How to Paddle Board Through the Toronto Islands
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Toronto doesn’t seem like a place you should have at the top of your SUP wish list, right? Wrong - it’s an amazing stand up paddle boarding destination! I love exploring nature by SUP and the Toronto Islands are a perfect urban oasis. The Toronto Islands are just a short ferry ride from downtown Toronto. The Islands are full of wildlife, trees, and beautiful bridges. Birds were flying around me as I paddled my way through the many canals. I also saw turtles and the most beautiful swans! It’s a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The main reason for my trip to Toronto was for SUP yoga teacher training, so I brought my own paddle board to use for training and my own exploring. There are two ways I found to launch and explore the Toronto Islands, but rentals are also available.
This beach is where I launched from and is easily accessible from downtown. I rode a bike there, but the beach also has a parking lot. The paddle from Cherry Beach to the edge of the Toronto Islands is about 10 minutes. As you paddle around the corner from the beach, you’ll be stunned by the Toronto skyline in the background of the Islands. Since I rode a bike to Cherry Beach, I ended up docking at the other end of the Islands and taking the ferry back to downtown. The ferry only has a ticket booth on the city side, so my ride home ended up being free!
Launching from the shores of the Toronto Islands is another option. There are three ferry ports on the Islands, but the Centre Island Ferry was the only option when I was there. There is a nice park area near the ferry port where I docked my paddle board, and would work for launching, as well.
Toronto Islands SUP
Don’t own a paddle board? No problem, you can still explore the Islands by SUP. Just check out Toronto Islands SUP for rental and tour options!
I’d recommend studying a map of the Islands before your paddle trip. There are many canals to explore and even a beach side opposite the city. My paddle from Cherry Beach, to the west side of the islands, and back to Centre Island was about 5 miles. The Islands were flooded while I was there, so paddling under some of the bridges was a little tight, but fun! The water was so still - perfect for paddling and capturing gorgeous reflection pictures! I even paddled around an amusement park and the swans are just incredibly beautiful (I know I’ve already given a shout out to the swans, but they were stunning!).
People live on the Islands, so you’ll see house boats, marinas, a bike path, and restaurants along the way. The best place for pictures of the skyline is on the west end of the Islands near the airport. You can see the Toronto skyline in all its glory and watch as the planes take off and land. It’s an incredibly peaceful experience right off the coast of the city.
I live in Chicago and value all the places I can go to experience a little slice of nature in the middle of the city. It’s essential for those of us that are outdoor enthusiasts. From the first moment I entered the Islands, I felt like I was miles from the city. The peaceful paddle included all the sounds of nature - birds chirping, rustling of leaves, water disruption with every paddle stroke, and wildlife everywhere. It was so serene and provided the connection to nature we all crave. This, along with the incredible skyline views on the edge of the Islands make this the perfect city SUP experience. I highly recommend checking out the Toronto Islands if you are in the area - paddle board or not.