As announced earlier this week, Toronto Island Park, including Centre Island, Centreville Theme Park, Ward’s Island and Hanlan’s Point, will reopen to the public today, Monday, July 31. Here’s what you need to know about the park’s reopening to get the most out of your visit:
1. Services resume on Monday, July 31
Public access to the park, summer schedule ferry service and recreation programs such as summer camps will resume Monday morning. The first ferry will depart from the mainland to Ward’s Island at 6:30 a.m. and from the mainland to Centre Island at 8 a.m.
2. Get your ferry tickets in advance to avoid the lineups
Online ticket sales for the ferry service is available at http://www.toronto.ca/ferry. Island visitors are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance to avoid lineups at the ticket kiosk at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Additional staff will be in place tomorrow to provide quicker service and help visitors navigate their way from ticketing to boarding.
3. Know when to go
The peak period for lineups at the terminal is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plan your arrival at the ferry for outside these hours to avoid the crowds. Check with @TorontoPFR on Twitter for updates on wait times and ferry schedules.
4. Hit the beach, island-style!
All beaches on Toronto Island Park – Centre Island Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach and Ward’s Island Beach – will be open, however, some portions of beaches will be in a reduced state. Lifeguards will be on duty from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. (And remember, a portion of Hanlan’s Point Beach is clothing optional.)
5. Some areas may still be affected by flooding
Some areas of Toronto Island Park, such as Olympic Island, are still experiencing flooding impacts and remain closed. Signs clearly indicate areas that are closed and members of the public are cautioned to avoid restricted areas for their own safety.
6. There’s so much to do on the islands
Businesses on the island are expected to resume normal business operations on Monday. Centreville Theme Park will be open and details are available at http://www.centreisland.ca/centreville. There’s also the Franklin Children’s Garden, William Meany Maze, canoe, kayak and pedal boat rentals from The Boat House, wading pools, splash pads, fishing, bicycle rentals and more. The park also features restaurants, cafés and tons of picnic spots. Learn about all of the Toronto Island Park amenities at http://www.toronto.ca/islands and plan your fun-filled visit. While you’re there, visit the new information centre on Centre Island for more program, service and other visitor information.
7. There are going to be crowds
Last year, there were more than 1.46 million visitors to the park, which is considered one of the gems of the city’s park system and one of the city’s most popular attractions during the summer. Many residents feel summer isn’t complete without a visit to Toronto Island Park and have been anxiously awaiting the reopening since May when the islands were restricted due to flooding. Warm-weather weekends typically see more than 20,000 people a day on the islands. Plan your visit accordingly.
8. Event permits will resume, but it will take time
Island park permits are being reviewed on a case-by-case basis and City staff will continue to work with permit holders directly to provide any available options for rescheduling or relocating their events if affected by the parts of the park that remain closed. Permits that cannot be rescheduled or relocated will be refunded through the usual process. Permit holders should call 311 for assistance.
9. They weren’t always islands
The cluster of seven islands referred to as Toronto Island Park were not always islands. They were originally a series of continuously moving sandbars and eroded stone from the Scarborough Bluffs that were carried westward by Lake Ontario currents. By the early 1800s, the longest of these bars extended nearly nine kilometres southwest from Woodbine Avenue, through Ashbridge’s Bay and the marshes of the lower Don River, forming a natural harbour between the lake and the mainland. The largest of these formations was connected to the city’s mainland until 1858 when a storm completely separated the peninsula from the mainland and the gap was not repaired.
10. Summer fun safety
Don’t forget to apply sunscreen and bug repellent (with DEET) and pack extra if you’re going to be on the islands for more than a couple of hours. A light jacket is also a good idea because it can get chilly by the water, and no day trip is complete without a refillable water bottle to keep you hydrated.
Bonus tip: find your way around
Check out this illustrated map of Toronto Island Park to prepare for your visit – http://ow.ly/S1n930dZuQK.