Ward’s Island Homes and Gardens

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 42 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #92. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

During one of my island summer getaways, I took a walk to explore the residential area on Ward’s Island. There are 262 homes on Ward’s Island and approximately 650 people live there year round, including many seniors.

The following gallery shows some of the unique homes and gardens on my walk. Some are old cottages and some have been renovated. Note the cute self-serve library and art gallery. A number of artists live on Ward’s Island and Algonquin Island. I plan to do an art walk to see their artworks on another day.

The top left image in the gallery is The Waiting Shed which was built at the Ward’s Island ferry dock in 1916. Among its charming features that have survived are the bell-cast roof and multiple-pane windows. Over its 100 years, the shelter was modified in various ways.

In 2017, the city government responsible for parks and heritage, along with Island residents, began restoring and modernizing the aging building. Windows and doors have been replaced and the entrance made more accessible.

Click on the top left image and use the arrows to move through the gallery. Brief captions included.

I also visited the Grow TO Greens Food Security Project. It’s a joint urban agriculture initiative of the City of Toronto and the Toronto Island Café. All the organic produce grown in the Café garden is planted, tended, harvested, weighed and transported weekly (by bicycle) by volunteers to downtown Toronto food banks.

In front of Ward’s Island Association Club House is the beautiful 12-foot diameter Willow Square Mosaic, created by a group of Islanders to celebrate the Island’s history: its history, people and the natural world that has shaped it. The mosaics were inspired by the works of Maggie Howarth, a renowned pebble mosaic artist working in England and Europe.

The image represents an island with a central willow tree whose intertwined trunk symbolizes the two communities of Ward’s and Algonquin. The roots of the tree reaches into the surrounding water. The mosaic focuses on the natural world, with a small band of ceramic houses, bicycles and carts bringing Island community life into the image.

I always enjoy exploring the Toronto Islands. Last weekend I returned for a 8 km (5 miles) family walk on a beautiful sunny day. I hope to share pictures from that walk in my monthly update for October next week.

How was your week?

Shared with #ThursdayDoors, #PPAC#68.

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86 thoughts on “Ward’s Island Homes and Gardens

  1. leannelc October 21, 2022 / 8:34 am

    There are some lovely homes in your photos Natalie – I think it would be lovely to live on an island where there are so few other residents – very tranquil. That mosaic at the end was also beautiful and very unusual with the stones being used.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 6:53 pm

      Hi Leanne, Ward’s island community is unique and the residents that I met are friendly. I love that the Willow Square mosaic. It is a beauty and an example of the community spirit on the island.


  2. Dan Antion October 21, 2022 / 8:35 am

    These are lovely homes, Natalie. I really like the garden areas and the entry gates and arches. I think it would be fun to come home to such a setting. The cottage gallery is an interesting concept. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. The little free library is something I always enjoy seeing. Thanks for sharing with Thursday Doors.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:04 pm

      Dan, Some of those homes have entrances with strategically planted trees so they look welcoming and private at the same time. The artists who live on Ward’s and Algonquin islands have their cottage gallery in front of their home to display their artwork and business card. It’s a creative and unique idea. I met one of the artists who was updating her gallery. I look forward to taking an art walk to see all the galleries on the islands. Thank you for hosting Thursday Doors.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan Antion October 22, 2022 / 7:59 am

        I hope you will share those galleries if you take that walk. I’ve never heard about anything like that. It’s such an interesting idea.


        • Natalie October 22, 2022 / 9:59 am

          I have that art walk on my ‘Fun to explore’ list 🙂 I need to map my route to see hopefully all of the cottage galleries in one walk. I’ll share my findings for sure.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Writing Sparkle October 21, 2022 / 9:28 am

    Those are some cute house designs. I like the cottage feel. The Waiting Shed is great.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:06 pm

      Thank you, Shari, for your comment. I was glad that the Waiting Shed was restored.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean October 21, 2022 / 10:30 am

    The mosaic is beautiful and I like knowing its meaning. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Plus I like willow trees, so how could it not call to me?


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:07 pm

      I didn’t know you like willow trees. That mosaic is beautiful and I love its meaning.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Jackie October 21, 2022 / 11:14 am

    I always enjoy the Islands and realized I haven’t gone over since the pandemic.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:09 pm

      I try to go to the islands at least once every year as I love being there.


  6. Susanne October 21, 2022 / 11:25 am

    Hi Natalie, it was very enjoyable seeing all those little houses on the island! So many different shapes and designs. And the mosaic is wonderful! I was wondering first what it’s made of and then I re-read that it was pebbles. Absolutely lovely. I’ve had a busy week with school work but will take the weekend off and focus on music.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:14 pm

      Hi Susanne, I love that the Willow Square mosaic is made of pebbles. Natural materials and reflective of the beaches around the islands. Have a relaxing and wonderful weekend!


  7. restlessjo October 21, 2022 / 1:57 pm

    Those island homes are beautiful, Natalie. What will it be like there in winter?


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:21 pm

      In winter, it’s quiet and beautiful (to me) on the islands. There is regular, year-round daily ferry service to Ward’s Island; the Island public school runs under the same schedule as public schools on the mainland; there is a Fire and Emergency Services station on the island, etc. so the islanders are well connected to the city.


  8. Thistles and Kiwis October 21, 2022 / 3:02 pm

    What a wonderful place to visit – so much to see and I get the sense of a real community there too.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:24 pm

      Exactly. I love going to the Toronto islands and take in their uniqueness.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:30 pm

      Thank you, Donna, for your comment. I look forward to taking an art walk on the islands. I need to map my route as the cottage galleries spread out on Ward’s and Algonquin islands.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rawsonjl October 21, 2022 / 3:26 pm

    That mosaic is so pretty! What beautiful homes.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:31 pm

      Agreed. The islanders did an amazing job with that mosaic.


  10. Lydia C. Lee October 21, 2022 / 4:41 pm

    That gate and the top right corner house are gorgeous! How lovely! We have Pocket City Farms near us and they look a lot like that food security cafe. It’s such a charming little escape for a meal….


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:39 pm

      Yes, some of the island homes look gorgeous and the windows face Lake Ontario so they have beautiful water views, too.


  11. Debbie October 21, 2022 / 6:11 pm

    How lovely Natalie, what interesting houses and surrounds there are! I love the mosaics, they are so clever, especially like the bikes!


  12. Piglet in Portugal October 21, 2022 / 7:20 pm

    Hi Natalie, I finally made it to the #weekendcoffeeshare!

    I love the unusual wooden houses … and the mosaic is stunning. I mosaic using glass and would love to try pebbles as displayed in the picture


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:47 pm

      Hi PiP, I’m so glad you joined us this weekend. I think using pebbles to make mosaics is such a beautiful idea. You may want to visit Maggie Howarth’s website and blog for pictures and posts on how to design a pebble mosaic, the process, etc. If you do make a pebble mosaic, I hope you share its image on your blog.


  13. Tessa October 21, 2022 / 7:35 pm

    You really have such lovely views around you. Here at the facility I got one of the better views they have although I found out if I went to the second floor I could have gotten a better view of the lake and not just the trees. Although I didn’t want to be upstairs and so far from the dining room and the front door, besides they only offered the first floor when I went so I got the best view I could.


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 7:48 pm

      I’m glad you got the best view you could and have easy access to the dining room and the front door.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Marsha October 21, 2022 / 10:06 pm

    Natalie, you picked another super charming place to visit and photograph. What a talented artist you featured. From a distance, the willow tree almost looks like a rug. It would be so much fun to have watched her create that beautiful work of art- finding each stone, the perfect shape and color, and putting it in just the right place. Truly amazing. Thanks for sharing, Natalie. Hope to be by tomorrow with mine. 🙂


    • Natalie October 21, 2022 / 10:36 pm

      Thank you, Marsha. The mosaic was actually created by a group of islanders. They were inspired by the works of Maggie Howarth. I look forward to your post. Have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Marsha October 22, 2022 / 12:36 am

        You have a wonderful weekend as well, Natalie.


  15. Jennifer Jones October 22, 2022 / 1:14 am

    Hi Natalie. The homes in your photos are beautiful. What a lovely, peaceful and serene place to live. I love the library and the food security project


    • Natalie October 22, 2022 / 10:01 am

      Thank you, Jennifer. I love going to the islands for their natural beauty and tranquility. The free library and food project are excellent community initiatives.


  16. Ju-Lyn October 22, 2022 / 2:42 am

    Pretty houses, Natalie! Such a nice walk it must have been!
    And I love very much the willow tree representation in the stone mosaic – so beautiful.


    • Natalie October 22, 2022 / 10:04 am

      Thank you, Ju-Lyn. I’m glad you like the houses and the mosaic. I love walking on the islands, lots of natural beauty to experience, as well as local artworks.


  17. trentpmcd October 22, 2022 / 7:46 am

    Very cool mosaic! The island looks like a lovely place. there is something about islands… I hope you have a great weekend and a wonderful week ahead!


    • Natalie October 22, 2022 / 10:06 am

      Trent, I agreed there is something about islands. They usually have beautiful scenery and artistic and community-minded people. Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Amila October 22, 2022 / 10:28 am

    These houses and gardens are beautiful. It is nice to identify those with the colour of the doors. The pebble mosaics are amazing and creative. Hope to see more photos of your walks.
    Have a great weekend!


    • Natalie October 22, 2022 / 5:41 pm

      Thanks, Amila. I’m glad you enjoyed my post and photos.


    • Natalie October 22, 2022 / 5:44 pm

      You’re welcome, Pam. Thank you for your feedback.


  19. Deborah Drucker October 22, 2022 / 8:17 pm

    Charming houses, cottages, and art center. The mosaic is outstanding.


  20. Janet Alcorn October 22, 2022 / 11:50 pm

    Lovely homes, and that mosaic is amazing. Looks like a magical place.


    • Natalie October 23, 2022 / 9:06 am

      Ward’s island is lovely. Thank you for taking time out from your editing project to comment on my blog.


  21. Forestwood October 23, 2022 / 6:17 am

    What a beautiful mosaic, Natalie. And especially nice that it symbolises the joining of the two communities. Ward’s Island looks delightful. Looking forward to seeing the Toronto Islands in a future post.


    • Natalie October 23, 2022 / 9:12 am

      Amanda, Good to see you and thank you for your comment. I hope to do a self-guided art walk on the islands. Once I get it done, I’ll write about it even though I’ve written about the Toronto Islands a few times. I love going there for their natural beauty and tranquility.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Maria October 23, 2022 / 7:40 am

    What an idyllic place. I particularly liked that the homes were on the smaller side, and very personal. Thank you for showing us this beautiful place.


    • Natalie October 23, 2022 / 9:13 am

      You’re welcome, Maria. I love going to the Toronto islands for nature and tranquility.


  23. Antoinette Truglio Martin October 23, 2022 / 10:10 am

    Lovely pictures and a big WOW to the mosaics. Thank you, as always, for the tour.


    • Natalie October 23, 2022 / 2:08 pm

      Thank you, Antoinette. I’m glad you enjoyed the tour.


  24. Terri Webster Schrandt October 23, 2022 / 10:45 am

    Beautiful views of Ward’s Island, Natalie! Gorgeous homes there. Toronto has islands? Better check my google maps!


    • Natalie October 23, 2022 / 2:11 pm

      Hi Terri, Yes, there are 13 or so islands just off Toronto’s mainland. Two of them (Ward’s and Algonquin islands) have inhabitants, the rest is nature and beaches.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. csuhpat1 October 23, 2022 / 1:42 pm

    Wow, such beautiful homes. So very nice. What a cool place. I would love to visit there. Thanks for sharing.


    • Natalie October 23, 2022 / 2:12 pm

      Thank you, Patrick, for your comment. Have a great weekend!


  26. Deborah October 23, 2022 / 6:54 pm

    Some interesting houses and architecture there. I love the second pic of a door – that is seemingly pointless as you can get around it easily but it’s quite majestic.

    Incidentally I’m a bit thrown by your mention of 42 weeks having passed this year. I thought… that can’t be right. But – gulp – guess it is!


    • Natalie October 23, 2022 / 7:31 pm

      Time flies and yes, 42 week have passed this year. The interesting door in the second pic certainly makes the house unique and memorable.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Kirstin October 24, 2022 / 9:50 pm

    THose houses are awesome. I love the mosaics too!!


    • Natalie October 25, 2022 / 8:35 am

      Thank you, Kirstin. The islanders have made an amazing mosaic.


  28. anexactinglife October 25, 2022 / 7:47 pm

    It must be quite a contrast to leave a city neighbourhood and go somewhere so quiet, genteel and cottagey! I love urban landscapes and human-made art and design…but in a setting that incorporates nature…even better!


    • Natalie October 25, 2022 / 7:57 pm

      I love that I can go from the bustling city to the tranquil islands by ferry which takes about 13 minutes. Once I’m on the islands and on a weekday, it’s peaceful and wonderful.


  29. Diana October 29, 2022 / 9:55 pm

    Hi Natalie!
    Such beautiful photos from your island visit! I always enjoy your posts so much and sorry I’ve been absent of late managing to do only monthly shares at this time. It’s been so busy for me I can barely keep up! I hope you have a wonderful weekend and week ahead. I can’t believe it’s November next week! Happy Halloween!! ~Diana 😀


    • Natalie October 29, 2022 / 10:27 pm

      Hi Diana, I’m glad you can join us this weekend. Blog when you can, no need to feel bad or get stressed out about blogging. I always enjoy reading your posts and I’m happy to hear that you also enjoy mine. I hope you have a fun Halloween weekend and a more relaxing November 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Diana October 29, 2022 / 11:00 pm

        Thank you Natalie! Truly words of wisdom, and I won’t stress about blogging. Great advice!! 🥰

        Liked by 1 person

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