Centre Island is a special place for many Torontonians. My family has been making an annual trip to the islands for as long as I can remember. If you aren’t planning on dishing out tons of money on rides at the Centerville amusement park, then it is a fairly inexpensive family outing because the only expense would be the round-trip ferry ticket ($8 for adults, but less for children, students and seniors). It seems like every year there are more and more people boarding the ferries at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, which is not surprising because there is so much to do and see! The beauty of the islands is that there is always more to explore. There are so many hidden gems and year-round events and activities that entice you to come back again and again. I have written 10 reasons below on why I think everyone loves Centre Island.
1. The ferry ride is an experience in itself
The ferry ride from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal to Centre Island only lasts about 10-15 minutes, but I find that time to be so essential for bonding with whoever you’re going with. I have always had positive experiences going there and back on the ferry. I’ve seen cool shorebirds, admired the city, took pictures, played games, and just in general really enjoyed the company of whoever I was with.
2. There are scattered beaches all around – each with a unique skyline view
Being an island, there are many scattered beaches all around. Some have more isolation, peace and privacy than others, but all have a unique view. There is usually a sign about water safety to let you know if you can swim or not, but the beaches are great for other things besides swimming. You can bring a book, practice your photography, or build a sand castle – the world is your oyster! The Toronto islands are also known for the clothing-optional Hanlan’s Point beach. If you’re interested in knowing more about that particular nude-beach, you can read this post.
3. It is dog-friendly
It is a lot of work bringing a dog like mine to Centre Island because he will bark and chase almost anything, but I’m glad that there is the option to bring him at all. There are great places to walk your dog. We walked, played frisbee, rode on a quadricycle, and even tried introducing Casper to the water to swim. It didn’t happen this time – the waves were being a little bit more aggressive than he could handle – but we will try again!
4. You can go on rides at the Centerville amusement park
Centerville amusement park is primarily for kids, but there are some rides that adults can enjoy too (i.e. the scrambler). There are also food stands inside Centerville, and a little zoo as well. So it is definitely worth a visit even if you don’t have kids.
5. They rent single bikes, tandem bikes, and quadricycles
I don’t know where I would be able to ride a quadricycle besides on Centre Island. We took this bad boy all around the island and gave Casper a front row seat.
6. You can choose a nice, cozy spot to have a picnic
It’s really nice to be able to set up camp literally anywhere on the island (except for people’s actual homes) and see other groups do the same. Don’t forget to bring your picnic blanket and some snacks!
7. You can visit their zoo for free, and even pet the animals!
The zoo is small but it’s free to go to. There were these adorable little pigs at the zoo that we got to pet and it made me squeal! There are also peacocks that fly cage-less around the zoo, and some ponies that children can ride.
8. There are many beautiful gardens to stroll around
The flower gardens and trees are pretty well-maintained on the islands. The horticulture game is so strong that they even have a child’s maze built out of real trees. There are so many photo opportunities it is unreal.
9. There is a haunted lighthouse known as Gibraltar Point Lighthouse
At first, I was just excited to see a bright red lighthouse. Upon closer look, there was a sign that told a story of why the lighthouse is haunted and it just made my Halloween-loving self love the islands even more.
10. There’s a variety of water-activities like swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddling
There are rental kayaks and paddles on the island that you can use to try a new water sport. If you aren’t keen on that, the island also hosts an annual dragonboat festival where dragonboats race against one another. The event is incredibly unique, and if I were you I wouldn’t miss the 2019 island races.
What is your favourite thing to do at Centre Island? Leave a comment below to share.
Visit the Centre Island website to plan your visit.
Millennials featured in this article: Helen (@helon.vn) | Elaine (@elainetat)
9 Queen’s Quay West
Toronto, Ontario, M5J 2H3
*Take the ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal