Toronto: an island walk

Our week in Toronto started in sub-zero temperatures and ended around 15°C! However, apart from some snow on the second day, we didn’t get wet and the first day was so bright and clear we thought it was ideal for a walk on the Toronto Islands. We started at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, named after a former city councillor and federal Member of Parliament whose memorial was just outside with the slogan “Jack’s got your back”.

After a short ferry ride, we got off on Ward’s Island. It and the other 13 islands which make up this small archipelago are joined by a series of bridges and make a very pleasant walk with the Toronto skyline on one side and Lake Ontario on the other. We started by watching the ferry make its way back.

Then we walked over Ward’s Island Beach and took the boardwalk along the Lake to Centre Island.

The islands are probably heaving in the summer – there are amusement parks for children and other attractions – but we saw more birds than people.

From the pier on Centre Island, we crossed over to the Toronto side with good views of the ubiquitous CN Tower.

On our way back to Ward’s Island, we came across the small church of St Andrews on the Lake (the islands are inhabited, so it’s a functioning church).

We then had a decision to make – it was lunchtime and our stomachs were rumbling. Get the ferry back and choose somewhere in the city, or take our chances with the only island café which was open? The delicious smells emanating from the Rectory Café made this a no-brainer – in fact, I would say that it would be worth getting the ferry over just to visit it, so good was our lunch.

Rectory Café, Ward's island
Rectory Café, Ward’s island
After lunch, we caught the ferry back and continued our walk along the Lakeshore. Now, I had looked at the price of going up the CN Tower before we left home and thought it was ridiculous – I’m not mean, but I felt it was too much to pay just to ride in an elevator. However, as the Tower got closer it looked so enticing and the skies were so clear that we knew we’d get great views – so in we went.

Once there, it seemed churlish not to pay the extra $12 to travel as far as we could to the SkyPod which, all in all, meant we left about $100 lighter than when we went in. Was it worth it?

Well, the views were good (bearing in mind that these were mostly taken through rather dirty glass) so I’m glad we did it – but I still think it’s a rip-off!

I’m linking this post to Jo’s Monday Walks – pop on over to see where she, and her other cyber-walkers, have been this week.


49 thoughts on “Toronto: an island walk

  1. TanGental April 25, 2016 / 10:42

    Looks great. We will have to go. We will save for the tower.


  2. joylovestravel April 25, 2016 / 12:00

    Gorgeous pictures, seemed like you picked a perfect time to visit without any crowds. The views from the tower are superb but I’m blown away at the cost!!


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 12:05

      I know! And yet there were families with several children there – it must have been extortionate for them. Only a minority took the trip right up to the top, but even so. I also found museums and art galleries expensive (the state ones, but then we’re used to the equivalent being free here).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. vannillarock April 25, 2016 / 12:40

    Lovely post!
    As you say that falls into the ripoff category.
    I always love cityscapes from a lakeside or river perspective and you have proven Toronto to be no exception.


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 13:11

      Thank you! We went to Toronto once before, about 20 years ago, and I don’t remember it being so outrageously priced then.


  4. claudiabookwright April 25, 2016 / 13:36

    Another wonderful trip. You take me to Toronto and send me to Google for maps and conversion charts (temps from Centigrade to Fahrenheit.) Love the pictures. Thank you for sharing.


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 14:32

      So happy to be educational! If you tell me a temperature in C or F I know what it should feel like but I can never manage to convert from one to the other without looking it up.


      • Birgit April 25, 2016 / 17:41

        We do celcius here and CM and KM 🙂


        • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 17:52

          We have a weird mixture. Some people are still wedded to the old imperial measures.


  5. restlessjo April 25, 2016 / 13:39

    It’s the only place with those views so I guess it’s like having a coffee in St. Mark’s Square (but VERY different 🙂 ). I suspect the Shard is not much cheaper. Or maybe Canadians are rich and it isn’t a lot to them. Thanks for sharing, Anabel. I do love the swans photo.


  6. Pit April 25, 2016 / 13:46

    So there’s a city where they rip you off even more than in London?! 😉 Amazing!
    But still, you seem to have had a great time there. Thanks for sharing the photos.
    Take care,


  7. Lynne Rickards April 25, 2016 / 14:15

    I had two days in Toronto last July with my teenage son and we contemplated the Tower too, but looking at the huge queue standing in the baking sun we decided to keep walking. Very glad we did, too, as we wandered into the Elgin Theatre on Yonge Street just in time for an excellent tour!
    Hope there will be more on your Toronto adventure…


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 14:36

      We hardly had to wait – the advantage of off season. There will be several more posts – eventually!


  8. Suzanne et Pierre April 25, 2016 / 15:11

    Lovely pictures. The Islands were a favourite with us when we lived in Toronto; we would go at all seasons to have a wander. It was the closest to go to feel you were away from the city in nature as Toronto is so spread-out that it can takes hours to get to some form of nature.

    As for the Tower, I think it got more expensive as the years went by. It is a nice view if the weather is nice but really I don’t think it is worth it. We went up a few times when we had visitors but always felt that they are charging too much money for it…One of those things tourists feel they have to do but truly there are a lot of other things that you can do in Toronto for that kind of money that is way more fun. (Suzanne)


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 15:53

      Exactly – I’m glad we did it, but I wouldn’t bother again. If we hadn’t been nearby on a beautiful day we’d have passed on the experience.


  9. Jackie April 25, 2016 / 15:27

    I wish I had known you were here, we could have met up!!

    The price for the Tower is crazy, we usually take people to lunch there so at least we are not paying the Tower entrance fee.

    Love the Islands and the Rectory Cafe, we live here and only went there for the first time last summer.

    Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and I’m looking forward to more of your Toronto posts.


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 15:57

      Thanks Jackie! Another blogger said the same – I hadn’t realised I knew so many. We did meet up wth two Toronto bloggers (see previous post) so next time maybe we can have a blogging party!


  10. Birgit April 25, 2016 / 17:42

    It is a rip off! There is no reason for the CN tower to be that expensive. I haven’t been to the islands in years so I should go there this summer since I live an 1 1/2 hr away. The pictures are wonderful and love the swans


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 17:53

      Definitely! But we were very taken with the islands: well worth a visit.


      • Traveling Rockhopper April 25, 2016 / 22:32

        yeah, there are still a few 😉
        Maybe I mentioned it before, I left some of them in purpose, it just sounds to me easier to visit Canada one day with a baby, than e.g., India…

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Liesbet April 25, 2016 / 19:19

    What a nice walk, Anabel. The islands sound like the perfect destination for a walk with a (free) view – and a delicious lunch. The tower was crazy expensive, but they get you as a tourist, because you think it is now or never. $100 for a view is still better than a million dollars. 🙂 You make me antsy to go to Toronto and check it out, this summer. Unfortunately, there will be more people that birds then!

    Liesbet @ Roaming About – A Life Less Ordinary


    • Anabel Marsh April 25, 2016 / 19:34

      Yes, it was a lovely walk and a lovely lunch. You can probably skip the tower!


  12. Silvia Writes April 25, 2016 / 20:29

    What a beautiful place, Anabel. Sounds cold, but avoiding the summer crowds might be the way to go. Beautiful walk along the water, there, such nice images. So lucky to find a delicious place for lunch on top of everything else, though the tower sounds like a let down. However, the pictures from up above are very nice. Impressive, even.


  13. inesephoto April 26, 2016 / 00:03

    Lovely walk! The Bird Eye images are very impressive!


  14. Su Leslie April 26, 2016 / 01:18

    Lovely! I’m definitely with you on the “rip off” factor. That does seem a bit (I was going to say steep 😦 )


  15. lisadorenfest April 26, 2016 / 09:23

    I love the birds on Ward Island and the views from the CN Tower. I have this fear of heights and your photos made the arches of my feet tingle (which happens when my fear is triggered). The good thing is that I was enjoying the view from sea level and it was brilliant. Rip off, but I am glad that you treated us all to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anabel Marsh April 26, 2016 / 09:26

      Thanks Lisa! Another person I’ve saved from making the trek up – and potential impoverishment at the exorbitant cost….

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Jessica (Diverting Journeys) April 27, 2016 / 14:40

    You always seem to find the best statues! $100 for the CN Tower though?! Ouch! I seem to recall going to Toronto with my parents as a kid, and we didn’t go up the tower because my dad thought it was too expensive. Normally he was just being a cheapskate, but in that case, I think he had a point.


  17. Jemima Pett April 27, 2016 / 20:28

    I enjoyed Toronto, although I stayed with a friend I remember very little about my time there. I know I did go to the Tower and also to the Science Park. I was impressed with all the recycling and stuff they did then (1989), too. The rest is lost in the mists of travelling time.
    Jemima Pett


    • Anabel Marsh April 27, 2016 / 20:50

      Yes, they are still very good at recycling. We went once before, c1999, but I don’t remember much about that either.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Denzil May 2, 2016 / 10:09

    I’m feeling dizzy! Great shots though. Wouldn’t like to be up there in a strong wind.


  19. Heyjude May 2, 2016 / 13:57

    What a lovely walk on the islands, we would have liked to go over there but not enough time. We did walk around the lakeside though (longer than we thought) to Cherry Beach, Woodbine Beach and through Kew Garden to catch a tram back! I was very surprised by all the lovely beaches in Toronto.


  20. jazzfeathers May 23, 2016 / 08:07

    Hi Anabel. Will I ever be able to catch up after the AtoZ Challenge? I’m despairing. But here I am, anyway 🙂

    Loved this photos. I like the one with the swans so much.
    And the CN Tower… well… I suppose I would have done the same. I mean, if you hadn’t, you might have come back thinking, why the hell didn’t I go in, it’s just once in a lifetime. But it IS a rip-off.


    • Anabel Marsh May 23, 2016 / 08:40

      Hi, I can see your catch-up with all the flags popping up on my WordPress app! Yes, I don’t really regret it – it’s a rip-off but we did get great views and now I never need to do it again.

      Liked by 1 person

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