A family looks at the view of the Toronto skyline from Centre Island in summer

In the Spotlight: Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands are comprised of 15 small islands in Lake Ontario, right off of the mainland. These scenic and nature-dense islands are a shining example of the city of Toronto’s values in spending time outdoors and appreciating all that this beautiful region has to offer. Just a short ferry ride from the city of Toronto, and all connected by boardwalks and walking trails, the Toronto Islands are the perfect place to spend a day with the family, someone special, or on your own. Check out these awesome attractions on Toronto Islands.

Things to see on Toronto Islands

Start off your day with an exciting ferry ride from downtown Toronto to the shores of Centre Island. This scenic ferry ride is short and sweet, giving you plenty to see without enough time for any seasickness to settle in. If you’re flying into the city airport, you can simply stay on the island or take the quick ferry back to the mainland.

With beaches, amusement parks, shops and food to try, you won’t run out of things to explore on the Toronto Islands. On Centre Island—the most populous and largest of the Toronto Islands—you’ll find plenty of attractions to keep you and your loved ones entertained. Take a stroll around the island’s marinas and discover Russian Beach, a local’s favourite place for a summertime campfire. You can find a quiet place to sit and watch boats moor at the Island Marina, or grab a seat at the Upper Deck and enjoy a drink with a view.

On the other end of Centre Island, kid-friendly activities abound. The Centreville Amusement Park is designed specifically with little ones in mind, with plenty of rides, games and attractions for your kids to enjoy. Pet the farm animals or try your hand at a carnival game at this charming local amusement park. Toward the city, the boardwalk crosses over to Toronto Island Park where you’ll find plenty of space to spread out and appreciate the city skyline. 

Toward Lake Ontario, the Toronto Island Tram Tour will take you all around the islands with the best views available, and without any of the heat or stress of walking. If you prefer to stay on foot, don’t miss out on Avenue of the Island, where the trails showcase all Centre Island has to offer. Nearby, rent a bike from Toronto Island Bicycle Rental or knock off your shoes and take a stroll on Centre Island Beach. Just by the beach, the Lakeshore Splash Pad offers the perfect place to cool your kids down on a hot day. Over at the Franklin Children’s Garden a few minutes away, walk in the meditative garden inspired by everyone’s favourite TV turtle.

Centre Island is home to several beaches of varying busyness. Check out Gibraltar Beach to avoid the crowds a bit, and don’t miss out on Artscape Gibraltar Point nearby, where you can see local artists’ work on display. The historic Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is also worth a visit, just a few minutes’ walk from the beach. Further down the Centre Island shoreline, Hanlan’s Point Beach offers a clothing-optional section for adventurous visitors.

As you adventure in the opposite direction, you’ll discover Ward’s Island—technically connected to Centre Island—where you can find even more beaches and trails. These walking trails connect more of the Toronto Islands, with plenty of nature to explore on each and every one. Keep in mind that you’ll have to head back toward Centre Island for most of your food and shopping options, so plan accordingly.

Places to eat on Toronto Islands

Although Toronto Islands are small, there’s no shortage of delicious things to eat, always paired with an incredible view. 

Island Cafe on Ward’s Island

Right in the centre of Ward’s Island, this cozy café will give you all the island vibes. Designed like an off-season surf shack, this sweet eatery has outdoor seating, live music and trivia nights to entertain Centre Island residents and visitors. Don’t miss out on the tasty seafood specials.

The Riviera on Ward’s Island

With shaded outdoor seating and a menu filled with classics, The Riviera on Ward’s Island is a Toronto Islands staple. The Riviera offers vegan and vegetarian options, but they’re really known for their inventive and colourful salads. Don’t miss out!

The Island Greek Grill on Centre Island

Located minutes from Avenue of the Island, this Greek restaurant is an easy place to stop on your jaunt about Toronto Islands. It’s just a few minutes away from the Centre Island Pier, so you’re guaranteed stellar views while you munch on tasty Greek food in a shaded outdoor seating area.

Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Company

Right by the ferry landing, Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Company is the perfect place to stop if you’re craving something right after your ferry across the water. Classic brewpub fare like burgers and barbecue are available to pair with your favourite beers—not to mention the stunning skyline view you get from the outdoor seating area.

Fun facts about Toronto Islands

  • There are 15 islands in Toronto Islands
  • Toronto Islands are the only cluster of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario
  • There are no cars allowed on Toronto Islands
  • Toronto Islands is the largest urban car-free community on the continent
  • There is a disc golf course on Ward’s Island
  • The proper Indigenous name for Toronto Islands is Mnisiing
  • The Toronto Islands are sacred land for the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation
  • There are sandbars between the Toronto Islands
Toronto-Island
Don't forget to check out the Toronto skyline from the ferry to the Toronto Islands

How to get to and around Toronto Islands

The only way to get to Toronto Islands is by ferry, but once you’re there, you can choose from watercraft, bikes or walking on your own two feet.

By ferry: The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal is located at Bay Street on Queens Quay. There are ferries that can take you to Hanlan’s Point, Centre Island and Ward’s Island. The Centre Island ferry will land you in the most central area.

By bike: You can explore the islands by bike once you’ve landed. Bikes are available for rental at several locations around the city or you can bring your own. Make sure to check with your ferry service before bringing a bike on board.

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