Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Travel - Four Top Reasons to visit Toronto Island

With an abundance of trees and not a car in sight, the differences between Toronto and the Island strike you as soon as you disembark from one of the three docks in operation.

Covering about 570 acres, 300 homes live car-free across the main island as well as on some of the smaller islets, collectively known as Toronto Island. 

Under a clear Autumn sky the bustle and noise of downtown Toronto just slipped away and although a lack of traffic is not included on the list below, it's reason enough for taking the short ten-minute ferry ride.

However, delving a little deeper I soon discovered some rather unusual and unique reasons to visit the Island, all of which could turn your day into a really special experience.

Toronto from Ward's Island, photo by modernbricabrac

Explore the Islands on a two-seater (or four-seater) bicycle 

Not far from the Central Island ferry drop-off we spotted a pile of colourful vehicles parked up. 

A moment later one passed by with two merrily chatting females whirling along at a gentle looking pace. 

Although happy walking it was still fabulous to see how much fun it looked to cycle past on one of these.

A moment later and a four-seater passed by. Forty minutes later and I was seriously wishing we had hired one. 

Meanwhile, local children passed by on another bicycle hybrid, the quadricycle. 

On the lake sailboats peppered the horizon, and in front of us, moored yachts languidly bobbed on the water. It was a car-free wonderland.

Two-seater bicycles on Toronto Island, photo by modernbricabrac

Two-seater bicycle on Toronto Island, photo by modernbricabrac

Try a New Sport

Why not try a round of frisbee-golf? Boasting one of the first ever Disc (frisbee) Golf Courses, created in 1980, the sport now has 4,000 disc golf courses around the world.

Like Golf, there are 18 holes, except with this game the holes are positioned above the ground.

Disc Golf course, Toronto Island, photo by modernbricabrac

It's played using specifically made gold discs, smaller and heavier than normal frisbees, and starts from a tee pad.

To make the most of navigating your way round the course, there are online resources available such as maps and details about the course.

Go on the Tree Trail

Another great way of enjoying the Island is by taking the Toronto Tree Tour. The tour follows the road along a 5km route and includes 58 different trees to identify.

A downloadable map indicates where the trees are located and provides a list of names of the trees plus an illustration of each leaf. I love this idea. In my heart I think I will always be a tree hugger.

Click on Canadian Tree Tours to find out more.

Is this a Black Walnut tree? photo by modernbricabrac
Is this a Black Walnut tree? Totonto Island

Dine outdoors and breathe in tranquillity

Best of all was where we stopped for dinner. Local recommendations are always the best and as I was with my fabulous Toronto friend she took me to a favourite place of hers, the Island Cafe.

We reached it by passing through its kitchen garden and found outdoor seating made up of colourful benches and an assortment of chairs and tables to choose from, and from where we could enjoy the late afternoon sun.

Family run, they buy in from local and ethical sources, as well as using vegetables grown in their garden. The menu offered a selection of hearty and healthy options and we both chose a bowl of quinoa with marinated tofu, carrots, avocado, sesame seeds and greens.

Quinoa bowl at Island Cafe, Ward's Island, photo by modernbricabrac

On the horizon we could see a shiny high-rise Toronto, while around us was a grassy verge, trees and growing vegetables.

Our next order was some patatas bravas (fried potatoes in chilli oil, with monterey jack cheese and garlic mayonnaise) to share and we found this just as tasty as the last dish.

Patatas bravas at Island Cafe, Ward's Island, photo by modernbricabrac

Boarding the ferry, Toronto Island, photo by modernbricabrac

Time was ticking on and we had to head back, the lovely one and her blissful baby were ready for home and I had my next solo adventure waiting for me.

If you've tried any of these activities and think they sound appealing, let me know. I'd love to find out what you think.

Four top reasons to visit Toronto Island, photo by modernbricabrac

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