Ward’s Island Summer Getaways

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m glad you’re here. It’s week 38 in 2022 and I’m hosting Weekend Coffee Share linkup #88. Come on in for a coffee or tea, and let’s catch up.

With Autumn officially arrived on September 22 in the Northern Hemisphere, I want to wrap up my summer 2022 with a post about a few getaways that I made to the Toronto Islands. The Toronto Islands have been my go-to destination for quick getaways and vitamin N (Nature) for many years.

I wrote about Ward’s Island and some of its historic landmarks here. This summer I explored Ward’s Island on foot, by bike and kayak on different trips. Here are some of the highlights of my getaways in pictures.

Getting there

By ferry or water taxi. From Toronto mainland to Centre Island or Ward’s Island, the ferry ride takes about 12 minutes.

Getting around

By bike or on foot. Only authorized vehicles are allowed on Toronto Islands. You can bring your own bike or rent a bike in the summer. Without traffic noise and nature all around, the islands are tranquil and beautiful to experience.

Ward’s Island has a long boardwalk with panoramic views of Lake Ontario. Sandy pathways at the east end of the island lead to Ward’s Island Beach. Ward’s Island Beach has earned blue flag certification. Its calm water makes it ideal for swimming.

Exploring by kayak

The calm waters in the lagoons of the islands offer adventure around every corner, great views of the city and wildlife abound. Paddling around Toronto Islands has a seductive power that I enjoy.

There’s a calming effect revealed while I’m isolated and floating on the water, and it’s only broken by splashing cormorants, gulls calling from above, turtles getting on and off tree logs, dragonflies dancing across my kayak, and herons or egrets taking off.

From Centre Island to Ward’s Island, I kayak by a few floating homes and under three bridges. The first bridge connects Ward’s Island with Snug Harbour, the second bridge connects Ward’s Island with Snake Island and the third bridge connects Ward’s Island with Algonquin Island.

The sights of blue sky, white fluffy clouds, green trees, brown soil, clear water that expose aquatic plants, reflections on water, and the smell of summer air make me feel like Mother Nature is pampering me with the best natural spa experience.

Every time I go to the Toronto Islands, I come home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated. I will be back.

Shared with Denyse’s WW&Pics, Jo’s Monday Walk.

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Afloat On Water #SundayStills

I’m delighted to be hosting the Sunday Stills photography challenge while host Terri Webster Schrandt continues her blogging break.

Thank you to everyone who joined me for the Sunday Stills photography challenge last week. I appreciate your beautiful photography and fun conversations. I’ve compiled the list of In The Garden Bloggers’ Links at the end of this post for easy reference.

This week’s theme: Afloat

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Afloat’? I think of floating art, aquatic plants, water birds, and boats that I’ve seen this summer. Let me share a few photos with you.

The Peacemaker’s Canoe

This temporary art exhibit is floating in Toronto’s Harbour. It’s a geometric, reflective shape that forms into a mirrored crescent bobbing on the water like a canoe.

The Peacemaker's Canoe.
The Peacemaker’s Canoe by Jay Havens.
The Peacemaker's Canoe info board.
The Peacemaker’s Canoe information board.

Island Life

I love observing aquatic life and floating houses when I’m out paddling within Toronto Islands. There are people living in houses on Ward’s Island and a number of floating homes and houseboats in various marinas.

This floating house has a nice painting on the side and pretty potted flowers at the front ‘porch’ and the upper deck. It also has a red kayak ready to go.

A floating house and kayak.
A floating house and kayak.
Aquatic plants and lily pad.
Aquatic plants and lily pad.
A sailboat floating on idyllic water.
A sailboat floating on idyllic water.
A muted swan and ducks.
A muted swan and ducks.

The Waterfront

Toronto’s waterfront has several marinas and piers for all kinds of boats, tall ships, and yachts. The marinas are full in the summer. There are also places where I can rent a kayak or a paddle board and go paddling.

Kayaking towards Humber Bay.
I’m kayaking west towards Humber Bay. That’s a wind turbine on the right.
Sailboats in a marina.
Sailboats stay afloat in a marina.

Visitors can book boat tours to sail in Toronto Harbour or take the ferry or water taxis to go to Toronto Islands. In the following photo, see how many things are afloat on the water.

A sunset cruise on the tall ship Kajama.
A sunset cruise on the tall ship Kajama.

Those are a few interesting things that I saw afloat. I captured all of the above photos with my cell phone. Shared for #CellpicSunday.

I’m looking forward to seeing all your entries for this week’s Sunday Stills photography challenge. I’m hosting Sunday Stills again next week when the theme is ‘Colourful Murals’.

How to participate in the Sunday Still photography challenge

  • Please create a new post for the theme.
  • Title the post a little differently than mine.
  • Enter the link party by clicking on the InLinkz button below and follow the prompt.
  • If you’re on WordPress, remember to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week (not just on a Sunday).
  • Use the hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

In The Garden Bloggers’ Links

Below are the last week’s links from bloggers who shared their gardens or garden visits with their beautiful photos:

Have a great week!

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Hawk, Heron and Kayaking Fun

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #30! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate, or a cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a fantastic week with a mix of sunny days and some showers. I enjoyed cycling, walking, playing disc golf, strength training, meditation, yoga, learning French and Spanish, watching Olympic highlights, photography, reading and writing. I went canoeing and kayaking. I had a few nice surprises.

1. A Red-Tailed Hawk

One morning as I cycled to Ontario Place to go kayaking, I spotted a hawk on a fence post. I turned my bike around to get a good look. I’ve seen hawks in Toronto before but this was the first time I was about 2m (6 ft) from a calm red-tailed hawk. What a thrill to observe this beauty up close!

Red-tailed hawk.
A magnificent red-tailed hawk.

2. Dr. Duke Redbird

I continued cycling to the South Marina. Dr. Duke Redbird was at the Big House Canoe (Wigwam Chi-Chemung) that I wrote about here. I said hello and we chatted. As a few ducks swam towards us, he mentioned that they like oatmeal. It was an unexpected and nice encounter with Dr. Redbird at his houseboat.

Dr. Redbird at his Wigwam Chi-Chemung (Big House Canoe).
Dr. Redbird on his houseboat.

3. A Great Blue Heron

I picked up my kayak rental and paddled for about two hours. I saw many colourful fish amid green aquatic plants. Blue and red dragonflies flitted around me and some of them landed on my kayak.

Blue kayak.

At the Fish Habitat, I saw a Great Blue Heron! This stately heron with its subtle blue-gray plumage stood motionless as it scanned for prey. I paddled quietly to get closer and we watched each other in silence.

A Great Blue Heron – What a majestic sight!

I paddled away and when I circled back, the Great Blue Heron was still there. It moved from the tree log to the river bank, to the rock, and flew to a small island in the Habitat before I left.

Great blue heron.
“I’m over here”
Great blue heron.
Wait, I see something!

4. Other Aquatic Life

I saw cormorants, a variety of ducks, and a muted swan. The cormorants are swift divers. The ducks and the swan were less shy and let me take their photos. Some of the ducks swam merrily alongside my kayak. I love it when they do that.

The water was so calm and clear, I could see the bottom of the lagoon. I also got a close-up view of green floating mats and white water crowfoot flowers.

Aquatic plants and flowers.
Aquatic plants and flowers.

5. Over Floe by John Notten

My kayaking fun continued as I paddled to Over Floe, a floating art creation by John Notten. He also designed the Plant It Forward urban garden sculpture that I shared in my previous post. I was glad to see this interesting art exhibit first on the water.

Truck, School
Bank, House and Factory

Then from land after I finished kayaking. Here are two views of Over Floe and what Notten says about each view. Click on each image to enlarge it.

It was a wonderful outing. I had a blast!

Linked to #LifeThisWeek, #PPAC7, #TreeSquare30, #WWE90.

How was your week? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Summer Week 5: A Grand Day Out

Kayaks at Trout Pond

Hello blog friends! Glad to see you. Come on in to my blog space, make yourself comfortable with tea or coffee (hot or iced) and let’s have a chat.

Summer week 5, from July 19 to 25 inclusive, was mostly sunny and warm. The high temperatures ranged from 26C to 31C. With humidity, it felt like 30C to 36C (86F to 97F). We had severe thunderstorm and lightning on Sunday afternoon and intermittent showers on Wednesday. The rain water turned the grass in the parks from yellow to green again.

Kayaking to and within Toronto Islands

On a hot and sunny day of the week, I had a grand day out kayaking with my small social bubble. We paddled from the city side towards Hanlan’s Point (lower right on the map) and weaved our kayaks to Trout Pond (top right).

Source: City of Toronto, Toronto Island Park map

We explored the aquatic plants and bird life in and around Trout Pond and Lighthouse Pond. I saw white water lilies, baby turtles, small fish, ducks and ducklings, geese, swans, dragonflies, terns, and many other birds. We kayaked and swam in the ponds for a while as the water was so nice.

White water lily on Toronto Islands

Around 1 PM, we left our kayaks by the shore and had a nice picnic lunch on a grassy area under a few big trees. There was a lovely light breeze all afternoon. After lunch, we walked to Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, Gibraltar Point Beach, and Gibraltar Point Sand Dune.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

The Gibraltar Point lighthouse, which now stands inland because of shifting land masses, was built in 1808 to protect ships coming into Toronto harbour from washing ashore during storms. It’s the oldest landmark in Toronto, the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and the second oldest surviving lighthouse in Canada.

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

It is said that the Gibraltar Point lighthouse is haunted. Its first lighthouse keeper J.P. Radan Muller, was murdered by two soldiers from Fort York. The ghost of of J.P. Radan Muller returns every summer, and on hot summer nights, his howls can be heard from one end of the island to the other.

Gibraltar Point Beach

With a blue sky and a sandy beach, it’s hard to believe we’re only 15 minutes from downtown Toronto. Gibraltar Point Beach is perfect for taking a swim during the hot summer. The City of Toronto has advised people to practice physical distancing at a beach or park (or can receive a $1,000 ticket).

Path to Gibraltar Point Beach
Path to Gibraltar Point Beach. The water was clear and felt great on a hot summer day.

Gibraltar Point Sand Dune

The Toronto Island Sand Dunes are home to several rare plant species and have been classified as an Environmentally Significant Area by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. Dunes are fragile so visitors must stay on designated trails and boardwalks, and respect vegetated areas.

Boardwalk at Gibraltar Point Sand Dune.
Boardwalk at Gibraltar Point Sand Dune

Egrets and Herons

Late afternoon, we got back to our kayaks and paddled to Long Pond, then towards Centre Island and Ward’s Island before heading back from Royal Canadian Yacht Club marina to the city side.

I spotted two snowy egrets and two great blue herons in various areas of the islands. Click on the photos below to enlarge them. Can you see the egrets and herons?

Snowy egret on Toronto Islands
Snowy egret on Toronto Islands
Great blue heron on a tree trunk on Toronto Islands
Great blue heron on a tree trunk on Toronto Islands

It was tricky to paddle quietly to get as close to the birds as possible, then got my phone out from the pocket of my life jacket, and balanced myself in my kayak to take some photos before they flew away.

The egret and heron sightings filled me with a sense of awe and ended my grand day out with a big smile.

Snow egret on Toronto Islands
Snowy egret on Toronto Islands
Grey heron on Toronto Islands
Great blue heron on Toronto Islands


Summer week 5 was fantastic. I got all my outdoor and indoor activities done. I broke my own ‘personal best’ record of the number of books I read in a month in 2020. Eleven books so far with five days left in July. The weather forecast predicts sunny and warm days for this coming week. I look forward to making the most of summer week 6.

How did your week go? What made you smile? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

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Summer Week 3: The Heat Is On

Hello blog friends! How are things going? I hope all’s well with you. Come on in to my blog space for a chat, make yourself comfortable, and let’s catch up on our news.

From where I am, the heat continued during the third week of summer, from July 5 to 11 inclusive. The high temperatures ranged from 30C to 38C. With humidity, it felt like 36C to 42C (97F to 108F). We had some relief from a flash thunderstorm on Wednesday afternoon and short showers on Saturday.

Similar to my Summer Week 2, I got all my exercises, yoga, meditation, and language lessons done, plus a lot of fun and sun in week 3. I’m sharing a few of my favourite moments from my outdoor activities below.


I cycled on the Waterfront trail five mornings this past week. The trail hugs the shoreline of Lake Ontario and passes by many parks so I’m never far from the lake and green space, as well as local landmarks.

One favourite section of the trail is the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, a 130-metre long, pedestrian and bicycle through arch bridge over the mouth of the Humber River. The view from the Sheldon Lookout, steps from the bridge, is amazing.

Humber Bay Arch Bridge built in 1994, 130 metres long (430 feet).
Humber Bay Arch Bridge built in 1994, 130 metres long (430 feet)
Lake view at Sheldon Lookout.
Lake view from Sheldon Lookout


I enjoyed two kayaking trips to Toronto Islands on Tuesday and Thursday. The paddling from the city side to the Toronto Islands was challenging due to boat traffic, i.e. Ferries, water taxis, sailboats, canoes, kayaks, etc. but I made it safely across the harbour and stayed paddling within the islands for about three hours each trip.

The water within the islands was calm. I was happy to see more egrets, cormorants, ducks, birds, and new sightings this week: A beaver and a few very cute baby swans. On my way back, the sunset over Toronto’s skyline created beautiful reflections. These moments made me pause paddling and just take it all in.

A great egret on Toronto Islands.
A great egret on Toronto Islands
Great egret flew away.
And then s/he flew away…
Toronto skyline at sunset.
Toronto skyline at sunset


I walked every day this past week, except Saturday. It’s wonderful to walk along the waterfront boardwalk while listening to the sound of water touching the edge of the boardwalk, the sound of my steps on the wooden planks, watching the birds take off and land, and viewing the vast body of water spread out as far as the eyes can see.

Lake Ontario.
Lake Ontario

Aside from the lake, a few favourite sightings in the local gardens were the tall spires of violet delphiniums, black-eyed susans, and purple coneflowers. Their bright colours and happy faces made me smile. I couldn’t resist taking photos.

What Else?

I wrapped up the week with blogging, listening to one online jazz concert, reading four books, and watching two movies. The four books were three romance novels and one book on Happiness. The two movies, The Whole Wide World and The Big Short, were based on true stories. Also enjoyed ice cream, locally-grown peaches and strawberries. Yum!


I was a happy camper in summer week 3. The weather forecast for week 4 is warm with chance of showers on Thursday or Friday. The rain will be very good for the thirsty-looking grass in the parks. I look forward to making the most of week 4.

How did your week go? What were your favourite moments? I’d love to hear your comments.

Linking here.

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