Today was a good day. It started off right with a nice chat over breakfast. One of the hostel staff suggested I visit High Park as it was such a nice day. After a lot of internal debate I decided to hire a bike from the hostel so I could visit that in the morning and head to the Toronto islands in the afternoon (there quite far apart).
The aforementioned debate was because I’m pretty scared of cycling in roads, especially in new cities where I don’t know the rules. I’m happy to report that I survived. The bike made a hideous noise in anything other than the toughest gear which didn’t help but the roads here are pretty big and well laid out so I wasn’t too terrified. The only thing I struggled with was turning right. Drivers seemed be able to turn right when the light was on red, and there was rarely a right lane so I didn’t know how to tell who was going which way. It was scary waiting at traffic lights as I didn’t know if I was going to get squashed.
High park is lovely. It wasn’t on the tourist map so I wouldn’t have known about it if not for the random chat this morning. I’m glad I came! It’s a pretty big, mostly woodland park. You can only cycle on paved roads but that was enough for me (I bet the woodland paths would be great with a mountain bike though!).
I spent just over an hour there riding round and taking a break to read. You could easily spend half a day or more though if you have the time.
It was actually lack of toilet facilities that forced me back to the hostel. I couldn’t see any near me so decided to call it a day and cycle back for a break before the islands in the afternoon. That meant I got to have salad from the Salad Shed on Kensington Market again. It’s so good but doesn’t seem to be on TripAdvisor yet so I’m plugging it here instead.
Once I’d got my strength back I headed to the ferry. This I didn’t enjoy so much. My road has a cycle path most of the way down it but I had to turn onto Jonge Street which seems to be the busiest road in town. Eventually I turned off and took another road/pushed the bike as there was so much traffic! Anyway I made it to the terminal. Getting the ferry is very straightforward. You buy a return ticket from the desks up front for $7, the ferry takes 15 minutes and they run roughly every 45 minutes all day until about 9pm but check before you travel as the schedule changes seasonally. Taking a bike with you isn’t a problem (you don’t even have to ask, just take it with you). After that you walk straight into the departure bay where you can get ferries to 3 different points on the islands. You can cycle between all of them as they’re connected by bridges so I just jumped on the first one that left. If you’re walking you might want to think about it a bit more, they’re not huge but the ports are a good 3 or 4km apart. You can also hire a bike on the island, I paid $20 for a full day while the island is roughly $15 for the first hour then $7/hour thereafter so it might be cheaper if you only want to do the hour. The islands are really beautiful and once you get away from the more touristy Centre island you can easily find yourself alone in nature. It reminded me of a nice spring day in the countryside. There are also a couple of beaches and a great view of the Toronto skyline.
I’m ending the day with tea in Tim Hortons and getting excited about meeting Ben in Montreal. 4 months has both flown and dragged by, I can’t believe there’s only 6 nights left until the solo adventure is over and the couply one begins. Exciting times!