Summer is in full gear, and instead of spending your days off melting in the city, hop across the harbour to Toronto’s unique and scenic islands. Go for a bike ride, take a dunk in the lake, and enjoy the most incredible views of the city. Here is a list of things to do on the Toronto islands this summer.
Check out a music festival
You’ve got a couple options for Toronto Island music festivals: Camp Wavelength (August 19-21) and Electric Island, a music series held on multiple weekends throughout the summer. Relive your summer camp days at Camp Wavelength, Toronto’s only camping festival. They’ve JUST announced this year’s lineup, featuring Cloud Nothings, Operators, Young Galaxy, and more. More details here.
Bike the islands
If you’re looking for some exercise with great views and sunshine, explore the Toronto islands on a bike. Since the islands are all connected, a bike ride could easily turn into a day trip—just pack a lunch and bring it along. Bikes can be rented on Toronto Island or brought over via the ferry. If that’s not quite your speed, opt for a quadricycle. Straight chillin’.
Go for a paddle
If you’re really feeling adventurous, try taking a canoe to Toronto Island instead of the ferry. A canoe trip can be as long as you want it to be, especially if you pack some grub for the ride. It’s also a great excuse to get some sun. If you’re not interested in passing on the ferry, there are spots to rent canoes, kayaks, and paddle boats on Toronto Island. Go for a ride to get a unique view of the shores—just be sure to pack lots of water!
Get lost in the Maze
After Toronto Island’s original maze was shutdown, William Meaney missed the maze so much that he donated $200,000 to build a new one. The new maze opened on the island in the spring of 2015. Since then, the trees that harbour the maze’s path have been growing, making the labyrinth more and more magical as time passes.
Strip down at Hanlan’s Point
What better way to beat the heat than by getting naked. Hanlan’s Point Beach is a clothing optional public beach located on the west end of the islands. Half of the beach is nude and the other half is family friendly, so don’t feel like you need to wear your birthday suit to enjoy the sunny shores (unless you want to).
Be a kid again at Centreville
Who said Centreville is only for kids? Reconnect with your childhood by spending the day at Centreville. As for the theme park, leg-room on the rides might be limited, but Centreville has a super fun farm where you can pet all kinds of fuzzy animals. There’s also a ton of food and a nice view.
Get competitive on Ward’s Island
For a day full of activities, Ward’s Island offers a disc golf course, as well as lawn bowling, tennis, and beach volleyball. Located on the east side of Toronto Island, Ward’s Island is a place unlike anywhere else in Toronto. Its residents live in beautiful and quiet homes, and the entire island is vehicle-free, making it an awesome space for bike rides and long walks. Feel free to use the disc golf course and other spaces, just respect the island’s quiet nature.
Hop up on a paddle board
Toronto Island Standup Paddle boarding (TISUP) offers standup paddle boarding lessons, as well as rentals, paddle board sunset yoga, and eco-tours of the islands. For the best deals, it’s better to grab a group of friends and do a lesson—group lessons last up to 75 minutes, leaving plenty of room for a day of paddle boarding.
Keep Calm and have a BBQ
Summer means lots of BBQ-ing. The best island picnic sites are on Toronto Island, Olympic Island, and Hanlan’s Point, and a bunch of picnic sites offer public BBQs (you just need to bring your own charcoal). This is a great option for a chill day (or evening) at the beach—just remember to put those fires out when you’re done!
Go for a mini-vacay
For something that lasts a little longer than a day, treat yourself to a stay at one of the B&Bs or accomodations that the islands have to offer! There are a ton of accommodations, from company-run to independent islanders. You’re also super close to the city, making a B&B on the Toronto islands the ideal quick getaway.
(Main image: anonneymouse1)