Toronto Islands Walking Tour, Toronto

Toronto Islands Walking Tour (Self Guided), Toronto

The Toronto Islands, otherwise simply known as “the Islands,” are a chain of islands in Lake Ontario, just off the coast of downtown Toronto. They include three major islands (namely: Centre Island, Algonquin or Sunfish Island, and Olympic Island) and several smaller ones. Collectively they are a great natural retreat set in a peaceful and joyful environment, which, apart from the panoramic view of Toronto, offer a serene escape from the city's hustle and bustle.

One of the main attractions on the Islands is the Centreville Amusement Park. It's like a mini-theme park with rides and games suitable for all ages, making it a popular spot for families looking for some fun. The park is located on Middle Island.

The Far Enough Farm is another charming place on Middle Island. It's a quaint petting zoo where you can interact with various farm animals like goats, ponies, and chickens – a truly delightful experience, especially for kids.

If you enjoy puzzles and mazes, the William Meany Maze on Centre Island, which is the largest of the Toronto Islands, is a must-visit. This challenging labyrinth can be both entertaining and perplexing as you try to find your way through its twists and turns.

Artscape Gibraltar Point is an artist retreat and residential center situated at the southern end of Centre Island, providing a space for artists to work and live in a picturesque natural setting. It fosters creativity and offers unique opportunities for artistic exploration.

The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, located nearby, is one of the oldest lighthouses in Canada. This is a historic site with a fascinating history, and you can learn about its maritime heritage when visiting.

For those looking to relax on the beach, Hanlan's Point Beach on the western side of the Islands is a beautiful spot with sandy shores and stunning views of the Toronto skyline – a perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun.

So, as you can see, the Toronto Islands cater to a wide range of interests – whether you're seeking adventure or tranquility. Whenever you're in Toronto, spare some time to embark on this self-guided walk and experience the magic of the Toronto Islands yourself!
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Toronto Islands Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Toronto Islands Walking Tour
Guide Location: Canada » Toronto (See other walking tours in Toronto)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.3 Km or 2.1 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Centreville Amusement Park
  • Far Enough Farm
  • William Meany Maze
  • Artscape Gibraltar Point
  • Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
  • Hanlan's Point Beach
Centreville Amusement Park

1) Centreville Amusement Park

If you need a break from touring museums, strolling by shopping complexes and admiring monuments, the Centerville Amusement Park is a perfect getaway. Not just an average amusement park, the Centerville offers some of the oldest rides in the book. A proud owner of a vintage carousel that dates back to 1907, antique cars and swan boats, the park manages to transport you back to the yesteryears.

Just a hop, skip and jump away from the Union Station, this is the most entertaining amusement park in Toronto, nestled on an island off the shore of the main city – a place that has something for everyone.

Built in 1967, the Centerville Amusement Park has been Toronto’s most popular family holiday spot ever since. Open from June to September, most of the city’s denizens have grown up spending some of their most memorable holidays here.

Although the park may not offer over the top, adrenaline-pumping thrills, it is still a good place to spend a perfect sunny day in Toronto. Spread over 600 acres, the Centerville boasts over 30 fun-filled rides for adults and children, along with an array of food outlets where you can eat your favorite meal.

Buy your ferry tickets online, together with ride passes & tickets to save time, once at the park (you will still have to go to the ticket booth to get your bracelet, though).
You can buy individual ticket packs or a family pass, which is a great value if you analyze the cost of the unrestricted rides the older kids can go on.
For little ones, it is better to purchase a pack of tickets, rather than a day pass, because they can only go on a few of the rides.
Bring a lunch, too, as there are great spots to have a picnic before you enter the amusement park.
Far Enough Farm

2) Far Enough Farm

Enjoyed by over 100,000 visitors each year, the Far Enough Farm in Toronto is a City-Parks-Department-managed attraction. This rural Ontario hobby farm, established in 1959, is located on Centre Island beside Centreville, and is a 30-minute walk from the Wards ferry docks. Open year around, the farm has a petting “zoo” with a variety of barnyard animals, like retired police horses, pheasants, pigs, chickens, rabbits, emus, peacocks, sheep, goats , etc.

This proves to serve as a great learning resource for children, with the outdoor classrooms enjoyed by many school kids. Here, they can learn about farm animals and agriculture. Donkey rides and pony rides are available for children in the summer months. The farm also hosts a Fall Fair where demonstrations, like goat milking, sheep shearing and wool spinning, are held. The admission to the farm is free.

At some point, the farm, along with Riverdale Farm and High Park Zoo, was threatened with closure on the proposal of the Toronto City Council. The ensued campaigns carried out to save the farm, combined with a page on Facebook called “Save Toronto Island’s Far Enough Farm”, clearly indicated that this farm is much loved and valued by visitors and the people of Ontario. Make sure to visit this place to see why.
William Meany Maze

3) William Meany Maze

If you want to get lost for a while and then wander, looking for the way out, dizzying yourself with joy which reignites something warm and fuzzy, then you might enjoy a walk through the William Meany Maze on Centre Island.

A storybook icon come to life, this maze was originally a gift to the city from its Dutch-Canadian community, and was created by Peter Vanderwerf, a landscape designer, in 1967. At some point, the maze fell into disrepair and was dismantled. It wasn't until the 2010s that it was brought back to life courtesy of the wealthy businessman, William Meany, originally from the neighboring city of Mississauga, who had a nostalgic affection for the maze that he had known and loved as a young boy, and who donated more than $200,000 towards its recreation after visiting the city in 2012.

Working with the City of Toronto, Meany donated all of the materials necessary to rebuild the maze. The construction started in May 2014 and was completed in September. The precious gift included more than 1,200 black cedars, forming the maze walls, planted approximately 50 meters northwest of the original labyrinth site.

There is something magical about the William Meany Maze that makes you feel like a kid again – and it is quite obvious why it meant so much to Meany. Restored in its original splendor, you can easily spend hours of fun here, totally disoriented, caught in dead ends, going in circles, and ultimately being fooled by optical illusions where what looks like a blank wall turns out to be the right path.

This Toronto Island Park gem is open to the public all year-round, free of charge. Make sure to discover it for yourself, and you won't regret it!
Artscape Gibraltar Point

4) Artscape Gibraltar Point

Just across from Gibraltar Point Lighthouse stands an old public school-turned-artists' getaway, known as Artscape Gibraltar Point. Here, thousands of people come to hone their artistic skills in the seclusion of residencies and studio spaces tucked away in the most serene setting.

A crucial Toronto art space, such as Artscape Gibraltar Point, came into being originally as the Island Public School. The oldest part of the building emerged in 1909, as a one-room schoolhouse. In 1998, following the construction of the new Island Public School, some 500 metres away to the east, the demolition of the old school building seemed imminent. However, inspired by the tranquility of the environment, the islanders opted to re-purpose the school as an arts centre. The idea took off when Artscape showed interest and offered their backing, thus enabling the islanders to save the building.

The place is open to the public for public-facing events, but to tour the facility, one has to make an appointment. The adjacent beach is open to the public, too. Among other attractions, Artscape Gibraltar Point boasts its own beautiful vegetable and flower garden.
Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

5) Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

The Lighthouse at Gibraltar Point is one of the oldest standing structures in Toronto. Built in 1808, the lighthouse was used as water’s edge, however, due to constant sedimentation of sand, the structure today stands relatively inland. Measuring as high as 82 feet above the ground, the massive presence of the lighthouse can be felt from quite a distance. Overpowering with a deep seated secret, that is what makes the Lighthouse at Gibraltar Point the most enthralling monument in Toronto.

The lighthouse served as a watchful servant of the shore, working tirelessly for over 150 years, till it finally retired in 1958. It was then transferred into the custody of the city’s Park Department, after which it has not operated as a lighthouse anymore. Locked ever since 1958, this historical landmark only opens occasionally for tourist visits.

With a hauntingly beautiful surrounding, solitary presence of the massive structure and the age old story associated with it, a visit to the lighthouse culminates as the perfect monument experience. The first keeper of it, J.P. Radan Muller, met a gruesome and tragic end at this lighthouse. Speculated to be a murder, the suspects were never charged and brought to justice, and till this day the incident stands as a mystery. Believed to have been buried somewhere near the lighthouse, the ghost of Muller still roams freely in the area, moaning and crying on cold misty nights. Eery...
Hanlan's Point Beach

6) Hanlan's Point Beach

If you're looking for a beach where you can enjoy sunbathing and relaxation for hours, Hanlan's Point Beach is the perfect destination. Located on Hanlan's Point in the Toronto Islands, near the city and along the shore of Lake Ontario, this public beach offers a fantastic experience.

In 2002, a specific section of the beach, stretching for a kilometer, was officially designated as "clothing optional" by the municipal authorities. This recognition legalized what had already been a traditional nude sunbathing spot for many decades. The initiative began in 1999 when the naturist organization and Councillor Kyle Rae proposed a one-year pilot project for a nude beach at Hanlan's Point, which was approved by the Toronto City Council. The success of the project led to its extension for an additional two years in 2000. Finally, in 2002, the clothing-optional beach became a permanent fixture.

The Toronto City Council's decision faced opposition from conservative councilors, but it ultimately prevailed. With its new official status, the beach has experienced a significant increase in ferry traffic and has become an attractive element for public and private advertising campaigns, drawing visitors to Toronto.

To maintain a friendly atmosphere, the police and park officials now collaborate with beach-goers. The beach season typically starts in late May and ends in late September, during which time swimming is allowed.

Walking Tours in Toronto, Canada

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

Create Your Own Walk in Toronto

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Toronto's Waterfront Walking Tour

Toronto's Waterfront Walking Tour

It is more than obvious that the locals of Toronto, as well as visitors, cherish and admire the alluring views of Lake Ontario on the shores of which the city is located. Toronto's waterfront is one of the most picturesque places for walking, but it is also a great destination for those in search of entertainment.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles
Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Historical Buildings Walking Tour

Once an Anglo backwater, today's Toronto is the cultural and economic hub of English-speaking Canada. The city's architectural beauty is supplemented by its historical richness, with some of the buildings dating back as far as the late 18th century. This self-guided tour invites you to explore the most prominent structures making up the historic heritage of Toronto.

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Toronto Introduction Walking Tour

Toronto Introduction Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
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Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Distillery District Walking Tour

Distillery District Walking Tour

Toronto's Distillery District is a trendy neighborhood and an architectural treasure dating back to 1859. Once the largest distillery in the British Empire, today this former industrial complex is a National Historic Site of Canada and a unique pocket of Victorian-era architecture, featuring the continent's best-preserved collection of cobblestone pathways and historic buildings housing...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.8 Km or 0.5 Miles

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