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    About

    The Toronto Islands (formerly known as Island of Hiawatha and also known as Menecing, meaning "On the Island" in the Ojibwa language) are a chain of small islands in Lake Ontario, south of mainland Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Comprising the only group of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands are located just offshore from the city centre, and provide shelter for Toronto Harbour. The islands are home to parkland, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, several yacht clubs, Centreville Amusement Park, and Hanlan's Beach. The island community is considered to be the largest urban car-free community in North America, although some service vehicles are permitted. Access to the Islands is by ferry, including the City of Toronto ferries operating from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the foot of Bay Street, or by water taxis....

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    The island is a popular recreation destination. Recreational bicyclists are accommodated on the ferries. There is a public bicycle sharing station operated by Bike Share Toronto at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and bicycles and quadracycles can be rented at Centre Island. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boats can also be rented on the island. A frisbee golf course exists on the island. The main beach is along the south shore and the beach on the west shore is clothing-optional. There is ample park land suitable for picnicking which is popular, several playgrounds, and several gardens.

    History

    The Toronto Islands (formerly known as Island of Hiawatha and also known as Menecing, meaning "On the Island" in the Ojibwa language) are a chain of small islands in Lake Ontario, south of mainland Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Comprising the only group of islands in the western part of Lake Ontario, the Toronto Islands are located just offshore from the city centre, and provide shelter for Toronto Harbour. The islands are home to parkland, the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, several yacht clubs, Centreville Amusement Park, and Hanlan's Beach. The island community is considered to be the largest urban car-free community in North America, although some service vehicles are permitted. Access to the Islands is by ferry, including the City of Toronto ferries operating from Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at the foot of Bay Street, or by water taxis....

    Read More

    The island is a popular recreation destination. Recreational bicyclists are accommodated on the ferries. There is a public bicycle sharing station operated by Bike Share Toronto at Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and bicycles and quadracycles can be rented at Centre Island. Canoes, kayaks and paddle boats can also be rented on the island. A frisbee golf course exists on the island. The main beach is along the south shore and the beach on the west shore is clothing-optional. There is ample park land suitable for picnicking which is popular, several playgrounds, and several gardens.

    DescriptionEdit

    GeographyEdit

    The area of the islands is about 820 acres (330 ha). The largest, outermost island, called Centre Island, is crescent-shaped and forms the shoreline of both the Eastern and Western Channels. Algonquin (Sunfish Island) and Olympic are two of the other major islands. The former is mostly a residential area and the latter is parkland. Centre Island is home to the city's Island Public/Natural Science School. What is commonly called Ward's Island is actually the eastern end of Centre Island and like Algonquin is a residential area. The Centre Island dock and Centreville amusement park are located on Middle Island, which as a consequence, is often mistaken for Centre Island. Centre Island is sometimes referred to as Toronto Island (note the singular form) to prevent this type of confusion. Other smaller islands include:

    • Mugg's Island – home to the Island Yacht Club
    • Forestry Island – heavily forested and no fixed link to other islands
    • Snake Island – partially forest and beach facing Toronto Harbour (Snake Island Park); access from pedestrian bridge on south side to Centre Island
    • South Chippewa Island – heavily forested and located between Snake Island and South Island
    • South Island – used for mooring and on-land storage of boats by the Royal Canadian Yacht Club; east end of island cut off at Chippewa Avenue and covered by trees; a tennis court is located on west end of island
    • RCYC Island – occupied by Royal Canadian Yacht Club with clubhouse, moorings and other club facilities; private pier for RCYC launches Kwasind and Hiawatha to mainland

    Two unnamed islands occupy what was once Block House Bay:

    • a small island in Long Pond (the former water intake of the City of Toronto) – located across from Mugg's Island; small sandbar allows boats to moor alongside sometimes called Doughnut Island
    • small island in Lighthouse Pond sometimes called Hanlan's Island

    The islands were originally a 9 kilometres (5.6 mi)-long peninsula or sand spit extending from the mainland. The islands are composed of alluvial deposits from the erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs. The flow from the Niagara River to the south across Lake Ontario causes a counter-clockwise east-to-west current which has, over time, deposited sediments at the south end of the harbour to form a sand spit.

    In 1852, a storm flooded sand pits on the peninsula, creating a channel east of Ward's. The channel was widened and made permanent by a violent storm in 1858. The channel became known as the Eastern Gap. The peninsula to the west became known as the Toronto Islands. To the east of the Gap, the area of today's Cherry Beach was known as "Fisherman's Island".

    Sediment deposition was halted in the 1960s when the Leslie Street Spit was extended beyond the southern edge of the islands. Left to nature, the islands would diminish over time, but this is limited due to hard shore lines built to limit erosion. Over the years land reclamation has contributed to an increase in the size of the islands. The harbour was shallow with a sandy bottom and the sands were moved by dredging or suction methods. Ward's Island was expanded by dredging. Today's Algonquin Island, formerly known as Sunfish Island, was created from harbour bottom sands.

    The area now occupied by the airport has been subject to several landfills over what was once sandy shoal, initially to accommodate the amusement park that preceded the airport, and then to accommodate the airport itself. The Western Channel to the north of the airport is part of the original western channel, which was just south of today's Fort York. It was opened in 1911 as part of a program to improve boat navigation into the harbour. The airport lands were created from harbour sands in the late 1930s.

    A series of waterways allow boat traffic to navigate the island:

    • Allan Lamport Regatta Course – located between Centre Island and Middle Island from Long Pond to east end of Far Enough Farm
    • Block House Bay – located on east side of Hanlan's Point
    • Lighthouse Pond – located next to Gibratar Point lighthouse
    • Long Pond – located between Allan Lamport Regatta Course and Block House Bay
    • Snake Pond – located between Snug Harbour and Algonquin Island
    • Snug Harbour – located between Snake Island and Olympic Island
    • Trout Pond – located west of Lighthouse Bay on the south end of Hanlan's Point

    Hanlan Bay was a water way that has since been buried under the Toronto Island Airport runways.

    RecreationEdit

    The central area hosts Centreville, a children's amusement park which was built in 1967 with a 1900s-style turn-of-the-century theme. The park includes a miniature railway and antique carousel, and is open daily in summer. The Far Enough Farm is nearby and displays common farm livestock and birds. The Franklin's Garden children's garden was created in the 2000s and is located to the west of the Avenue of the Islands. A splash pad and playground is also located nearby. On the western side of Ward's Island is a flying disc golf course.

    There are several swimming beaches on the islands, including Centre Island Beach, Manitou Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach and Ward's Island Beach. Hanlan's Point Beach includes an officially recognized clothing optional section.

    Recreational boating has been popular on the islands for over a century. The Islands are home to four yacht clubs: Harbour City Yacht Club, Island Yacht Club, Queen City Yacht Club and the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. There is a public marina, the Toronto Island Marina, and several smaller clubs including the Toronto Island Sailing Club, the Sunfish Cut Boat Club and the Toronto Island Canoe Club. There is also a dragon boat regatta course and grandstand, where the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is held annually.

    There are public tennis courts located at Hanlan's Point and a community tennis club at the Ward's Island Tennis Club

    For many years the Caribana has held an annual arts festival at Olympic Island on the Simcoe Day weekend. Other Island events include the Olympic Island Festival, an annual rock concert initiated in 2004 by Sloan's Jay Ferguson. The Wakestock festival has also been held on the islands.

    1975–1985 The Canadian Open Frisbee Championships, Olympic and Wards Island, introduced disc sports to Canadians.

    CommunityEdit

    A community of about 300 homes still remains on the Toronto Islands, concentrated at the eastern end of the island chain on Ward's Island and Algonquin Island. Under the terms of the Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act there are strict rules under provincial law governing the buying and selling of these homes.

    There are two daycare centres, one school and one church on the islands. The Toronto Island Public School (30 Centre Island Park), a public school located at Gibraltar Point, operates a day programme for island residents, residents of the Toronto waterfront and other students that can apply for enrollment, up to grade 6, a residential natural science programme for visiting grade 5/6 students from the mainland, and a pre-school nursery. The Waterfront Montessori Children's Centre (18 Wyandot Avenue), a non-profit, parent run co-operative pre-school nursery for children aged 2½ to 5, is located on Algonquin Island. St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church (102 Lakeshore Avenue) is an Anglican church located on Centre Island which serves the islands' residents and visitors. The semi-Gothic/Medieval/Stick Style building was built in 1884.

    The Ward's Island residential community encompasses 12 acres (5 ha) of the entire 820-acre (330 ha) Toronto Island park. There are approximately 150 residences, most of which are occupied on a yearly basis and a centrally located Ward's Island Association club house which was built 1937-8. The layout of the streets remains as it has been since 1915 and the streets are nam

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