With six bucks and a little imagination, it’s still possible to get away from the city and have some outdoor fun on a nice winter day.
Just a short, cheap, and oddly thrilling boat ride away lies a land of possibilities. Head over to Toronto Island for the day if you’re looking for something different to do, and you can away from the city with the city still in sight. If you can stay warm, it’s truly a breath of (almost) fresh air.
The ferry ride alone is worth the trip. Boats depart every half hour on weekends till 11:45 p.m., so a spontaneous trip isn’t that big a deal. A few serene minutes after leaving Toronto Harbour the boat will slow down to crunch loudly through huge sheets of ice, leaving a spectacular view of the skyline in its wake. With convenient departures every half hour on the weekend, passengers on one Saturday consisted mostly of locals hefting carts of groceries and clusters of excited young boys carrying equipment to play on one of the many outdoor skating rinks.
If you’re as lucky as Torontoist was on one recent field trip, you may even get the pleasure of crashing into Ward Islands dock at full speed instead of parking hesitantly the way you get to on crowded rides in the summer.
No matter the mood or docking circumstances, it’s impossible to say there’s nothing to do. Choose to skate, snowshoe, bike ride, play hockey, sip hot chocolate at the Rectory Caf on Wards Island, or stop in at the cozy church where you can apparently bring pets to worship with youit wont be a waste.
Even wandering aimlessly along the boardwalk is a nice getaway, with great Kodak moments from the south side of the island on the snow-covered beaches and gorgeous scenery all around. Somehow the Islands seem sweeter when it’s quiet and the summer crowds are missing. The cozy little houses along the boardwalk and the crazy icicle formations along the shoreline make the cold refreshing instead of punishing. . . like a mini-break to cottage country, minus the long drive and of course the cottage.
The thought of the ferry and the island in general screams of summer picnics, mini golf and dragon boats, but this is one outdoor option in the city that definitely doesn’t have to be seasonally restricted.