The Best Activities You Can Enjoy on the Toronto Islands
Looking for a unique adventure while visiting Toronto? Leave the city behind and enjoy a day trip to the Toronto Islands. Just a short ferry ride south of the city, the Toronto Islands is a cluster of 15 islands that are connected via walking paths and bridges. Here are some of the best activities to enjoy during a visit to the Toronto Islands.
Toronto islands ferry boat: photo by The city of toronto
Pedal the Islands
There’s no better way to explore the Toronto Islands than by bike. To get an early start, book an IHG hotel on the mainland near the ferry terminal, and catch the first boat to the islands. A quick walk from the ferry terminal will bring you to Toronto Island Bicycle Rental, where you can find rental bikes for the entire family. In business since 1984, Toronto Island Bicycle Rental will get you set up with bikes, helmets, and a map of the islands. Cruise to the Carousel Cafe, the beach, the marina, and anywhere else you’d like to explore. Be sure to bring your identification, and note that while the quad bikes may be a bit more exciting option, they aren’t allowed on any bridges.
Get Lost in the William Meany Maze
The William Meany Maze, constructed with over 1,200 black cedar trees, is the perfect stop for an hour or two of fun. The Toronto Islands used to have a similar maze that was shut down after 44 years in operation because the city didn’t have the funds to maintain it. William Meany, a businessman who enjoyed the maze as a child, donated $200,000 to construct a new one. The William Meany Maze, which opened in 2015, is a labyrinth full of confusing turns, dead ends, optical illusions, and just one escape.
Learn to SUP
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a popular activity on the Toronto Islands. A stand-up paddleboard is a bit thicker and wider than a sufboard, which helps with stability while standing or kneeling on the open water. Stop by Toronto Island SUP for all your SUP needs, including rental boards by the hour. Those new to the sport may want to take a lesson from a skilled instructor, which are offered every day except Monday. The company also offers specialty tours such as SUP yoga, night adventures, kids’ classes, and SUP & Sing classes with ukuleles provided.
Hunt for Ghosts at Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse on the Great Lakes and one of the oldest structures in Toronto. Located on the western tip of the Toronto Islands, the lighthouse is supposedly haunted by the ghost of its first keeper, J.P. Rademuller. The story goes that Rademuller, a clandestine bootlegger, refused to supply a small group of soldiers from nearby Fort York with the alcohol they desired. Things got violent, and Rademuller was never seen again. Modern-day visitors report hearing mysterious sounds along with seeing Rademuller’s ghost.
The Toronto Islands are a world away from the city, yet close enough for a quick visit. Bring your sense of adventure, and explore these unique islands this summer.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse: photo by Dennis JArvis