Visiting Ward’s Island

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #38! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, or hot chocolate at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was a transition week from summer to autumn, with a mix of sunny days and rainy days. First day of autumn was September 22. I think the plants need the rain since the last two weeks of August was boiling hot and dry and we haven’t had enough rain since.

One place that I wanted to visit this summer is Ward’s Island. The stars aligned and I made the trip with my family on a gorgeous morning. Even though there is regular ferry service from the mainland to Ward’s Island, we took the ferry to Centre Island then walked to Ward’s Island, about 3.2 km (2 miles).

Gorgeous view from Centre Island bridge.
Gorgeous view from Centre Island bridge.

Ward’s Island is on the east side of the islands. This is the residential part of the island where the Toronto Island community is located. For a brief history of Toronto Islands, click here.

We visited two historic sites: The Royal Canadian Yacht Club since 1854 and St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church (or the Island Church) since 1884.

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club across the water.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club history.
The Royal Canadian Yacht Club history.
St. Andrew by-the-lake church entrance.
St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church entrance.
Side view of St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church.
Side view of St. Andrew By-The-Lake Church.
Paved path to the boardwalk.
We walked along the paved path to the boardwalk.
Boardwalk to Ward's Island.
Then along the boardwalk to Ward’s Island with beautiful park and lake views.
Lake view from the boardwalk.
The water was calm, clear and some areas sparkled like diamonds in the sunlight.
Ward's Island fire station.
We stopped by the current Fire Station to see the Fire and Water clock designed by artist Gordon Peteran in 1995.
Ward's island old fire station.
The older Fire Station is further east on the same street.
A cottage.
A cottage on Ward’s Island.
Green house.
I’d love to see the interior of this green house.
White house.
and this white house.
The Island Café.
The Island Café is the perfect spot for coffee, home baked treat, brunch, lunch, or sunset dinner.
Kale garden.
The Island Café is also operating a Kale Garden, a joint initiative with the City of Toronto. People are welcome to participate in maintaining the garden and get free kale.
The Riviera Ward's Island Kitchen.
The Riviera Ward’s Island Kitchen is a casual dining restaurant and bar.
Centre Island beach.
After a walk along Centre Island beach, we walked back to the ferry dock to catch the ferry home.
Toronto skyline.
The ferry ride offers fantastic panoramic views of Toronto skyline.

Clear blue skies, pleasant temperatures, beautiful nature, and happy family time. Life is good.

How was your week? What fun plans do you have for the weekend?

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Laneway Art and Canoeing Fun

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #34! I’m glad you’re here. Please come on in, help yourself to a cup of coffee, or tea, hot chocolate, or cold drink at my coffee station and let’s chat.

It was another week of sunny, warm and humid days with a multi-day heat warning. Humidex value reached 44C (111F) on Wednesday. I enjoyed cycling, walking, playing disc golf, paddling, and visiting beaches and gardens. I also had plenty of sun protection and drank a lot of water to stay hydrated.

Laneway Art

Last Friday I wrote about Laneway art projects in Toronto’s Little Italy neighbourhood and posted my first batch of twenty two painted garage doors in the Euclid-Palmerston laneway here. Today I share my second batch of twenty one garage door images. I’ll post the third batch next weekend.

When I was at the laneway, one of the homeowners opened his garage door to let me take photos of the door in ‘Open’ and ‘Closed’ states. Most of the garages in this laneway have remote control door openers. Some still have the traditional door handles and latches, like this one.

287E with door opened – Caerina Abrenica, 2019

I’ve noted the street number, artist’s name and year based on my look-up. Remember to click on any image in the gallery to see it in full view and use the arrow to move to the next image. Shared for #LifeThisWeek, Monday Murals, #ThursdayDoors and #PPAC11.

Which door(s) in the gallery do you like?

Canoeing Fun

The warm weather was perfect for my solo kayak outing and a tandem canoe trip within Toronto Islands with my friend J. The paddling season is short here and not every summer day has good weather conditions for paddling. So, when I could make two paddling trips in one week, I was thrilled.

Regarding tandem canoeing (two persons paddle one canoe together), when the two canoeists are in sync, it’s fantastic, and when they’re out of sync, it’s frustrating. Fortunately, J and I paddle well together.

We hit the jackpot seeing several young great blue herons and other birds within Toronto Islands.

Great blue heron.
Great blue heron.
Great blue heron on a tree.
Heron on a tree.
A young great blue heron.
Heron walking away.
Toronto Islands.
Toronto Islands.

It was a beautiful and meditative experience: Calm water, green plants, warm day, a mix of sun and clouds, and minimal boat traffic on a weekday. We hope to go canoeing again before the summer ends.

Tell me something good about your week.

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Paddling within Toronto Islands

Hello and welcome to Weekend Coffee Share #28! 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.

My first stand up paddling (SUP) excursion of summer 2021 was a resounding success. The morning started with some clouds. By the time I reached Toronto Islands to pick up my SUP board and go paddling, it was clear and sunny.

These surf boards are outside the centre where I book my SUP board. For my fantasy beach cabin, I’d like a mini version of these boards at my cabin door. My favourite is the O board with the blue waves.

WELCOME surf boards.
WELCOME Surf Boards. Sharing for #PPAC#5.

I love paddling within Toronto Islands and experience nature. The island vibe is totally different from the city vibe even though the two sides are only ten minutes apart by ferry. In the summer, the Toronto Islands are beautiful.

For readers who are unfamiliar with Toronto, the following map shows Toronto city centre with the CN Tower at the bottom of the map and Toronto Islands in green, surrounded by Lake Ontario in blue.

Map of Toronto Island Park.
Map Source: City of Toronto.

Once on the island side, I picked up my rental board, the red Starfish, by the water’s edge.

Then gently paddled towards Long Pond to see aquatic life and the wetlands.

SUP board.

Beautiful white lotus flowers are in bloom at this time of the year. Their presence is a display of purity and tranquility.

White lotus flower.

A few snowy egrets were catching fish in the wetlands. They flew away when I tried to get closer for a good photo. Better luck next time.

Snowy egret.
A snowy egret amid the green trees.

The painted turtles were out on tree logs to bask in the sunshine. Their name comes from the brightly colored markings on their extremities, which range from yellow, to orange, to red.

The head of the turtle is distinctive. The face has only yellow stripes, with a large yellow spot and streak behind each eye, and on the chin two wide yellow stripes that meet at the tip of the jaw. Their feet are webbed to aid swimming.

Painted turtle.
This big painted turtle is basking on a tree log. Zoom in to see its face and webbed feet.

A double-crested cormorant perched atop a tree. Up close, cormorants have gorgeous aqua green eyes and orange-yellow skin around the base of the bill and chin.

I saw beavers, fish, birds, geese, swans and duck families with cute little ducklings. The islands are green and idyllic at this time of the year.

After about two hours of paddling, it was time to return to the city. I’m grateful for a wonderful SUP outing on a beautiful morning with blue skies, green trees and water everywhere! I’ll be back next week to canoe with friends.

Before leaving Toronto Islands, I always take a few photos of Toronto’s skyline which has changed over the years with new skyscrapers and green space along the waterfront.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Linked with #Colour2021, #LifeThisWeek, #Pond, #SundayStills, #TreeSquare, #WWE.

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

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Summer Week 10: I Did It Again

Hello blog friends! How are things going? I hope all is well with you. Come on in to my blog space and let’s share our news over a cup of tea or coffee.

Summer week 10, from August 23 to 29, delivered a mix of sunny days and brief showers. The daytime high ranged from 22C to 33C (70F to 92F). The week started off with my second canoe trip to the beautiful 13 Toronto Islands. Yes, I did it again! I was so happy to pull it off before this summer ends.

Canoe Excursion #2

After the fun canoe excursion in summer week 8, my friend and I wanted a repeat so we quickly booked our canoes and kept our fingers crossed for good weather. The stars aligned and we got a sunny day with high temperature around 30C.

Island scenery

The water on the Toronto Islands was calm and clear. We paddled, swam, explored secluded beaches, bird sanctuaries, many waterways, and played canoe rescues while enjoying beautiful nature around us. Around mid-day, we pulled our canoes on a wooden dock and relaxed to have lunch in the shade.

Canoe docked for lunch

I saw ducks, Canada geese, fish, a snowy egret, swans, and turtles in the water, plus nice flower plants on the islands, like black-eyed Susan and cone flowers.

A splash of bright colours: Black-eyed Susan.

It was a fun-filled day. On our way back to the city side, we got to see a beautiful panoramic view of the city’s skyline. It always takes my breath away.

City's skyline seen from Toronto Islands

My Waterproof Gear

My friends and other people have asked me about my waterproof gear when I go on my paddling excursions so I thought I’d share my gear here. You can get them in sports stores or on Amazon web site.

My AiRun Tech set of four waterproof items comes with a lifetime warranty:

  • one 10L roll top compression sack with removable shoulder straps.
  • one 20L roll top compression sack with removable shoulder straps.
  • one clear waterproof waist pouch with adjustable strap.
  • one clear waterproof phone case with lanyard.

The 10L and 20L dry sacks come with an inner pocket designed for cell phone and tablet to avoid getting wet and screen scratching. I can operate my phone or tablet through the clear window during my trips. These bags float in water. I leave a small amount of extra room for air in my dry bag, and it will stay above water.

The 10L dry bag is perfect for small personal items I’d like to protect from the elements: cell phone, wallet, keys, mask, small first aid kit, lunch, snacks, toiletries, small towel, water bottles, etc. Even after I put all of these items in the bag, I still have lots of room to roll the top and snap it close.

The 20L dry bag is big enough to carry everything I need for a longer trip. The shoulder straps make it easy to carry this bag like a backpack.

The waterproof waist pouch is useful when I want to carry just a few small items with me. It keeps my hands free while I can easily retrieve my items from the pouch.

The waterproof phone case locks my phone inside and comes with a lanyard to wear on my neck. When I’m on the water, I can take photos without taking my phone out of the case.

My 10L dry bag on the SUP board. I took this photo with my phone in the waterproof case.

I’ve seen stand up paddlers suddenly fall into the water and soak their phones many times, or a big wave splashes water all over the paddle board, kayak, or canoe. If you plan to be outdoors in wet conditions or ponder a gift for outdoor lovers, consider getting waterproof gear.

Aside from the full day canoe trip, I did a bit of cycling, walking, exercising, yoga, meditation, language lessons, and a lot of reading during the week.

Summer week 10 was fantastic. I look forward to making the most of summer week 11.

How did your week go? 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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