Toronto Islands and Harbourfront

One day last summer my husband and I decided to visit a known tourist area in Toronto, which is the Toronto Islands and Harbourfront (Queen’s Quay). We were with two friends of ours that we have known for a long time and they recommended it, saying if you know where to go, you can find spots that are not too high-traffic. Normally we stay away from touristy areas, but in this case not only is the waterfront enticing, but the area comes highly recommended.

Photo Credit: OliverN5

Photo Credit:bensonkua
The ferry ride was beautiful but quite short. It is also rather cheap, being only $6.50/adult. We really enjoyed the pleasant view of the sparkling water. Now there are three ferry destinations you can choose but we chose Centre Island, which is the busiest. That seems to contradict what I was saying earlier about finding quieter spots, but actually it doesn’t in the sense that that is where the bike rental place is. We wanted to pack some exercise into our day.

When we got to Centre Island we found out that it is indeed busy there, with lots of tourists with kids. There is an amusement park there called “Centreville” and this is where all the families with kids were going. However, given that none of us have any kids, we did not go there. My friend’s husband wanted to go on some rides but we wouldn’t let him. Majority rules, so we rented a bike as planned. That’s right, one bike, a quad bike, not four bikes. That was kind of cool. It was the quad bike that would give us the mobility to move around to the parts of the island that were less populated.

One of the first places we stopped was at a hedge maze. It was pretty busy but none of us cared because it was so much fun. We eventually got out the exit but it took us a while, several dead ends and false leads.

One place we didn’t stop was Hanlon’s Point. There is a nude beach there where swingers like to hang out. We are not swingers, nor are we nudists, so we steered clear of that place.

We finally found the quiet spot we were looking for: Ward’s Island. There were many birds there that were singing and the atmosphere was wonderful. We noticed that there are actually summer cottages there, very expensive and way out of my price range. It is beyond me how some people could be able to afford a recreational property there. Anyway, we found a nice quiet beach there and had our picnic lunch, which I am sure beats braving the concessions. We even brought a 6-pack of beer, which we disguised using those Styrofoam drink-holders. We did not go swimming, though, as Lake Ontario is still unfortunately polluted. But it was pretty sweet having the picnic on the beach. They don’t sell fresh cherries at the concessions! And if they did, they would be through the roof!

We wandered around then took the bikes back. Then we took the ferry back, which was just as nice going back as it was coming over. We ended up in Queen’s Quay. There were boat rides there and one of them was called “Shark Attack”. It was a yellow speedboat and it costs about $20.00/person for a ride, so we decided to ride it. We saved a lot of money on lunch so we decided to give it a shot. It turned out to be a wise decision because it was a lot of fun. I would definitely skip over the waves on that thing again.

Do you know those hazy summer days when it just seems right to sit on the patio and have a few drinks? Well this was one of them. Now normally, I’m not a heavy drinker but on certain occasions when it seems appropriate I will have a few. So anyway we found a nice licensed patio restaurant and decided to have some drinks before dinner. None of us was driving so it didn’t matter.

We ended up at this restaurant called Il Fornello. We sat on the patio that overlooks the water, which was absolutely lovely. I had a couple of screwdrivers and we ended up talking to the people at the next table, a cute couple. They told us that there is a summer concert venue at Harbourfront where some big names play (they didn’t tell us who). Also there is a skating rink in the winter. They went there last winter and had a great time watching everyone fall over. There was this one guy there showing off, skating in and out, forwards and backwards. He eventually fell on his behind once, and everybody laughed at him. Even the best of us screw up sometimes, I guess.

When dinner time came, by the recommendation of the people at the next table, we all ordered the pizza. It was wood-fired pizza—I ordered the gorgonzola. It was fantastic. I can’t say much for the service, and it got a little crowded for my liking, but the patio, the view, the drinks and the pizza were all good. It was a great way to end off a successful day.

Photo Credits: Medmoiselle, Bobolink
Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

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