Paddling in Toronto Islands

Trips that you have taken, planned, are planning etc. and suggested paddle locations.

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PJohanson
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Paddling in Toronto Islands

Post by PJohanson » Fri May 30, 2008 11:11 am

On my second outing of commando kayaking in Metro Toronto, on Tuesday May 20, I wrestled my inflatable kayak into my sister-in-law's car trunk. She dropped me at Square One in Mississauga, and I hopped onto the GO bus to Union Station, downtown Toronto.
Once there, I trundled the kayak into the station, down stairs, and onto a streetcar to the waterfront. It was a four-block walk, with Bay Street to cross, so the streetcar was a good alternative. Then onto the little ferry to the Toronto Islands.
When my partner Bernie was visiting Toronto, he rented a plastic kayak from a place on Harbourfront, and paddled a few hundred yards across the harbour to the islands. (That was a good idea. Canoe rentals from Harbourfront Canoe & Kayak Centre are half-price if you pick up three bags of garbage – and the centre will provide the empty garbage bags. www.paddletoronto.com 1-800-960-8886 )
But on this day I was paddling the Dragonfly model inflatable and there was a lot of traffic in the harbour that morning, so the ferry seemed sensible. Sure enough, there were several sailboats out for their first bright day of the summer.
It was a bright day, from time to time, and just a little breeze to start that picked up as the day went on. I hopped off the ferry at Hanlan's Island, changed in the restroom, and puffed up the boat. Strapping everything on the deck was a little tricky, as it raised the centre of gravity, but the Dragonfly is a pretty stable ride. Putting anything under my seat was NOT on, as it raised MY centre of gravity high enough to mess with my muscle sense of balance.
Hanlan's Island is a nice place, less crowded than the rest of the islands, and with a public restroom right by the ferry dock. I saw many birds during the day, including a scarlet tanager and a kingfisher and something like a great blue heron with a short neck. A raccoon was down by the shoreline of Centre Island.
Five different tour boats cruised past me at intervals during the day. Lots of little power boats at marinas in these islands, and many houses on Ward's Island or Algonquin Island have boats and decks at the shoreline.
I made my way slowly around Centre Island to Ward's Island and got out at the ferry dock there. Tip: launch and land on the beach on the west side of the dock, not the rock wall on the east side as I did.
All in all, it was three and a half hours of paddling in quiet, sheltered waters (except when I rounded two islands, and that was still on the harbour side). I'll do it again someday, and hope to have friends along.

bobrik55
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Post by bobrik55 » Sun Apr 04, 2010 7:48 pm

hah sounds like a nice adventure i live in toronto too i should do the same

rsegovian
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Post by rsegovian » Thu May 06, 2010 7:43 am

Sounds like you had a lot of fun in that trip! Nice tip too on where to get cheaper canoe rentals. I had read a few locations in Canada that is good for kayaking. Will check this definitely.

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Last edited by rsegovian on Fri May 07, 2010 7:38 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PJohanson
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Post by PJohanson » Thu May 06, 2010 10:11 am

It really was a lot of fun! I'd recommend it to paddlers visiting Toronto. This is a good city for taking these inflatable kayaks on public transit, so you can paddle on the Humber River, or among the Toronto Islands, or go to Mississauga and paddle on the New Credit River. Weather was good for me in all those places. I hear that on windy days, the Great Lakes are just as risky as ocean paddling on windy days.

micahgee
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Post by micahgee » Thu May 06, 2010 7:29 pm

You gotta post a picture or two next time :P

Get some an Advanced Frame, its much better than the Dragonfly plus you can use a spray skirt!

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PJohanson
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Post by PJohanson » Thu May 06, 2010 9:43 pm

You can see some pictures from the Toronto Islands by going to my kayaing group's website at kayakyak.blogspot.com -- then look in the right hand margin at the "Places We've Paddled" and click on Toronto.

The photos are from my partner's trip, not mine, but they're good.
There are lots of photos all through the Kayak yak website showing my Advanced Elements inflatables, and my friend's as well.

I've got an Expedition and a StraitEdge2, as well as the Dragonfly. They're all great boats, and they all handle differently. The one I like best for urban commuting on public transit is the Dragonfly because it's so small and light. The Expedition is harder for me to haul around, but it's worth it!

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