As we pull away from the cluster of concrete high rises and into the glistening greeny-blue water, I can’t help but relax. It’s not as though I’m super stressed, we’re on vacation after all, but something about being whisked by boat out the downtown core makes you feel like you’re being transported to another world. And if you’re headed to the Toronto Islands, you certainly are.
A refreshing respite from the hustle and bustle of the big city, the Toronto Islands are an archipelago of 15 islands in Lake Ontario located a mere 1.6 km south of the downtown core. Flush with both rugged and groomed green space, the islands are a sweet sanctuary laced with miles of park land, sandy beaches and arguably the best views of Toronto’s skyline.
If you’ve got kids, your first stop will likely be Centreville, a 14-acre amusement park designed to look like a turn of the century Ontario village. With over 30 rides and attractions, you can bet wee-ones will not want to leave this perfectly proportioned park. The old fashioned rides are a hoot and it’s especially nice to see a midway that suits the ability level of the smallest guest. There’s a “light” roller coaster and one of those log fume water rides that splashes everyone at the end, but with a drop that isn’t terrifyingly steep. Those bursting for independence will want to roam along an antique car track in their own mini-vehicle and break out the hand santizer, there’s a petting farm with over 40 different species of farmyard animals and exotic birds.