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Toronto Harbour Cruise:
Lazy Summer Days

Take a Toronto harbour cruise to see the city waterfront, the Toronto islands, and the harbour.

And a Toronto harbour boat cruise is a great way to escape the heat on a hot summer's day.

The best reason for taking a harbour cruise is to see Toronto's skyline and waterfront from the water.

Even allowing for my suspicion of modern architecture, I feel Toronto has become a truly attractive city to live in and visit and the CN Tower is the best example of that.

Toronto Harbour Cruise -- City View

Toronto Harbour Cruise, city waterfront and skyline

The photo shows the venerable CN Tower still dwarfing all the new bank buildings and the sports arena, now called the Rogers Centre.

It used to be called the Skydome because its roof retracts for open-air play on good days and closes for those not-so-good days.

Toronto Harbour Islands

Toronto Harbour Cruise, Hanlan island and tug

This is Hanlan Island, once the home of the Hanlan family of Ontario pioneers, one of whom, Ned Hanlan was a champion rower. It's said he got to be so good because he rowed over to Toronto and back each day to go to school.

Today, Hanlan Island is more famous for the Toronto Island airport and the 'clothing-optional' beach (in Canada we don't like to be too explicit about some things:) but in days gone by, before Hurricane Hazel flattened everything in 1954, this was a party island with sports arenas, dance halls, and taverns. Americans flocked here during the Prohibition-era to drink the demon alcohol, which they couldn't get at home.

Toronto Harbour Cruise, view of Centre Island and downtown Toronto

As well as a sailing school (more below), Centre Island (the one on the right in the photo) also has beaches, boardwalks, cycle and walking trails, and a carnival park -- Centreville -- for smaller kids. Actually, I also prefer their rides to those of the big theme parks, such as Canada's Wonderland.

Many of the Toronto Harbour boat cruises drop off passengers at Centre Island and the passengers catch a later boat to complete the cruise. If you haven't another day to come back to the islands, this is a great stopover to make.

View of the City Airport and Sailing Schools

Toronto Harbour Cruise, plane approaching Toronto Island airport

One of the neatest things about being on a Toronto harbour cruise is that the planes going in to the island airport skim right overhead, like this one. It makes you want to take off your hat, just in case the pilot misjudged his approach for landing.

The Toronto Islands are also home to a number of sailing schools.

Toronto Harbour Cruise, sailing schools in the bay

There are a number of yacht clubs on the islands, some very exclusive and a marina for more regular boat owners. The yacht clubs have their own sailing schools but you have to be a member to sign up, which can be an expensive way to learn. However, there's a public sailing school on Centre Island where you can learn to sail without having to mortgage your house or your first-born.


Toronto Harbour Cruise, steam-powered ferry Trillium

If you have another day, take a ferry from the waterfront out to the islands and spend the day. The photo shows one of Toronto's vintage ferries, the Trillium (Ontario's Provincial flower), which is one of the earliest ferries and the last working steam-powered ferry in the fleet.

The Trillium is over 100 years old, having entered service in 1910.

Harbour Cruise Boat Ticket Office

Toronto Harbour Cruise, offices at Pier 6

You'll find the Toronto harbour cruise ticket offices down at the foot of Yonge Street and York Street, Pier 6 as shown in this photo. Cruises vary in price, schedule and itinerary so shop around. Here are links to some of the companies who run them, Harbour Cruises, Mariposa Cruises, and Boat Cruises.

Most start around C$25 for the shorter cruises and go up from there depending on the time and features, such as dinner cruises etc.

Return to Toronto or visit our pages, Casa Loma, AGO, and Distillery District for more Toronto attractions.

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And for a hotel in Ontario or anywhere else:

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