Let’s face it, locals love going to the Toronto Islands every summer, and we all know the routine. We hit the lines, hope we get there early enough so the waiting isn’t too long, pay for the ticket, wait for the ferry in what feels like a big enclosed cement cage (although that’s looking to change for the better), and finally when the ferry is ready, feel the pushing of hundreds of people as you board.
Here’s a tip: Buy your tickets in advance and avoid the first big line. Despite all the trouble, many of us make the summer pilgrimage because in the end it’s actually worth it. The Islands are an oasis, an escape from the norm. They’re beautiful and offer space to cycle, blade, lay down a blanket, have a picnic or even get naked on the beach.
But if you’re like me and looking for a different way to see the amazing Toronto skyline from the water, the solution is a specialized cruise line. Of course, there are several cruise companies to choose from including Jubilee Queen, Great Lakes Schooner, Empress and Nautical Adventure featuring the Empire Sandy.
But after years of walking by the ticket booth, I finally decided to do a Mariposa Cruise.This company offers different types of cruise experiences, from brunch and cocktail cruises to wedding and student cruises. Day and night, these guys are always on the move and helping you celebrate your occasion. Their menu lists alone give you a clue about attention to detail and the understanding that a really great time starts and ends with the food.
I wasn’t celebrating anything special, except warmer, summer weather, because you have to soak it all in while you can. This summer, I wanted a friendlier, more personable experience on the water. No rushing, no pushing. To enjoy the Islands and see the city without the big lines, big time commitment and hassle. And I wanted to do this without getting off the boat.
Cue the 45-minute Mariposa boat cruise. Smooth, quick, easy, narrated. With similar amazing views of both the city and the beautiful private boats that line the Island shores.
The Oriole is one of 6 in the Mariposa Fleet
If you have a limited amount of time, want to get out on the water to see the city and the surrounding islands or just experience the bay in a different way, then this is an ideal idea. It’s convenient, smooth sailing and takes only 45 minutes.