World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands from the CN Tower
View of Toronto from Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands (formerly known as Island of Hiawatha[1] and also known as Menecing, meaning "On the Island" in the First Nations Ojibwa language[2]) are a chain of small islands in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Comprising the only group of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands are located just offshore from the city centre, and provide shelter for Toronto Harbour. The islands are home to parkland, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, a small residential community, several boat clubs, an amusement park and several sand beaches. The island community is considered to be the largest urban car-free community in North America, although some service vehicles are permitted. Access to the Islands is by ferry, including the City of Toronto ferries operating from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the foot of Bay Street, or by water taxis.

The island is a popular recreation destination. Recreational bicyclists are accommodated on the ferries. There is a public bicycle sharing station operated by Bike Share Toronto at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and bicycles and quadracycles can be rented at Centre Island. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boats can also be rented on the island. A frisbee golf course exists on the island. The main beach is along the south shore and the beach on the west shore is clothing-optional. There is ample park land suitable for picnicking which is popular, several playgrounds and several gardens.


  • Description 1
    • Geography 1.1
    • Recreation 1.2
    • Community 1.3
    • Politics 1.4
    • Climate 1.5
    • Education 1.6
  • History 2
  • Transportation 3
    • Airport 3.1
    • Ferry services 3.2
    • Roads 3.3
  • Notable dates 4
  • Notable people 5
  • In popular culture 6
  • References 7
    • Notes 7.1
    • Bibliography 7.2
  • Further reading 8
  • External links 9



Map of the islands

The area of the islands is about 230 hectares (570 acres). The largest, outermost island, called Centre Island, is crescent-shaped and forms the shoreline of both the Eastern and Western Channels. Algonquin (Sunfish Island) and Olympic are two of the other major islands. The former is mostly a residential area and the latter home to the city's Island Public School and Island Natural Science School. What is commonly called Ward's Island is actually the eastern end of Centre Island and like Algonquin is a residential area. Confusingly, Centre Island Park is located on Middle Island, which is as a consequence often mistaken for Centre Island. Centre Island is sometimes referred to as Toronto Island (note the singular form) to prevent this type of confusion.[3] Other smaller islands include:

  • Forestry Island – heavily forested and no fixed link to other islands
  • Snake Island – partially forest and beach facing Toronto Harbour (Snake Island Park); access from pedestrian bridge on south side to Centre Island
  • South Chippewa Island – heavily forested and located between Snake Island and South Island
  • South Island – used for mooring and on-land storage of boats by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club; east end of island cut off at Chippewa Avenue and covered by trees; a tennis courts located on west end of island
  • RCYC Island – occupied by Royal Canadian Yacht Club with clubhouse, moorings and other club facilities; private pier for RCYC launches Kwasind and Hiawatha to mainland

Two unnamed islands occupy what was once Block House Bay:

  • a small island in Long Pond (the former water intake of the City of Toronto) – located across from Mugg's Island; small sandbar allows boats to moor alongside sometimes called Doughnut Island
  • small island in Lighthouse Pond sometimes called Hanlan's Island

The islands were originally a 9 km peninsula or sand spit extending from the mainland. The islands are composed of alluvial deposits from the erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs. The flow from the Niagara River to the south across Lake Ontario causes a counter-clockwise east-to-west current which has, over time, deposited sediments at the south end of the harbour to form a sand spit.

In 1852, a storm flooded sand pits on the peninsula, creating a channel east of Ward's.[4] The channel was widened and made permanent by a violent storm in 1858. The channel became known as the Eastern Gap.[3][5] The peninsula to the west became known as the Toronto Islands. To the east of the Gap, the area of today's Cherry Beach was known as "Fisherman's Island".

Sediment deposition was halted in the 1960s when the Leslie Street Spit was extended beyond the southern edge of the islands. Left to nature, the islands would diminish over time, but this is limited due to hard shore lines built to limit erosion. Over the years land reclamation has contributed to an increase in the size of the islands. The harbour was shallow with a sandy bottom and the sands were moved by dredging or suction methods. Ward's Island was expanded by dredging. Today's Algonquin Island, formerly known as Sunfish Island, was created from harbour bottom sands.

The area now occupied by the airport has been subject to several landfills over what was once sandy shoal, initially to accommodate the amusement park that preceded the airport, and then to accommodate the airport itself.[3][5] The Western Channel to the north of the airport is part of the original western channel, which was just south of today's Fort York. It was opened in 1911 as part of a program to improve boat navigation into the harbour. The airport lands were created from harbour sands in the late 1930s.

A series of waterways allow boat traffic to navigate the island:

  • Allan Lamport Regatta Course – located between Centre Island and Middle Island from Long Pond to east end of Far Enough Farm
  • Block House Bay – located on east side of Hanlan's Point
  • Lighthouse Pond – located next to Gibratar Point lighthouse
  • Long Pond – located between Allan Lamport Regatta Course and Block House Bay
  • Snake Pond – located between Snug Harbour and Algonquin Island
  • Snug Harbour – located between Snake Island and Olympic Island
  • Trout Pond – located west of Lighthouse Bay on the south end of Hanlan's Point

Hanlan Bay was a water way that has since been buried under the Toronto Island Airport runways.


Paddling among the Toronto Islands

The central area hosts Centreville, a children's amusement park which was built in 1967 with a 1900s-style turn-of-the-century theme. The park includes a miniature railway and antique carousel, and is open daily in summer. The Far Enough Farm is nearby and displays common farm livestock and birds.[5] The Franklin's Garden children's garden was created in the 2000s and is located to the west of the Avenue of the Islands. A splash pad and playground is also located nearby. On the western side of Ward's Island is a flying disc golf course.

There are several swimming beaches on the islands, including Centre Island Beach, Manitou Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach and Ward's Island Beach. Hanlan's Point Beach includes an officially recognized clothing optional section.[6][7]

Recreational boating has been popular on the islands for over a century. The Islands are home to four yacht clubs: Harbour City Yacht Club, Island Yacht Club, Queen City Yacht Club and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. There is a public marina, the Toronto Island Marina, and several smaller clubs including the Toronto Island Sailing Club, the Sunfish Cut Boat Club and the Toronto Island Canoe Club. There is also a dragon boat regatta course and grandstand, where the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is held annually.[5]

There are public tennis courts located at Hanlan's Point and a community tennis club at the Ward's Island Tennis Club

For many years the Caribana has held an annual arts festival at Olympic Island on the Simcoe Day weekend. Other Island events include the Olympic Island Festival, an annual rock concert initiated in 2004 by Sloan's Jay Ferguson. The Wakestock festival has also been held on the islands.

1975–1985 The Canadian Open Frisbee Championships, Olympic and Wards Island, introduced disc sports to Canadians.[8]


One of the houses on Algonquin Island

A community of about 300 homes still remains on the Toronto Islands, concentrated at the eastern end of the island chain on Ward's Island and Algonquin Island. Under the terms of the Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act there are strict rules under provincial law governing the buying and selling of these homes.[9][10]

A house on Wards Island

There are two daycare centres, one school and one church on the islands. The Toronto Island Public School (30 Centre Island Park), a public school located at Gibraltar Point, operates a day programme for island residents, residents of the Toronto waterfront and other students that can apply for enrollment, up to grade 6, a residential natural science programme for visiting grade 5/6 students from the mainland, and a pre-school nursery. The Waterfront Montessori Children's Centre (18 Wyandot Avenue), a non-profit, parent run co-operative pre-school nursery for children aged 2½ to 5, is located on Algonquin Island. St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church (102 Lakeshore Avenue) is an Anglican church located on Centre Island which serves the islands' residents and visitors.[11][12][13][14] The semi-Gothic/Medieval/Stick Style building was built in 1884.[15]

The Ward's Island residential community encompasses 12 acres (5 ha) of the entire 820-acre (330 ha) Toronto Island park. There are approximately 150 residences, most of which are occupied on a yearly basis and a centrally located Ward's Island Association club house which was built 1937-8. The layout of the streets remains as it has been since 1915 and the streets are named sequentially First, Second, Third, Forth, Fifth, Sixth Streets, as well as Bayview, Willow, Channel, Lenore and Lakeshore Avenues and Withrow Street.[16]

Artscape Gibraltar Point (formerly The Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts) occupies buildings previously used by the Toronto Island Public School, and comprises more than 15 artist work studios occupied by a mix of painters, ceramists, sculptors, musicians, theatre companies, and a recording studio. The centre provides a long and short-term studio and bedroom rental service for artists, together with meeting, conference and special event services and an artist residency program.[17]


The islands are part of Toronto Ward 28 Toronto Centre—Rosedale and represented by Pam McConnell. The area was once part of St. Andrew Ward and Metro Toronto Ward 20 Trinity-Niagara. The islands have been part of the provincial riding of Trinity—Spadina since 2007 and are represented by Liberal MPP Han Dong. From 1999 to 2007 the area was part of Toronto Centre—Rosedale, and from 1987 to 1999 it was part of Fort York. The islands have been part of the federal riding of Trinity—Spadina since 2004 and are represented by Liberal MP Adam Vaughan who was elected in the 2014 by-election following the resignation of NDP MP Olivia Chow to run for the mayoral office. From 1997 to 2004 the area was part of Toronto Centre—Rosedale, from 1966 to 1997 it was part of Rosedale, from 1933 to 1966 it was part of Spadina and from 1903 to 1933 it was part of Toronto South.


The climate differs from the mainland in that cooler lake waters surrounding the island cool spring, summer and early fall daytime temperatures by 2-3C, on average. In winter the unfrozen lake waters are sometimes warmer than the air, temperatures are roughly equivalent to the downtown area but warmer than areas further away from the lake. Fog and low-clouds are more frequent at the island on the mainland. Near shore areas of the lake only freeze after a consistent period of sub-freezing weather.
Climate data for Toronto Island Airport (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 12.8
Average high °C (°F) −0.8
Daily mean °C (°F) −4
Average low °C (°F) −7.3
Record low °C (°F) −27.8
Average precipitation mm (inches) 45.3
Average rainfall mm (inches) 19.5
Average snowfall cm (inches) 28.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 13.9 11.6 11.7 12.7 12.3 10.7 10.3 10.9 11.4 12.3 13.4 13.0 144.2
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 4.4 5.1 8.4 11.8 12.3 10.7 10.3 10.9 11.4 12.3 12.0 7.4 117.0
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 10.5 8.3 5.3 1.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.07 2.4 7.7 35.6
Source: Environment Canada[18]


The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) operates the English-language, secular public schools serving Toronto Island. Prior to 1998 the Toronto Board of Education (TBE) served the Toronto Islands.

The TDSB operates the Island Public/Natural Science School on Centre Island. As of 2013 the school has 179 students. 15% of the student population originates from Algonquin and Ward islands and about 85% of the students live in the city and take ferry transportation to school.[19] Other schools serving the Toronto Islands are: The Waterfront School (intermediate school), Jarvis Collegiate Institute (high school), Central Technical School (technological programming), and Central Commerce Collegiate Institute / Northern Secondary School (commercial schools).[20]

The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB), previously the Metropolitan Separate School Board (MSSB), operates public Anglophone Catholic schools serving Toronto Island. The Conseil scolaire Viamonde operates secular Francophone schools, and the Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud operates Catholic Francophone schools.


Hanlan Hotel on the Toronto Islands in the late 19th century
Couple rowing in a lagoon, 1908
Ward's Hotel on Ward's Island, ca. 1900
View of the Toronto skyline, 1915
Milkman on Toronto Islands, 1944

Prior to European colonization, the Toronto area was home to various native peoples, including the Anishinaabeg (known also as the Ojibwa and Mississaugas) who were the last to occupy the area. The Anishinaabeg, who named the peninsula (as it was at the time ) "Menecing", brought their sick to the peninsula to recover in its healthful atmosphere.[21] To the descendants of the Ojibwa, now the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Toronto Islands are sacred land. The Toronto Purchase of 1787 and 1805, according to the British, included the Islands. The Mississaugas, in a land claim settlement process started in 1986, claimed that the Islands were never included. In 2010, the Government of Canada and the Mississaugas reached a settlement which resulted in a cash payment to the Mississaugas from the Government of Canada. In return, the Mississaugas relinquished their claim to the islands.[22]

The peninsula and surrounding sand-bars that now form the Toronto Islands were first surveyed in 1792 by Lieutenant Joseph Bouchette of the Royal Navy. D. W. Smith's Gazetteer recorded in 1813 that "the long beach or peninsula, which affords a most delightful ride, is considered so healthy by the Indians that they resort to it whenever indisposed". Many aboriginal encampments were located between the peninsula's base and the Don River.[5] The peninsula was actually a series of many sand spits and ponds.

The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse was constructed at Gibraltar Point, the south-western extremity of the peninsula in 1808. In 1815 the lighthouse keeper, J.P. Rademuller, died in suspicious circumstances. The exact truth of his death is unknown, but there are indications that he was murdered by soldiers from Fort York.[23][24]

After the peninsula became an island, the Hanlan family were among the first year-round inhabitants, settling at Gibraltar Point in 1862. In 1867 the City of Toronto acquired the islands from the federal government, and the land was divided into lots, allowing cottages, amusement areas and resort hotels to be built. The west side of the island became a resort destination for the people of Toronto and the first summer cottage community was built there. In 1878, a hotel was built by John Hanlan at the north-west tip of the island and soon after the area became known as Hanlan's Point. John's son, Edward "Ned" Hanlan, earned international recognition as a rower before taking over his father's business.[5] Other notable families on the islands include the Durnans (James James Durnan was the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse keeper in 1832) and Wards (David Ward settled on the eastern end in 1830).[25]

At the same time as Hanlan's Point was developing as a summer suburb of Toronto, developments were going on elsewhere on the islands. Along the lakefront of Centre Island, large Victorian summer homes were built by Toronto's leading families looking for refuge from the summer heat and drawn by the prestigious Royal Canadian Yacht Club, which had moved to a location on the harbour side of Centre Island in 1881. By contrast the Ward's Island community began in the 1880s as a tent community. William E. Ward built the Ward's Hotel and a few houses and rented tents to visitors. In 1888 the first year round public school was established on Centre Island at Gibraltar Point.

In 1899, there was a colony of eight summer tenants on Ward's Island paying $10 rent for the season.[26] By 1913, the number of tents pitched had increased to the point where the city felt it necessary to organize the community into streets, and the tents eventually evolved into a cottage community.[9][27]

In 1894, a land reclamation project by the Toronto Ferry Company created space for an amusement park at Hanlan's Point. In 1897, the Hanlan's Point Stadium was built alongside the amusement park for the Toronto Maple Leaf baseball team. The stadium was rebuilt several times over the years, and in 1914, Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run into the waters of Lake Ontario from this stadium. In the 1920s the Maple Leaf team moved to a new stadium on the mainland.

From 1915 to 1916 a temporary wooden hangar (see image at [1]) was built at the beach by the Curtiss Flying School.[28] This floatplane aerodrome was used for flight training for World War I.

In 1937 construction started on a new airport on the site of the park and stadium.[5] The construction of the airport on infill led to the demolition of the stadium and most of the amusement park. It also meant that the cottage community at Hanlan's Point needed to be relocated. The residents were given the choice of either moving their cottages further south at Hanlan's Point, or resettling on Algonquin Island. Originally, Algonquin Island was simply a sandbar known as Sunfish Island that was expanded by land reclamation operations. In 1938 streets were laid out to accommodate 31 cottages that were moved by barge from Hanlan's Point. The original aspect of Algonquin Island was of unvegetated sand, and the current lush environment of the island is the result of many years of work by residents.[9]

The airport opened in 1939, formally named the Port George VI Island Airport, after the reigning monarch of the time. During the first few years of the Second World War, expatriate Norwegian (RNAF) pilots-in-training used the Toronto Island Airport as a training field for both fighter and bomber pilots. Several accidents, including one where a pilot under instruction clipped the funnel and mast of the island ferry boat Sam McBride and crashed, led to the training school being moved north to Muskoka, Ontario. (The park on the mainland called Norway Park commemorates this period.)

At its peak in the 1950s, the Island residential community extended from Ward's Island to Hanlan's Point, and was made up of some 630 cottages and homes, in addition to such amenities as a movie theatre, a bowling alley, stores, hotels, and dance halls.[29] Not long after its creation in 1953, Metropolitan Toronto Council undertook to remove the community and replace it with parkland.[30] The construction of the Gardiner Expressway had removed many acres of recreational land along the Toronto waterfront, and the Islands lands were to replace the acreage. In 1955, after the City had transferred the lands to Metro, the new Metro Parks Department started to demolish homes and cottages whose lease had expired or whose lease holders gave up their leases. In 1959, the Metro Parks Department opened 'Far Enough Farm', and in 1967, opened the Centreville Amusement Park, along with a new public marina. In 1971, Metro Parks opened a new ferry terminal at the foot of Bay Street. Unlike the previous terminal, no waiting room was provided.[31] In 1976, the Trillium a 1910 paddle-wheeler ferry which had been abandoned in a lagoon, was refurbished and relaunched for use as an island ferry.

Toronto skyline in 2009 as seen from Centre Island Park

By 1963, all Islanders willing to leave the island had left and the remaining Islanders started to fight the plans of Metro to remove their homes. While demolitions still proceeded, the Islanders' alderman David Rotenberg pushed the Islanders' cause and the number of demolitions dwindled. In 1969, the Toronto Islands' Residents Association (TIRA) was formed. Still, by 1970 only 250 homes, on Ward's and Algonquin Islands, had escaped the bulldozer. The 1970s saw no further demolitions as the Metro Parks plans were thwarted by year-to-year leases and the changing of the guard on Toronto City Council to a group more sympathetic to the Islanders. In 1973, City Council voted 17–2 to preserve the community and transfer those lands back to the City. However, Metro Council remained opposed and the Islanders started legal challenges to Metro's plans in 1974 to delay Metro's plans of expropriation. By 1978, Metro Council had won several legal battles and had obtained 'writs of possession' for the 250 homes. At the time, a minority provincial Progressive Conservative government was in place with both the Liberals and NDP opposition parties in favour of the Islanders and the Islanders appealed to the provincial government, winning more time when the province agreed to act as mediator between the City and Islanders and Metro.[32]

Matters came to a head on July 28, 1980, when a sheriff sent to serve eviction notices to remaining residents was met at the Algonquin Island bridge by much of the community, whose leaders persuaded the sheriff to withdraw.[33] On July 31, the community won the right to challenge the 1974 evictions. The Islanders lost the challenge, but by this time, the province had started a formal inquiry headed by Barry Swadron into the Toronto Islands. On December 18, 1981, the province of Ontario passed a law legalizing the Islanders to stay until 2005. This kept the lands in Metro's ownership, to be leased to the City who would lease it to the Islanders.[34] Wrangling over the terms of the lease payments to Metro took several years.

The community's fight for survival was finally rewarded in 1993, when the Ontario Government passed the Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act, which enabled Islanders to purchase 99-year land leases from a Land Trust.[10]

Panorama of Toronto Islands, viewed from the CN Tower.



airport runways on island surrounded by water
The island airport, as seen from the CN Tower

The north-western tip of the Toronto Islands is home to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, more often known as the Toronto Island Airport. The airport is used for civil aviation, including airlines, flight training, medevac flights and private aviation. Since 1984, it has been used for regional airlines using approved STOL-type aircraft. In recent years, the airport has become the centre of controversy between those who wish to close it down, and those who want to expand its usage. One focus of this controversy had been a plan to construct a road bridge to the airport; this was a major issue in the 2003 election for mayor and was cancelled by Toronto City Council after David Miller became mayor. A pedestrian tunnel to the airport was opened in July 2015.[35] A proposal to allow jets at the airport is under study.

Ferry services

One of the ferries that links the Toronto Islands to the mainland

There is no fixed road link from the mainland to the Toronto Islands, which therefore rely on ferries, water taxis and other boats for their transport needs.

Three public ferry routes provide links for passengers (both visitors and island residents) and service vehicles from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal on the central Toronto waterfront to docks at Hanlan's Point, Centre Island Park and Ward's Island. A fourth public ferry service provides a vehicle and passenger connection from a dock at the foot of Bathurst Street to the airport. There is no public access between the airport and the rest of the island chain.

Beside the public ferry services, several yacht clubs and marinas located on the islands provide private ferry services for their members and guests:

  • RCYC operates two launches, Kwasind and Hiawatha.
  • IYC operates one tender, Johnny C, from the foot of Dan Leckie Way to the club


All roads on the islands are paved, the only exception being a long wooden boardwalk on the south end of Ward's Island. The use of motor vehicles is limited to City of Toronto service vehicles (Parks and Recreation, paramedics etc.). Bicycles are welcome on the ferries and the island, and there are rental bikes available on the island. Lakeshore Avenue is the main road handling vehicular traffic. The single lane paved road traverses the east, south and west sides of the park. The six bridges on the island are for pedestrian traffic, bicycles and all-terrain vehicles only. The bridge carrying traffic from Avenue of the Islands can support large vehicles, but not cars or heavy trucks. Other bridges include:

  • two bridges connecting Centre Island with Olympic Island
  • bridge along Chippewa Avenue to South Island
  • bridge over to Snake Island
  • Algonquin Road Bridge to Algonquin Island

The Island Bus provides shuttle service between Ward's Island and the Island Airport, mainly for the use of Island residents and Parks employees. It ran every two hours. The schedule has plenty of recovery time as the route crosses the live runway of the airport. Each crossing has to be accompanied by an escort.[36] Two Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) GM TC40-102N buses provided service to the Toronto Parks Department for use on the Island during the 1970s. Since they were withdrawn it has become usual for TTC to assign to the Island a bus from a series that is coming to the end of its service life. Thus more recently an obsolescent GM New Look operated on the Island until Spring 2012 after its regular service ended. Now that all TTC's 7000 series Orion V buses are retired except one (#7106)that survives on Toronto Island.

There are fewer restrictions on motor vehicles on the airport lands, with a vehicular ferry providing access to parking lots and service access at the airport, however there is no public road access from the airport lands to the rest of the islands.

Notable dates

Beach on Ward's Island
  • 1787 – Toronto Purchase. The British and the Mississaugas negotiate the purchase of 250,800 acres (101,500 ha) of land north from Toronto Harbour.
  • 1793 – Blockhouse built by the Queen's Rangers at Gibraltar Point.
  • 1805 - The British and the Mississaugas renegotiate the Toronto Purchase.
  • 1808 – Lighthouse constructed at Gibraltar Point.
  • 1834 – Fisherman David Ward and family, along with shipbuilder John Hanlan are one of first settlers on island.
  • 1830–1840 – First island hotels built. Start of ferry services.
  • 1850 – Filtration plant on island starts supplying water to Toronto.
  • 1855 – Rower Ned Hanlan born.
  • 1858 – Storm separates Toronto Islands from mainland.
  • 1867 – Islands become property of City of Toronto. Lot leases are established.
  • 1870–80 – Summer homes established on island. Cottages from Hanlan's Point to Centre Island.
  • 1874 – John Hanlan, father of Ned Hanlan opens Hanlan's Hotel.
  • 1880 – Royal Canadian Yacht Club established on island.
  • 1882 – William Ward, son of David Ward opens Ward's Hotel; closed 1966.
  • 1884 – St. Rita's and St. Andrew-on-the-Lake churches built.
  • 1897 – First amusements on Hanlan's Point established by John Hanlan.
  • 1897 – Baseball and lacrosse stadium on Hanlan's Point.
  • 1899 – First summer colony established on Ward's.
  • 1903 – Baseball stadium destroyed by fire and rebuilt.
  • 1909 – Hanlan Hotel destroyed by fire.
  • 1909 – Baseball stadium again destroyed by fire and rebuilt.
  • 1913 – First 'tent city' on Ward's Island.
  • 1914 – First professional home run of Babe Ruth's career hit at Hanlan's Point Stadium.
  • 1926 – Baseball stadium vacated by Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team for new stadium at foot of Bathurst and Fleet Streets.
  • 1937 – Construction of Island airport begins. Some cottages moved east to Algonquin Island.
  • 1939 – The Sam McBride ferry enters service.
  • 1947 – City approves year-round residency to cope with housing shortage.
  • 1956 – New Metro Toronto government takes over Island and leases. Starts demolishing cottages.
  • 1959 – Far Enough Farm opens.
  • 1967 – Centreville Amusement Park opens.
  • 1967 – Toronto Island Marina opens.
  • 1975–1985 – Canadian Open Frisbee Championships, held at Olympic and Wards Island.[37]
  • 1977–1993 – Supreme Court approves of cancellation of leases by Metro. Remaining residents fight to remain.
  • 1984 – Start of scheduled regional airlines at Island airport.[38]
  • 1991 – Transfer of cottage lands and lease to City allowing residents to stay.
  • 2002 – Council approves Clothing Optional Hanlan's Point Beach.
  • 2010 - Canadian government and Mississaugas finalize settlement of outstanding disagreements over Toronto Purchase, including Toronto Islands.
  • 2012 - Construction of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport pedestrian tunnel begins. Completed in 2015.

Source: Sward, p. xv, pp. 42–51

Notable people

In popular culture

The Toronto Islands have appeared as significant settings in Canadian literature. Examples include Margaret Atwood's The Robber Bride and Robert Rotenberg's Old City Hall.

In "Take This Waltz", a film by Canadian director Sarah Polley, the main character Margot (Michelle Williams) rides the Scrambler at the Centreville Amusement Park.



  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^ Wickson, pg. 30
  5. ^ a b c d e f g
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "WARD'S ISLAND A COMMUNITY WORTH SAVING" Thesis by Alison Suki Suzanne Katherine Diamond ,University of Pennsylvania, 1994
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Home." (Archive) Island Public/Natural Science School. Retrieved on October 1, 2013.
  20. ^ "Find your school by address." Toronto District School Board. Retrieved on October 2, 2013. Enter "Centre Island" to get information
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^ Sward, p. 48
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^ Gibson, p 236-250.
  31. ^ Gibson, p. 271
  32. ^ Gibson, pp. 254–288.
  33. ^ Gibson, p 290-291.
  34. ^ Gibson, p.293
  35. ^
  36. ^ Buses Worldwide magazine May 2015 ISSN 0961-2122
  37. ^
  38. ^
  39. ^ "The “Pope” of Sailing – Paul Henderson, speaker at the Whiff of Grape, January 27, 2015
  40. ^
  41. ^


Further reading

  • "Toronto Island school is vital." (letter) Toronto Star. June 29, 1992. LETTER section.
  • Jones, Frank. "Toronto Island School revisited." Toronto Star. May 17, 1998. LIFE p. E1.

External links

  • City of Toronto website about the Islands
  • Toronto Island community website
  • Toronto Island Public/Natural Science School
  • Toronto Island Marina website
  • Closed Canadian Parks – Hanlan's Point is a history of the early amusement park (Hanlan's Point Park) that existed on the Toronto Islands during the 1860s – 1880s – 1937 period. It includes historical photographs of the roller coaster, midway, roller rink, hotel, stadium and others.
  • Friends of Toronto Islands website
  • Toronto Islands historical plaque
  • Small video for a quick overview of the Islands

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.