How to Take the Ferry to the Toronto Islands


Getty Images / Bert Hoferichter

The quiet, relaxing beauty of the Toronto Islands (also known as Toronto Island Park), is just a short ferry ride away from Toronto's downtown core.

Here's what you need to know about taking the Toronto ferry to visit this park on the water, relax on one of the island beaches, or join in the fun at the seasonal Centreville Amusement Park.

The Toronto Islands

There is a central dock on the Toronto mainland from which three ferries head out across Lake Ontario. One goes to Hanlan's Point, one goes to Centre Island, and the third goes to Ward's Island. Although the three islands have distinct names (and docks) you can easily walk from one to the other. This means you can never really take the "wrong" ferry, but you'll likely want to wait for a certain ferry depending on how and where you plan to spend your day.

  • Centre Island: Centre Island is most famous for the family-friendly Centreville Amuseument Park, whose 600 acres feature 30-plus rides and attractions and 14 food vendors. If theme parks aren't your jam, the island is also home to a children's garden, a sandy beach, and a pier that overlooks the Toronto skyline.
  • Hanlan's Point: The Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, the Great Lakes' oldest existing lighthouse, is one of two main attractions on Hanlan's Point. The other, Hanlan's Point Beach, is largely known for its clothing-optional section, but it has recently begun picking up steam as a kiteboarding destination. Billy Bishop Airport can be found here as well.
  • Ward's Island: This island is mostly residential, but it does have a beach, boardwalk, and soccer field. If you're feeling hungry, you can grab a bite to eat at the Island Cafe or The Riviera.

How to Get to the Ferry Terminal

You can get on any Toronto Island ferry from the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal (the ferry docks) located near the base of Bay Street, south of Queens Quay.

To get to the ferry terminal from Union Station, you have a few options. You could walk, which would take you about 10 minutes. If you'd prefer to take public transit (Toronto Transit Commission, or TTC), you can take a southbound streetcar, either the 509 or 510. It is a very short ride to the Queens Quay-Ferry Docks underground stop. Alternatively, you can take the southbound Bay Bus #6 from the corner of Front and Bay to the Bay and Queens Quay stop. If you're arriving by car, there are paid parking lots within approximately a block of Queens Quay and Bay Street in each direction.

When you reach the docks, you'll find the pedestrian entrance tucked back from the road on the west side of the Westin Harbour Castle hotel. Walk south into Harbour Square Park at Bay and Queens Quay; the ferry entrance will come up on your left.

Toronto Ferry Fares

As of January 2023, a return trip on a Toronto ferry costs:

  • $8.70 for adults
  • $5.50 for youth (15-19) and older adults (over 65)
  • $4.10 for Juniors (under 14)
  • Children under 2 ride free

Note that a 10 percent discount is given when you purchase 10 or more return tickets. There are also monthly passes available for $110.60 for adults, $82.50 for youth and older adults, and $55.45 for juniors. Fares and monthly pass-saving rates are subject to change.

You can buy tickets either at the ferry docks (Booths 3 to 9) or online. If you're going to buy tickets at the ferry docks, prepare for long lines in July and August. For this reason, it can be easier to buy tickets online, in advance. This won't get you priority boarding, but it does mean you skip the ticketing line.

The Toronto Ferry Schedule

The Toronto ferry schedules are seasonal, changing for the spring, summer, fall, and winter. The biggest difference between the schedules is that the Centre Island ferry doesn't run in the winter when the Centreville Amusement Park is closed. In general, ​Toronto's ferry service is fairly frequent, often with a trip to and from each dock every half-hour. For a casual island visit in the middle of the day, it's easy to just head to a dock and wait. If you'll be around into the evening hours, be sure to note the times of the last ferries back to the mainland. Travel time to and from the islands is about 15 minutes each way. Check the current ferry schedule when planning your visit.

For more information, head to Toronto Island Park's official website.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Are pets allowed on the ferry?

    Pets are also welcome on the ferry for no extra charge, but they must be on a leash at all times.

  • Does the ticket include a return?

    Your ticket to the islands does include a return. Once you're on the island, the assumption is that you must have paid to get there, so you won't need to show a ticket to get on a return ferry. With this in mind, it obviously doesn't matter which ferry you take in each direction. For example, you can easily take the Centre Island ferry on the trip out, then walk over and take the Ward's Island ferry for your return.

  • Can I bring my bike onboard the ferry?

    There is no extra charge to bring your bike on the ferry—in fact, cycling is a very popular way to explore the Toronto Islands. However, e-bikes that weigh more than 88 pounds (40 kilograms), motorcycles, and electric scooters are not allowed. You're also welcome to bring along inline skates or roller skates, but note that you can't wear them on the ferry itself.

  • How do I get to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport?

    If you need to get to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (also referred to as the Toronto Island Airport), the ferries discussed here are NOT what you want to use. Visit the airport's official website for more information on getting to and from your flight.

  • Can I bring my car to the Toronto Islands?

    Cars and other motorized vehicles, including motorcycles and scooters, are not allowed on the Toronto Islands without a special advance permit deeming them necessary.