Toronto Island (also called the Toronto Islands or Toronto Island Park) is actually the common name for a small chain of islands in western Lake Ontario. They provide shelter for Toronto's harbour and are a frequent destination for recreation.
The first ferry to cross Toronto Harbour to the Toronto Islands was in 1833. Eventually, two competing ferry companies came into being: the Turner Ferry Company and A.J. Tymon's Island Ferry Company. In 1906 (to 1910), the Toronto Ferry Company built two double-decked, double-ended paddle steamers, with a capacity of 1,450 passengers.
The Toronto Islands were not always islands but a series of continuously moving sandbars originating from Scarborough Bluffs and carried westward by Lake Ontario currents. Eroded stone of the Scarborough Bluffs was carried westward by Lake Ontario currents to create the islands. By the early 1800’s the longest of these bars extended nearly 9 kilometres southwest from Woodbine Avenue, through Ashbridge’s Bay and the marshes of the lower Don River, forming a natural harbour between the lake and the mainland.
Centre Island is between Hanlan’s Point and Ward’s Island. A carriage route along the peninsula connecting the mainland to Gibraltar Point Lighthouse later evolved into Lake Shore Avenue, the main east-west axis along Centre Island. By the late 1800’s, many of Toronto’s wealthiest families, like the Hanlans and Wards, built beautiful Victorian summer homes along Lake Shore Avenue, east from Manitou Road to Ward’s Island.
An amusement park and a baseball stadium for 10,000 spectators were built in the 1890s. Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run there.
Appearances and Mentions
Let Loose the Dogs (mention)
- Dr. Julia Ogden accompanies William Murdoch to Toronto Island after Murdoch's father, Harry, is exonerated of the murder of John Delaney. She suggests a walk on the island might be calming.
Houdini Whodunit (mention)
- Julia Ogden reveals that she was once arrested for swimming off Hanlan’s Point sans clothing, inferring that her wealthy family owns a summer home on Toronto Island (ep.718).