at the foot of Bathurst Street. The amusement park was demolished and in 1937 Toronto Island Airport was constructed.

PARK CHARACTERISTICS Main Park Type: island picnic park Pedestrian/ Bicycle Pathway: 2.48 kilometres from Hanlan's Point Ferry Dock to the Island Filtration Plant

Park Facilities:

• 3 fully accessible washrooms • 1 washroom-changeroom • 8 drinking fountains • 11 water taps • 13 picnic areas with 4 fire pits • First Aid station

Special Features:

• 2 snack bars (seasonal operation) • Toronto Island Natural Science School • historic Gibraltar Point Lighthouse • serviced public boat moorings (48-hour limit) • 6 illuminated tennis courts • 2 softball diamonds • 2 supervised beaches – 1 public beach and 1 clothing optional beach (July and August) • Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts (Artscape 416-392-7834) • Island Yacht Club on Mugg's Island (private) • public phones

TCI Map  


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