Toronto Islands

Having had a couple of days in Toronto already, I’d been recommended countless times to go and see Toronto Islands. Since moving to the GTA, Jordan hadn’t actually had a chance to go out and explore them either, so we set off bright and early on a particularly sunny and lovely day in the city.

It’s super easy to get over there – simply head to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal on the waterfront and $7.50 and 10 minutes later (if you’re lucky and there’s a boat waiting), you’ll soon be on the islands. You can choose from three islands – Centre, Ward, or Hanlan’s Point, although helpfully each can be walked to from the others. We picked Centre Island with a view to exploring the others.

Toronto skyline from the ferry

Of course, that skyline is a huge drawer for tourists like me!

Toronto skyline from the ferry

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Centre Island is pretty and feels quite European once you push past the commercial chain of Subway once you land! There’s even a small bridge that looks rather like that in Monet’s famous garden, a river, and plenty of parkland.

Mist over Lake Ontario
Misty views over Lake Ontario

We set off in search of lunch, prepared to get in our steps that day. We took a long boardwalk that offered sprawling views across Lake Ontario – with the mist that day, it was hard to believe it was just a lake and not actually the ocean.

Enjoying the views across Lake Ontario

A boardwalk on Toronto Islands along Lake Ontario

We stumbled across The Rectory Cafe, surrounded by cute flowerbeds and stopped to refuel on pulled chicken sandwiches and chips.

Pulled chicken sandwiches at The Rectory, Toronto Islands

Having settled up, we agreed it was time to walk off those calories so slapped on some sunscreen and set off along the waterfront of Ward Island. It really does boast the most incredible views of the city, and it’s amazing to think some people live there and enjoy them every single day.

Skyline views across Toronto from the Island

Taking in the views across the Toronto skyline
Enjoying those views!

Turning the corner, we found another adorable cafe. This one had rows of colourful tulips, an allotment, and an island vibe – appropriate then, I guess, that it was aptly called the Island Cafe. We grabbed a quick iced coffee to go, and I vowed I’d be back there for food – watch this space shortly!

The Island Cafe, Toronto Islands

Heading to the north of the islands are the beaches, and it was a scorching hot day so we were both pretty grateful to paddle in the – albeit icy cold – lake.

Padding on the beaches of Toronto Islands

Making feathered friends at the beach

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After a little cooling off in the shade, we decided to head back to the city in search of a cool (and slightly stronger) drink or two.

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I wanted somewhere with a view of the skyline, so let me introduce you to the Thompson with its rooftop bar offering some of the most magnificent views across the city.

Toronto city views from Thompson rooftop bar

Yes, it even has a pool for those looking for a dip with their cocktail. It’s very cool and chic, and a proud meeting spot for suits in search of a drink after work.

Rooftop pool at the Thompson, Toronto

Getting a little peckish, we went to explore the bars of the hipster street of King Street West, which quite frankly puts Vancouver to shame when it comes to unique bars and restaurants, and well, street art.

Street art on King Street West

Digging some tapas, we popped to Patria, a new Spanish joint boasting the title of one of Toronto’s top 10 newest restaurants. Firstly, of course, we opted for our second sangria of the evening and a few dishes. Everything was delicious and the staff are super friendly too – I’d urge anyone seeking a bite to eat in the Toronto area to pop along!

Sangria at Patria, Toronto

Heading home shortly after following a long yet brilliant day of exploring, I soon found myself back on the Toronto Islands a few days later – this time with different company! One of my oldest friends, Becky, and Vanessa were visiting Toronto so we made sure our trips coincided. In search for a day of sun, I headed back to the Islands with them.

Sunny views of the CN Tower

Fairmont Royal York, Toronto

We found different viewpoints, met other tourists, snapped pictures, and went back to the Island Cafe for food.

A different perspective of the Toronto skyline

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We grabbed cool glasses of Sauvignon Blanc, quesadillas, fish and chips, and of course – dessert.

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Ice cream from Island Cafe, Toronto Islands
The biggest portion of strawberry ice cream you ever did see!

We ended it all with this wonderful view.

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The Toronto Islands are a wonderful retreat from the craziness and beeping horns of downtown Toronto, and somewhere I’d highly recommend visiting.

Have you been? What did you get up to on the Islands?


 

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