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Hanlan's Point Centre Island Ward's Island
Lake Ontario

Centre Island

Centre Island
Centre Island Fountain.

On one of the last really nice days of the summer, before Labor Day, we went for an outing on the Toronto Islands. We packed up all our stuff, and headed out on the GO train with minutes to spare. We took our time at Union Station, and so when we got to the ferry docks, the gate closed on the Centre Island ferry seconds before we got to it.

In Centreville.

The Islands are very popular in the summertime, and the ferries are often fully loaded. Most people rush up the stairs to see the view from the open deck. Those of us with strollers or bicycles stay on the lower deck. Many head towards Centreville, an amusement park geared primarily to younger kids. Our toddler is a bit too little still for most rides, but we took her on the antique carousel and the train ride. We also visited the animals in the Far Enough Farm.

The entrance of the maze.

The maze, built in 1967, was a Centennial gift by Toronto's Dutch-Canadian community. I first enjoyed shortly after it opened. When I visited it about 15 years ago however, I was disappointed to find a wide path bulldozed straight through the middle it. But now, the maze is back in its proper condition. Although the cedar hedge is now somewhat overgrown and the paths are often quite narrow, it's still good fun.

People enjoying the beach.

When you get off the ferry at the Centre Island dock and follow the main path, first you pass a picnic are on the right and Centreville on the left. Crossing a bridge, you then get to a fountain and the "Avenue of the Islands" with its formal gardens. This leads to a pier from which you get a good view of the beach. Unlike other beaches in the city, this one remains safe for swimming for most of the summer.

Avenue of the Islands, with CN Tower in background.

We stopped at the pier for a snack. With our little one falling asleep for her afternoon nap, we set off again. But instead of going back to the Centre Island ferry dock, we decided to take a stroll towards Ward's Island and catch the return ferry there.