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The Toronto Islands, Toronto, Ontario

The Islands are a popular recreational destination, and are home to a small residential community and an airport. Geologically, the islands are composed of alluvial deposits from the erosion of the Scarborough Bluffs. The largest, outermost island, commonly called Centre Island, is crescent-shaped, and is located between Hanlan’s Point and Ward’s Island. Today it is the home of Centreville Amusement Park, but in the late 1800’s some of Toronto’s most affluent families built sprawling summer homes along Lake Shore Avenue. Algonquin Island and Olympic Island are two of the other major islands. What is commonly called Ward's Island is actually the eastern end of Centre Island. It is named after the Ward family who settled here in the 1830’s. A son, William, built the Ward’s Hotel in 1882 which became a Toronto landmark and attracted many visitors from far and wide. Hanlan's Point was once home to a baseball stadium. Babe Ruth once played here and hit his first professional home run into the water. The stadium was demolished in 1937. Today Hanlon’s Point, is named after the Hanlan family who settled here in 1862 and a descendant of the Hanlon family, Toronto rower Ned Hanlon. Several hotels were built and the area became a tourist mecca for city dwellers at the turn of the century. Today the area provides biking and rollerblading trails, as well as snack concessions, wading pools and tennis courts. The Islands comprise the largest urban car-free community in North America. Summer cottages from the 1920’s are home for several hundred families, and feature charming English-style gardens.  
View of the Toronto Islands and the Toronto Skyline

 

 

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