toronto island ferry

Toronto's ferries are about to get a big makeover

Everyone remembers the first time they took the ferry to the Toronto Islands. The quaint fleet is one of the last vestiges of nautical charm in this city, and now it's set to be replaced.

The city has begun to look into new designs for the 70-year old ferries (which apparently only have a life-span of 20 years, making me concerned if those ancient life jackets that hang from the ceiling have become strictly ornamental) in the coming years.

Some residents have been vocal on social media about the decision to replace the ferries in service, arguing that they are part of Toronto's historical landscape and should not be scrapped. 

Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon, on the other hand, said it's time to retire the ol' gals in favour of more modern vessels that can better accommodate the nearly 1.4 million annual ridership.

The fleet we've become so accustomed to launched in the 1960s and are part of a much longer history of mainland-island travel that spans back over 200 years. 

One tie to the past that won't be scrapped is the recently restored Trillium ferry, which will remain in service.

While it's always tough for residents to say goodbye to the most ubiquitous symbols of the city, the new ferries promise to be roomier and more efficient, ultimately cutting down on repair and maintenance costs in the long run.

As of now, city staff are still exploring replacement options, but along with plans for the new ferry terminal,  this will certainly be a major change to the waterfront.

Lead photo by

CJ Burnell


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