Archive for the ‘waterfront’ Category

Happy Canada Day!

below: Canada Day merchandise for sale at Yonge Dundas Square

on a table outside, piles of Canada Day merchandise for sale, hats, cowboy hats, flags, etc

front of Queens Park buildings, parliament buildings, on the grass a couple stand by a tree, looking at group under a tent, Canada Day celebrations

below: Great sign!  We’re on a picnic because Doug Ford is out to lunch!

a group of people on the grass at Queens Park, with a sign that says we are having a picnic because Doug Ford is out to lunch

a young girl runs with a kite that her father has just let go of

below: A Canada flag in a heart, face paint to celebrate the day.

a woman in a purple and yellow clown hat apples a red maple leaf Canadian flag face paint on a girl's cheek

a mother and son pose in one of the o's in 3 D Toronto sign at Nathan Phillips. Mother is dressed in red and white and is holding two small Canadian flags

one woman takes another woman's photo with an ipad in front of the Toronto 3 D sign

a balding black man sits on the edge of the pool at Nathan Philips square, taking a picture of his dog who is in the water. Dog has Canada flag bandana on

a red head girl in a large advert on a building beside a man in red adjust a microphone on the top of a red double decker tourist hop on hop off bus

below: Under a red umbrella.  There were quite a few performances at Yonge Dundas square, all of which were celebrations by different ethnic groups.

three women in red under a red umbrella watching a Canada day celebration

two womenin national costume, or traditional clothes of another country, walk through Dundas Square, an Asian man is looking at them with a strange look on his face

a group having their picture taken at Yonge Dundas Square, one Asian man and four women. Three women are in costume as they are about to perform on the stage in that square, Canada Day celebrations

two black women walk past a man sitting in a chair with a large red and white Canadian flag umbrella. he is giving away free quran books on the sidewalk by Yonge street, traffic passing by on the street behind them

a woman weth pinkish hair carried a half watermelon with a straw and a little green paper umbrella in it, she is the middle of three people standing in Yonge Dundas square

a young woman in a red and white Canada t shirt holds a small white dog with a red leash and red outfit

a small dog with a red scarf around its neck stands on a man's shoulders as he talks to another person

four people walk past a man sitting on a stool, all dressed in red and white with flags and Canadiana

a crowd of people at a TTC stop on Queens Quay

cyclists and pedestrians on Queens Quay

people in a yellow plastic paddle boat on a man made pond near the waterfront, a fountain is spraying them, they are paddling past a group of people on sitting on the edge of the pond

the CN Tower peaks out between two tall buildings, in front are Canadian flags and flags from all the provinces

This has been a wet spring along the waterfront.  Lake Ontario has been at its highest level in years.   Earlier, I had posted some photos that I took of Woodbine, Kew and Balmy beaches and the high water levels there (blog post, “water logged”).  The other day I visited the beaches and walkways at the other end of the city’s waterfront, from H2O beach to Ontario Place.

below: Flooding at H2O Beach

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas, lifesaving ring and ladder are no longer at the shore but quite a ways out in the lake

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas, dark skies in the distance as a storm approaches

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas

below: All that water makes for some colourful reflections!

Toronto waterfront showing flooding at H 2 O park with its Muskoka chairs and yellow umbrellas, many colourful reflections in the flood waters

below: Looking west towards the old Canada Malting Company silos as the dark clouds signal an approaching storm.

Canada Malting Company old concrete silos on Toronto Waterfront, la large boat docked near the foreground, dark skies over Lake Ontario as a storm approaches

below: The Empire Sandy docked along with the tugboat, M.S. Kane

the Empire Sandy, a three mast sailing ship, docked along side a small tugboat, the M. S. Kane. on a grey wet day

below: Toronto’s fire rescue boat, the William Lyon Mackenzie, docked beside Fire Station 334.   It was built in 1964 and is named for Toronto’s first mayor.

The WIlliam Lyon McKenzie, a bright red fire boat is docked at Toronto waterfront, city skyline behind the boat with tall condos, also dark storm clouds

below: Queens Quay at Spadina, looking west

looking west on Queens Quay at Spadina, streetcar tracks, street, trafiic, pedestrian on sidewalk, TTC street car approaching, Starbucks on the corner, low rise buildings in the background

below: A streetcar starts to head north on Spadina

a new TTC streetcar starts to head north on Spadina, just south of the Gardiner and large condos

below: Playing basketball in the rain.

four boys playing basketball on a green and brown court, in the rain,

below: An old blue canoe at Little Norway park.  A training camp for the Norway’s Air Force was located here (SW corner of  Queens Quay and Bathurst) during WW2.  The large rock that you can see in the photo is a 3000 pound boulder brought from Norway in 1976 to be part of a permanent monument to the people who trained and served here.   In 1986 the space became Little Norway Park.

an old blue canoe is used as a planter in a park

below: Looking back towards downtown and the CN Tower from the western end of Queens Quay West.

looking east along Queens Quay West from the very western end of the ctreet towards the CN Tower and downtown. Lowrise residential units on either side of the street, bike lane, small trees, wet, raining

reflections of sailboats and their masts in Lake Ontario, boats are parked at a yacht club

a lone red Muskoka chair sits on an angle in a small grassy patch between a fence and a path, looks out over a yacht club

below: Lots of big puddles at Coronation Park

flooded pathway, large puddles, along shoreline at Coronation Park, boats in the background

flooded driveway and entrance to underground parking,

below: Yellow flowerpot islands

two large light green flower pots sit on concrete pedestals, in the water, orange cones in the water, shoreline is flooded, some sailboats docked in the background

below: Someone has tied a string of small Canadian flags to the railing at Coronation Park.  Happy Canada Day weekend!

sailboats moored out in Lake Ontario, in the foreground is a metal railing with a string of Canadian flags tied to it

four white sailboats moored in the water, Lake Ontario, with their main sails wrapped up and put away, calm water but grey skies

a large bird sits on a yellow sign out in the waters of Lake Ontario, an orange (or red) light sits on a concrete pedestal beside it

below: Toronto skyline from Trillium Park, from the green trees of Coronation Park on the left and past the CN Tower to Billy Bishop airport on the far left.

In the background is the Toronto skyline from Trillium Park, from the green trees of Coronation Park on the left and past the CN Tower and tall city center buildings, to the National Yacht Club and then Billy Bishop airport on the far left. In the foreground is an orange lifesaving ring and the rocks of the shoreline of the park

below: Large granite rock in Trillium Park

large chunk of granite in a park, black patches with streaks of pink and grey

below: Ontario Place, where TSN was playing to no one.

a large screen plays a TSN show, outdoors, Ontario Place, white chairs but no one is there

below: Flooding by the marina at Ontario Place.  In the foreground is what appears to be an electrical box.

flooding at Ontario Place

flooding at Ontario Place, empty building surrounded by water, boats, cinesphere dome

flooding at Ontario place, orange sandbags and a fence that is partially submerged in the water

scaffolding holds lights for a show at Ontario Place, in the distance is the CN Tower.

below: The Canada geese have these Muskoka chairs to themselves.

By Lake Ontario, a group of white Muskoka chairs in long grass with a lot of Canada Geese standing around them, metal barricades behind chairs and trees behind that

below: From the northwest corner of Ontario Place, looking west over Lake Ontario towards Etobicoke and Mississauga

shoreline of Ontario Place, looking west over Lake Ontario to Etobicoke and Mississauga

on the northwest corner of Ontario Place, gate across path because of flooding, a swan in the water, the wind turbine on the CNE grounds in the distance

elevated buildings of Ontario Place over the water

below: There was also flooding on Lakeshore Blvd.

traffic on Lakeshore Blvd plows through the water and creates great splashes of water, road is partially flooded

a white truck with three men in the cab on Lakeshore Blvd plows through the water and creates great splashes of water, road is partially flooded

below: Puddles in an almost empty parking lot, CNE grounds.

CNE parking lot, empty except for one white car, large puddles with reflections, and the city in the background, CN TOwer, tall buildings,

abstract in blues, made by close up of reflections and ripples in the water

Each spring the water level in Lake Ontario rises as the snow to the north of the city melts.  That’s a given.  The question has become just how much water there will be.  This year the water level is very high again, perhaps as high as it has ever been.

below: Sea gulls enjoying the pond that has formed at Woodbine Beach

Leuty lifesaving station in background, lifeguard station on beach, with water and sea gulls in front of it

below: Some of the many different coloured Muskoka chairs that now dot the beach.  How many hundreds? thousands? of similar pictures are online now?  They do add an interesting and cheerful burst of colour.

4 muskoka chairs lined up on the beach, pink, blue, yellow, and red, lots of water, a person is sitting in one of them but photo is of back of chairs.

a line of muskoka chairs along the edge of the boardwalk, beach, Lake Ontario

a woman is sitting in a blue Muskoka Chair reading, with her legs sticking out the side of the chair, view from behind, water in front of her as well as a line of rocks with seagulls on them, Lake Ontario

below: A quiet reading spot of a different kind…. as the swans swim by.

a person sits by rocks and a tree on the beach by Lake Ontario, reading a book, swans swimming past

rocks and sand at Woodbine Beach, with water behind the lifeguard stations because of flooding of Lake Ontario

below: Sandbags and rocks protect part of the boardwalk from Lake Ontario water.

sandbags, some empty, line the shore up against rocks and a boardwalk with a railing, flooded,

two women push strollers along the boardwalk by Kew Beach, CN tower and Toronto skyline in the distance, other people on the boardwalk and beach too

a woman in a bright red coat is about to throw a large stick into Lake Ontario for her dog to chase, empty lifeguard station beside her

below: Putting up the volleyball nets where it’s dry, Woodbine Beach.

a man is putting up volleyball nets on the poles that aren't in the water at a flooded Woodbine Beach

volleyball court poles standing in the water, flooded Lake Ontario at Woodbine Beach

a flooded Woodbine Beach because of high levels of water in Lake ontario, poles in the water for volleyball courts, nets, but too much water

rocks and pebbles along the shore of Lake Ontario, a small island of rocks with a small tree growing on it

fence surrounding dog park, tall grasses, shrubs and trees in dog park, CN Tower and Toronto skyline in the distance, Woodbine Beach

below: The fence around the dog park is in the water

a tree in the water, part of a fence also in the water, Lake Ontario

water behind the lifeguard station, Woodbine Beach, someone has put a cross made of two branches lashed together

a flooded Woodbine Beach

below: Making friends

a woman holds her black dog while a girl in pink jacket reaches out to touch it.

below: As I was returning to my car, I spotted a slightly fancier car than mine…

pale blue and black mclaren car parked in a parking lot, woman with dog in the background

The other evening I was going to try some evening photography along the waterfront starting around Sugar Beach. As I walked down Lower Jarvis, this view caught my attention – looking west along Lakeshore Blvd.  It’s a view that has been changing very rapidly.    I counted at least seven cranes as I stood there waiting for some of the traffic to clear.

downtown Toronto, looking west towards all the tall buildings, looking along the Lakeshore with lots of traffic on it, many buildings in the foreground under construction with 7 cranes in the photo

below: Sugar Beach.   Unfortunately a film crew was already here so I didn’t stick around.

a group of people standing near the waterfront at sugar beach with its pink umbrellas and white muskoka chairs

below: One of the buildings to the east of Sugar Beach is a new George Brown College building.

looking up to a second floor of a building that has a very large window, three round tables and some chairs can be seen through the window

below: Film crew trucks ready to be loaded back up

the back of two large trucks with their doors open as cables, tools and other equipment for filming is being load back into the trucks

The strip of green that you see on the right side of the above photo is part of Sherbourne Common (at the foot of Lower Sherbourne Street).    From here east to Parliament is now being developed as East Bayside and is a continuation of the now completed development from Jarvis (Sugar Beach) to Sherbourne.   East Bayside is bounded by Queens Quay and Lake Ontario as well as Sherbourne and Parliament.  1800 residences are planned in this space.

below: Some of the condos are under construction.  Same old same old; yawn.  They may look a little more interesting from a distance, but at street level they are hopelessly banal.  If you want to buy a condo here, there are only a few left in the two buildings known as Aqualina and Aquabella.   In the latter, only 3 are available, starting at a two bedroom suite for 2.8 million.  Five million dollars will get you a three bedroom penthouse with two terraces but if you want to pay an additional 1 1/2 million you get 4,000 square feet on two floors (3 bedrooms and 2 terraces as well).

new condo development by the lake

below: At least the “linear park” and waterfront path is being continued eastward along Lake Ontario.

construction of a waterfront path

orange wheel barrows at a construction site beside a lake

below:  Work is also underway on Queens Quay East.   As a frame of reference, the tall building behind the billboard is in the Distillery District.  Lakeshore Blvd and the Gardiner run behind the buildings with the blue trim.

billboard, construction on queens quay east

What hasn’t yet been started is construction of two office buildings that will front on Queens Quay, called T3 Bayside.  They are going to be made of wood which should be interesting.

There has been a lot of talk for the past 12 to 14 years about extending streetcar service along this route.  So far a lot of planning and a lot of talk but that’s it.  An LRT right of way running along the south side of the street has been approved but the East Bayfront LRT project, (aka Waterfront LRT) has stalled because of the usual political shenanigans and financial hiccups.   A major part of the delay has been the question of how to link an East Bayfront LRT to Union station.  The present tunnel is barely sufficient for the streetcars that use it now.  Just recently (April 2019) the city released a report on how to address this issue.  I haven’t read it all yet (it’s 40 pages long) but the gist of it is that the city is considering two options – 1. rebuilding the tunnel or 2. building an automated people moving system of some sort and leave all streetcars out of the tunnel.

below: There is a small trench down the center of the street.

danger sign on construction zone in the middle of the street, Queens Quay, looking west along the street towards downtown toronto

Any ideas what’s being planned for the north side of Queens Quay?

two orange and black traffic contruction cones on the street in front of an old white industrial building with red door frames and a wood loading dock with yellow trim
metal framework that is holding up a large billboard

below:  Queens Quay turns towards Parliament Street.  The blue building is a Sidewalk Labs information centre.  The land that Sidewalk Labs wants to develop, Quayside, is close by – south of Lakeshore and east of Parliament.  It also includes the little strip of land between Queens Quay and Lakeshore, i.e. that answers my question above about what happens on the north side of Queens Quay.  There was some rumour (plan?) about Sidewalk Labs being involved in development of some of the Portlands but is that still on?    As to what their plans are or where they are at now, I have no idea.  That’s probably another blog post!

many orange and black cones on a stretch of road that is having work done on it

panorama of Woodbine Beach on a February day, art installation in yellows and oranges, lots of people, snow on the ground, winter clothes, Lake Ontario, blue sky with one wispy cloud

This year there were five installations at Woodbine Beach for the annual ‘Winter Stations’ event.   Yesterday, February 18th, was the opening day.  It was also a holiday Monday, Family Day, and lots of people were at the beach.

below: Forest of Butterflies by Luis Enrique Hernandez of Mexico.

close up of orange and yellow shapes that make Firest of Butterflies

part of 'Forest of Butterflies' sculpture in the foreground, along with two boys who are looking at it In the background, standing on a hill of snow, is a man taking a selfie with his golden lab dog

below: The lake was very wavy and rough on Family Day. There was lots of water spraying onto the piles of snow and ice as the waves crashed against the shore.

standing on the snow and ice covered beach in February, wavy day, waves crashing against shore producing spray , people standing and watching

below: ‘Above the Wall’ designed by Americans Joshua Carel and Adelle York.  Climb the stairs and meet people on the platform at the top.

two wooden staircases meet at the top, above an old rusty corrugated metal wall, platform at the top for people to meet

below: ‘Chairavan’ by a team from Sheridan College.

red metal chairs that look like lifeguard stations, part of Winter Stations 2019 at Woodbine Beach,

a woman in a red parka is climbing onto an elevated red metal seat

a young woman in pink snow pants is kneeling on a red metal structure, outdoors, snow,

below: ‘Mind Station’, designed by Tomasz Piotrowski and Łukasz Chaberka from Poland.

the circular art installation 'Mind Station', wood, on the beach beside Lake Ontario on a winter day, two men walking towards it, trees in the distance

below: Interior view – stand on the stumps to look out holes in the roof.

three wood stumps stand upright on the ground, interior of art installation

below: One of the views from the roof.

looking out of a hole in the roof of 'Mind Station' art installation, towards Lake Ontario, other circular holes in the roof

a woman in a tartan scarf walks past 'Mind Station', an art installation at Woodbine Beach made of plywood

below: ‘Cavalcade’, designed by a group from Toronto: Victor Perez-Amado, John Nguyen, Anton Skorishchenko, Abubaker Bajaman + Stephen Seunwon Baik

cavalcadde art installation at Woodbine beach, cutouts of people walking

a man and his shadow and many life size cut out figures of people in bright colours

below: The construction phase

constructing an art installation on the beach in the winter, Woodbine Beach, Winter Stations, colourful life size plywood cutouts of people

man riding on a small machine that digs holes in the ground

 

Apparently, this was the 5th year for ‘Winter Stations’.  Previous years ‘Winter Stations’ blog posts:

Flotsam and Jetsam and others (2017)

Warming with everyone and their dog – almost (2018)

 

snow and ice accumulations along the shore of Lake Ontario, waves crashing into the shore

A walk along Queens Quay West

My reason for walking along the waterfront was to see the 2019 version of ‘Ice Breakers’.  This year there are five art installations spaced out along Queens Quay.  The white PVC tubes you see in the photo below is half of one of these installations, Stellar Spectra.  The other half is identical and was behind me when I took this picture.  They are placed at each end of the little bridge.  These hollow structures were designed by Torontonians Rob Shostak and Dionisios Vriniotis.  There is room for a person or two inside and once inside, look up!  The tops of the tubes are covered with coloured acrylic.

Queens Quay west, street, pedestrians, high rises in the background, a white art installation made of vertical tubes

below: I was trying to think of a way to describe the bridge that sits on, but a picture paints a thousand words so here’s the bridge from a different angle.  You can also see the two white structures on the bridge in the background.  In addition, there are green signs on poles that once floated in the water but are now frozen in the ice.  The signs, like protest signs, are ‘Chroma Key Protest’ by Andrew Edmundson of Solve Architects.

Chroma Key Protest, green signs on poles floating in the water beside Queens Quay, from the back, backlit, road in the background and Lake Ontario in the distance

below: Twenty five green signs

CN Tower in front, waterfront condos in the middle and Chroma Key Protest in the basin of water in the foreground

below: A pair of long-tailed ducks enjoy an small bit of open water.

two long tailed ducks swimming in a patch of open water onLake Ontario, ice on lake in the background, two tires at the end of a dock are also in the picture

below: Another installation, ‘Tweeta Gate’ over a very icy path.   There were lots of barriers along the waterfront along with signs that warned of “no winter maintenance”.  It was very slippery.   These 10 arches are supposed to lead you to the waterfront but I didn’t see anyone brave enough to walk there.  ‘Ice Breakers’ remain until the 24th of February so there is still time for the ice to melt (it will, won’t it?) Each arch represents a different architectural style.   It was designed by Eleni Papadimitriou and Stefanos Ziras.

yellow arches over an ice covered path, art installation ice breakers, on Toronto waterfront,

below: ‘Connectors’ is an entanglement of four orange tubes made of drainage pipes – if you speak into one end, which of the other 7 ends is the sound going to come out of?  This was designed by Alexandra Griess and Jorel Heid from Hamburg Germany.

Connectors, a large art installation consisting of bright orange plastic tubes are jumbled up together

Connectors, a large art installation consisting of bright orange plastic tubes are jumbled up together

below: At H2O beach

a man is sitting on a red muskoka chair, under a large plastic yellow umbrella on H 2 O beach in toronto, in the winter, some snow on the ground. A large golden lab dog has his forepaws on the man's lap

below: The beach was fairly quiet.  It was also covered with a layer of ice.

view of H 2 O beach in toronto from the west, looking towards the Toronto skyline, winter, no leaves on the treees and some snow on the ground

below: More ice surrounds the base of ‘Tripix’, a structure that was designed by a group of Ryerson students.

art installation in H2O park, Tripix, a three legged arch struture in red and chrome

below: The panels that cover its surface are reflective and the angles in which they are arranged make for a kaleidoscopic effect when viewed from inside the installation.

view from inside Tripix

below: And yes, another CN Tower picture

the CN Tower in background, and a leg of art installation in H2O park, Tripix, a three legged arch struture in red and chrome

below: It’s not part of the ‘Ice Breakers’ series, but three large photographs are on display at Ontario Square.  These are the series “Our Desires Fail Us” by Sean Martindale and J.P. King.  They are mirrored images of Toronto garbage (mirrored in that one side of the photo is a mirror image of the other).

a large photo mounted on an exterior wall in Ontario Square, part of a series called Our Desires Fail Us by Sean Martindale and JP King. shows a pile of garbage

below: A close up look at one of the other photos  [art is garbage vs garbage is art? – sorry, couldn’t help myself]

detail of part of a large photo mounted on an exterior wall in Ontario Square, part of a series called Our Desires Fail Us by Sean Martindale and JP King. shows a pile of garbage

below: Recently, the off-ramp from the Gardiner Expressway that circled onto York Street was removed.  The bents that held the road up remain in what is now a park at the corner of York Street and Queens Quay.

four or five concrete bents stand in a vacant piece of land tht is being made into a park. the bents once held up an off ramp of the Gardiner Expressway

As I write this post, I keep wondering if I missed something because of the ice.  I might have to make a second trip if the temperatures warm up enough before the 24th of February.  In the meantime, don’t slip!

broken chunks of ice on Lake Ontario

A trip to Toronto Islands on a sunny spring day.
Photos and stories – an eclectic mix of history and nature that resulted from wandering around the eastern portion of the islands.

below: From the ferry, looking toward the glass and steel of the city.

sail boats in Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, in front of the Toronto skyline with highrises and skyscrapers also ship moored at Redpath Sugar refinery

Toronto Islands is a collection of at least 12 small islands.  In the early years the island archipelago was really a peninsula of sandbars and ponds; it was connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of sandy shoreline. This landform was created over centuries by the action of waves, winds and lake currents – washing away portions of the Scarborough Bluffs and depositing this material to the west in a five-mile-long hooked shape. This process of natural “landscaping” continued until the spring of 1858, when a particularly powerful hurricane created a channel four to five feet deep through the peninsula.  By June of that year, the Eastern Gap was a waterway, and the Toronto Islands came into being.

below: On the ferry between the city and Centre Island.

people lined up along the front railing of a ferry from Centre Island to the city of Toronto, looking at skyline and taking picture of it. Toronto is in the background.

The first buildings on the islands were the Blockhouse Bay garrison built in the 1794 by the British at Gibraltar Point – it included a blockhouse and storage structures.  A second blockhouse and a guard house were built soon after, only to be destroyed by the Americans in the Battle of York in April 1813.   The lighthouse at Gibraltar Point built in 1809 still stands (sorry, no photo).

In 1833 Michael O’Connor built a hotel on one the islands.  He used a horse-drawn boat to ferry customers across from the mainland to his hotel.  At that time, there was still access by road but it was a toll road.  In 1836 it cost sixpence for every four-wheeled carriage drawn by two horses.  Smaller ‘vehicles’ paid less.   In 1858 the hotel (now Quinns Hotel) was destroyed during the same hurricane that turned the peninsula into an island.  The hotels were destroyed but the islands remained popular.  With no road access, ferries were needed and many people ran private ferry services until they were bought out or amalgamated into the Toronto Ferry Company in 1892.  It was privately owned until 1926 when it was purchased by the City of Toronto for $337,500.

ferry, ceiling is full of orange life jackets, railings along edge, Lake Ontario, benches to sit on but no people

blue abstract from two blue doors with cut out where handle should be

Many houses and businesses, (hotels, restaurants, bowling alley, laundry, theatre etc) were established over the years from Hanlon’s Point in the west to Wards Island in the east.   Today, residences are only in the eastern section of Wards Island and on Algonquin Island.

The Ward’s Island community began in the 1880s as a settlement of tents. Up until then, that eastern end of the islands was mostly wetlands.  The first summer colony on Ward’s in 1899 consisted of just eight tenants, each of whom had paid a fee of $10 rent for the season. The number of tents grew each year.  In 1913, the city felt it necessary to organize the community into streets. The evolution from tents to cottage structures progressed in stages with the building of floors, the addition of kitchens and then porches, resulting in the creation of the homes.

two houses on Wards Island, small wood housses, one bright blue and the other is white

grey wood siding on house with white door and small porch. Two yellow and metal chairs on the porch

In 1953 the municipal government changed their policy toward the Toronto Islands landscape and its residents. Businesses were removed and the systematic demolition and burning of homes began.  More of the islands became parkland.    There are 262 houses on Wards and Algonquin Islands today, down from about 630 residences on all the islands.  The last of the Lakeshore houses was removed in 1968 but traces of them still remain.

wood boardwalk along the foreground of the photo with a concrete path leading away from it, into an overgrown area

part of old concrete breakwater, once there was house here, number 170 embedded in the concrete

below: The pier on the Lake Ontario side.

metal fence in the foreground, beach, pier and Lake Ontario in the middle and background

below: Sandbags along the shore.  Last spring there was a lot of flooding here and the island was closed to visitors – sort of.  Ferries didn’t run and the park facilities were closed.  The islands are very flat and low so it doesn’t take much extra water to flood.

large white sandbags along the shore, beach on the other side, Lake Ontario in background with a row of rocks as breakwater a short distance from the shore, sign on the beach

sign fallen over and under water, surrounded by rocks, Lake Ontario

below: There is a small amusement park, Centreville, on Centre Island.

CN tower in the background, people on the Skyline ride at Centre Island passing over water, with large boats docked farther up the river

below: Island transport that can be rented if you don’t want to walk.

people cycling in 2 quadricycles, a four wheeled bicycle like vehicle, on paths,

the orange and white wall tile pattern of Pizza Pizza with a red bike parked in front of it.

below: Boats moored QCYC (Queen City Yacht Club), one of the three yacht clubs on the islands.

sailboats moored at a wood dock, QCYC

below: Sakura trees in bloom.   The trees were donated by the Sakura Project.  The aim of this project was to strengthen Japanese Canadian relations by planting cherry trees in visible locations across Ontario.   Between 2000 and 2012,  3,082 trees were planted at 58 locations.  The trees on Centre Island were planted in 2011.

path, sakura (cherry) trees on either side with their pink and white blossoms, other large trees around them with pale green of new leaves

below: Catkins from a red alder tree.  They almost look like raspberries packed tight together.

red fuzzy blossoms droop from the end of a tree branch

new yellowish green flowers on a tree, also leaf buds just opening,

ants in the bud on a tree

below: An early family of Canada geese.

family of Canada geese, 2 adults and 7 or 8 fluffy little goslings swimming in the water

below: The pier at the eastern end of Wards Island is bad need of repair.  To the right is the entry into the Eastern Channel (or Eastern Gap).

broken concrete pier into Inner Harbour of Lake Ontario, with Toronto skyline and CN Tower in the distance

below: Looking over to Algonquin Island.  Once upon a time this island was just a sandbar.

waterway, orange life ring and ladder on one side of the river, houses and docks, and boats on the other. r

two people standing on the shore of Center Island, looking at the Toronto skyline and taking pictures of it.

and back to the mainland.

people exiting a ferry, from above