I never would have believed that I could come close to the sense of relaxed wellbeing I associate with the Greek Islands as a city dweller!
Originally a sandbar, the Toronto Islands were Ojibwa sacred land – a way has yet to be established to honour this history in today’s Canada. Toronto’s city fathers acquired title to the land from the Federal Government in 1867 to provide Toronto with its own playground to rival New York’s Central Park.
There is a lovely, serene quaintness about the islands, particularly as no cars other than service vehicles are allowed. Everything moves at a gentle pace, whether it is a bicycle made for four, a yacht, canoe or dragon boat making its way through one of the channels, a family ambling by. There is an amusement park for children, but it is blessedly low key – old fashioned family fun. Anyone for Frisbee golf?
The cottage communities at either extremity are a delight; the 262 remaining homes are owned mostly by writers and artists, those whose lifestyle is somewhat flexible and self-determined, as it is not always possible to commute through the ice that rimes the shores in winter. We wandered across arched bridges and along the tree lined streets, with glorious glimpses of the city skyline vying with views of open water and scudding sailboats.
Back on the main stretch of the island, the dappled shady green of parkland gives way to boardwalk, sea-wall, soft golden sand and cool, clear water . . .
(You will find lots more photos in our Toronto Islands album, including wonderful views of the city. We happened to choose the weekend of the Tall Ships Festival for our first trip to the islands, providing some added interest! )