Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Toronto Islands

As in most cities there are 'gems' in and around Toronto. One of them is the Toronto Islands which lie less than a mile from the downtown core. At one time many people lived over there but, at some time in the city's history, much of the islands became park land with only Ward and Algonquin Islands at the eastern end still being inhabited.

The islands have frequent ferry service from downtown (the ferry docks are at the foot of Bay Street) with those watercraft serving three spots - Wards Island, Center Island (where there is a small amusement park and a 'hobby farm'), and Hanlan's Point - at the western end - which is serviced by a 'barge ferry' so heavy vehicles are able to cross. As an inveterate walker/hiker I usually cross on either the Wards Island or the Hanlans Point ferry and hike to the other.

One of my trips over there was on a drab and dreary spring Saturday with the Out and Out hiking group and I took this photo of the downtown skyline - ten or more years ago the skyline was very different. Now there are many new condominium, apartment and office towers along the water front.

From the Wards Island ferry dock many 'tourists' either walk south (ahead from the ferry slip) to one of the beaches or follow the paved roadway west to Algonquin and Center Islands. However, usually I turn east and walk around the edge of the Wards Island residential area. The gardens are lovely and, some of the residents also cultivate the 'empty land' across the path adding to the beauty.

That is a woman standing at the far end of the flower bed - she is watering the plants and lawn.

Bicycles are the transport of choice and the 'streets' are no more than paved lane ways.

Along the road from the Wards Island ferry slip to Center Island one passes a lovely privately owned and operated restaurant, the fire hall and police station. There is a public school over there but it is located at the other end of the islands - students are transported there by school buses. Also, there are facilities for city children to stay in class groups and many of the public schools in the city take advantage of that.

I had lunch at that lovely little cafe one day and the following photo is of the centerpiece that was on the table.

There are islets that are both uninhabited and accessible to the public. On one of them I saw this slough (and on the drab and dreary spring Saturday).

                                               I am attracted to light and shadow on water.

Close to Center Island is the Island Church which is maintained by Anglicans and Roman Catholics in cooperation. Also, it is a popular spot for weddings.

The footbridges that connect Center Island and nearby spots are gracefully arced affairs. This is so dragon boat and other boat races can be held unimpeded. On the walk over from Wards Island - upon reaching the bridge connecting to the amusement park and the ferry slip - Center Island Beach is to the left and the rest is to the right. The swimming beach is very popular on hot and muggy summer days.

A part of the amusement park is this little railway.

                                        I am a kid at heart and I have ridden on that train!

Just beyond the amusement park is 'Far Enough Farm' and the following photos are of some of the residents.

Continuing on towards Hanlan's Point one passes the school, an old and abandoned lighthouse (supposedly haunted) and a trout pond before arriving where this photo was taken - one of many picnic areas along a passage between the islands which is much used by tour and pleasure boats.

                   During the summer months moor-age along this waterway is at a premium.

As the month of May is here and the weather is warming up it is time to think of another stroll through the Toronto Islands.

No comments:

Post a Comment