July 21, 2015

Toronto Island Cocktails, In Every Sense Of The Word

My lovely wife and I decided to get the hell outta Dodge temporarily for a few hours yesterday.

We didn't go north. We didn't go east, nor west. Instead, we headed immediately south to the Toronto Islands. I always have mixed emotions about going to the Islands. I do enjoy the psychological escape associated with it, but getting there and back kind of sucks. I know I know..it's a lovely ferry ride with a fantastic view of the city, but the giant crowds, line ups and the wired kids going and cranky kids coming back...well, let's just say it's disruptive to our more hedonistic lifestyle.

Anyway, to my highlights and tips:
  • Take a bike. You'll zip around the entire island, enjoy the scenery and get the whole experience. You'll burn out if you try to walk around the whole place (three different groups of people walking asked us where they could rent bikes). We live downtown, so we just picked up a couple of Bikeshare bikes near our house and dropped off afterwards so it worked out perfectly. You can also rent bikes on the island itself.  
  • Take the Hanlan's Point ferry rather than the main one that goes to Centre Island. It's much less crowded and drops you at the western tip of the Island. Being on the bike means you can still cross the island relatively quickly.
  • Speaking of tips, if you aren't particularly interested in seeing the tips of 63 year old gay men, steer clear of the clothing optional beach. We walked up the secluded path that leads to it knowing what we might see on the beach itself, but naked Santa Claus surprised us as we first entered the path, and the surprise didn't include Christmas presents, frankincense or myrrhr,  He wasn't wearing a red suit, and the water must have been very cold. 
Rectory Cafe. Although it looks like she's doing the robot,
she is merely delivering good times to thirsty patrons
  • Bring along some snacks, then hit up one of the more adult oriented places for cocktails (and lunch should you desire it). Most of the places and activities in the "centre" of centre island seem to be geared towards families and tourists, whereas there are a few joints scattered around different fringe areas. We happened upon The Rectory Cafe  as shown in the photo. Great quiet tucked away place surrounded by trees with cold beer and good service. Then, right by our point of departure at the Ward's Island dock, there's another place with a laid back tropical island feel, which was also fantastic.  
  • Do stroll or ride up the little lanes to check out some of the homes and cottages on the east side of the island. It's eclectic and a bit surreal, and you feel like you're in cottage country 400 km north of  Toronto. Yet, you'll come to the end of a lane and the city's entire skyline looms seemingly right in front of you. 
As they say on Game of Thrones, winter is coming. Get outside and capitalize on the summer months whenever and wherever you can. It's a beautiful city with experiences just waiting to be had.  

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Particularly the part about naked Santa Claus. Can't wait to meet him. I think i'll follow your advice and try this out soon. I've never been to the island and I don't think about it much (due to the amount of screaming families crowded around the ferry ticket booth).