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How to Take the Ferry to the Toronto Islands


View of Toronto from the a Toronto ferry

Traveling on the ferry to the Toronto Islands can be as enjoyable as the islands themselves!

Marilyn Campbell
The quiet, relaxing beauty of the Toronto Islands is just a short ferry ride away from the city's downtown core. Learn how to take the Toronto ferry to visit this park on the water, or to join in the fun at the seasonal Centreville amusement park.

Three Ferries, One Big Destination:

There is a central dock on the Toronto mainland from which three ferries head out across Lake Ontario. One goes to Hanlan's Point, one goes to Centre Island and the third goes to Ward's Island. Although the three islands have distinct names (and docks) you can walk from one to the other. This means you can never really take the "wrong" ferry, but you'll likely want to wait for a certain ferry depending on how and where you plan to spend your day.
• Learn more to plan your visit to the Toronto Islands.

Getting to the Mainland Ferry Docks:

You can get on any Toronto Island ferry from the mainland dock near the base of Bay Street, south of Queens Quay. The pedestrian entrance is tucked back from the road on the west side of the Westin Harbour Castle hotel. Walk south into Harbour Square Park at Bay and Queens Quay and the ferry entrance will come up on your left.
• By TTC head to Union Station and get on a southbound streetcar, either the 509 or 510. It is a very short ride to the Queens Quay-Ferry Docks underground stop.
• There are paid parking lots within about one block of Queens Quay and Bay Street in each direction.

Toronto Ferry Fares:

As of May 1st, 2012 a return trip on a Toronto ferry cost:
  • $7.00 for Adults
  • $4.50 for Students (under 19 with a Student Card)
  • $3.50 for Juniors (under 14)
  • $4.50 for Seniors (over 65)
  • And children under 2 ride free
There are also monthly passes available which will save adults money on the thirteenth trip, save students and seniors money on the fifteenth trip and save juniors money on the fourteenth trip.

(Fares and monthly pass saving rates subject to change)

Fares Include Return:

Once you're on the island the assumption is that you must have paid to get there, so you won't need to show a ticket to get on a return ferry. With this in mind, it obviously doesn't matter which ferry you take in each direction. For example, you can easily take the Centre Island ferry on the trip out, then walk over and take the Ward's Island ferry for your return.

The Schedule:

The Toronto ferry schedules are seasonal, changing for the spring, summer, fall and winter. The biggest difference between the schedules is that the Centre Island ferry doesn't run in the winter when the Centreville Amusement Park is closed. In general Toronto ferry service is fairly frequent, often with a trip to and from each dock every half hour. For a casual island visit in the middle of the day it's easy to just head to a dock and wait. If you'll be visiting into the evening, be sure to note the times of the last ferries back to the mainland!
• Check the current ferry schedule on Toronto.ca.

Pets and Bikes are Welcome:

There is no extra charge to bring your bike on the ferry - in fact cycling is a very popular way to explore the Toronto Islands. You're also welcome to bring along inline skates or roller skates, but note that you can't wear them on the ferry itself. Cars and other motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and scooters, are not allowed on the Toronto Islands without a special advance permit deeming them necessary (Call 416-392-8193 for details).

Pets are also welcome on the ferry for no extra charge, but they must be on a leash at all times.

Ths is NOT the Way to the Airport:

If you need to get to the Toronto City Centre Airport (more commonly referred to as the Toronto Island Airport), the ferries discussed here are NOT what you want to use. Porter Airlines, the airline which operates from the TCCA, has their own shuttle and ferry service. Their docks are at the base of Bathurst Street, well west of the Toronto Island docks. Visit the official Porter Airlines website, www.FlyPorter.com for more information on getting to and from your flight.

More Information on the Toronto Island Ferry:

Still have questions about the ferries to the Toronto Island? Visit www.toronto.ca/parks/island or call the Toronto Island Ferry Information Line at 416-392-8193.
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