water taxi toronto

Toronto water taxi options and what you need to know

The water taxi in Toronto seems to be shrouded in a modest degree of mystery. How much does one cost? Are they licensed like regular taxis? And, of course, how late do they operate? Fortunately, given the size of the fleet, most questions related to this ferry-alternative are answered easily enough.

Here's what you need to know about the water taxi in Toronto.

The fleet

Water taxis in Toronto are licensed by the city, under the Water Taxi Licence Program. This puts a cap on the number of legal operators in the harbour. There are a maximum of six locations on the Islands that approved water taxis can have access to for pick-ups and drop-offs.

Departures from the mainland aren't as regulated, but the main departure point is the slip at Queens Quay and Spadina.

The main operators are Toronto Harbour Water Taxi, Five Star Water Taxi, Water Taxi Now, Harbourlink Watertaxi, The Otter Guy Water Taxi and Tiki Taxi. At present time only Toronto Harbour Water Taxi, Tiki Taxi and Water Taxi Now are licensed to pick up or drop off people at the Harbourfront docks.

The cost

On account of city regulations, water taxis charge $10 per person for a one-way trip to the Island (and vice versa when it comes to a return to the mainland). Once on the Island, you can travel back via ferry at no cost as there are no ticket booths on this side, but take note that the latest ferry runs at 11:45 p.m. from Centre Island.

Hidden Fees

It's important to note that over and above the base fee, some water taxis charge for items like bikes and strollers. This can add to the cost of your trip, so make sure to check the operator's rates and/ or policies before making the trip.

Water Taxi Hours

You'd be wrong to think that all water taxis operate later than city ferries. The Tiki Taxi, for instance, runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the summer season. What you're paying for is the convenience of shorter lines and the fun of a bamboo-clad boat, not longer hours.

The Toronto Harbour Water Taxi, on the other hand, does offer late service from the Islands. Its operating hours are 8 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The Otter Guy Water Taxi also has later hours, running all week from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. 

Lead photo by

Sean Smith


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