We’ve spent a fair bit of time in Toronto now. It’s actually one of our favorite stops on our non stop adventure, that we’ve been drawn back on several occasions. Everything is fairly accessible. Everyone is super nice. There’s lots of places to eat. It really is a great place to live (even if it’s stupidly cold in the winter). One question we get from people while we are here is “What is your favorite thing to do?”, and we always say Toronto Island. It really is fun and the best thing is that it’s cheap and easily accessible.
For starters Toronto Island is located just a 15 minute boat ride from Toronto city. You are so close to the hustle and bustle of the city, yet it’s like a sanctuary. You hear birds chirping and waves crashing and no traffic what so ever. It really is hard to believe how close you are to a huge city.
You can get there a number of ways. The best way is to use the ferry from Mainlands Ferry Docks. It costs only $7.50 per adult and $5 per child (includes return). During most of the year, you can choose from a few different landing points on the island. Here is a map to show you where (map is from toronto.ca).
We recommend going to Center Island Ferry Dock if you can (though it isn’t in use in the winter) as it puts you right in the middle of the action. Once you are there, just go for a stroll. Maybe even bring your own bike and enjoy the many bike paths meandering through the island. Last time we were there, we had my parents visiting. So, we just wandered around, sat under the tree and soaked in the Toronto summer. You can easily lose half a day wandering these gorgeous grounds. It’s also dog friendly, which is great, as we took our Mitzu with us.
One of the best things you can do while you are there is to watch the sunset. You get a great view as it sets over Lake Ontario. Then, once that show is over cast your eyes northwards and see the stunning city skyline. Because the island is so close to the mainland the skyline looks amazing once the sun is down and all the lights are on. Unfortunately the last time we were there we only visited during the day, so you’ll have to put up with a day time city skyline photo. It’s still pretty spectacular.
There are plenty of other things to do on the island other than wander aimlessly through the green landscape. There are several stops to eat (we recommend the Island Cafe). There is also an amusement park and small farm for the children (and the young at heart). Just be aware that there is a charge for the amusement park (though the farm is free). There’s also a few beaches you can enjoy. It’s no Turks and Caicos, but it’s still nice little spot to relax.
Undoubtedly the best (almost) free thing to do in Toronto is Toronto Island. You won’t be disappointed.