It’s finally here, the day the Toronto Islands reopen.
After a summer of torrential downpours and major flooding, the city’s favourite local getaway is opening to the public today.
And as Mayor John Tory makes his way to the Island on the first ferry out this morning, the City of Toronto has some pointers for visitors planning to make the trip this summer.
All aboard the first ferry to Centre Island! Met tourists visiting Toronto from Northern Ireland. pic.twitter.com/R8BJBehbwx
— John Tory (@JohnTory) July 31, 2017
Besides the ferries running on schedule, all the summer camps and City programs are back on.
According to the City, the peak period for lineups at the terminal is between 10 am to 2 pm. Arrive outside of those hours to avoid big crowds.
While some portions of the beaches will be in reduced state, all Island beaches are now open. Lifeguards will be on duty from 11:30 am to 6 pm, and a reminder than a portion of Hanlan’s Point is clothing optional.
The City says that some areas of Toronto Island Park, such as Olympic Island, are still experiencing flooding impacts and remain closed. Signs clearly indicate areas that are closed and members of the public are cautioned to avoid restricted areas for their own safety.
All businesses are resuming normal operations, including Centreville Theme Park. There’s also the Franklin Children’s Garden, William Meany Maze, canoe, kayak and pedal boat rentals from The Boat House, wading pools, splash pads, fishing, bicycle rentals and more. The park also features restaurants, cafés and tons of picnic spots. So many options!
With over 1.46 million visitors to the park last year, there is no doubt many have been anxiously awaiting the reopening of the island. Warm weekends typically see over 20,000 people a day, so plan accordingly.
As the City had to cancel all events on the Island earlier this summer, events will begin to resume slowly. Permits are reviewed case-by-case, and if an event couldn’t be rescheduled or relocated, the City will be issuing refunds.
Here’s an interesting fact. According to the City, the cluster of seven islands referred to as Toronto Island Park were not always islands. “They were originally a series of continuously moving sandbars and eroded stone from the Scarborough Bluffs that were carried westward by Lake Ontario currents,” states the City.
“By the early 1800s, the longest of these bars extended nearly nine kilometres southwest 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. The largest of these formations was connected to the city’s mainland until 1858 when a storm completely separated the peninsula from the mainland and the gap was not repaired.”
Be safe out there. Use sunscreen, and bug repellent since West Nile Virus was found on the Island this year.
And finally, to help you get around, check out the City’s illustrated map before your next visit.