toronto island

Lineups for water taxis to the Toronto Islands were the worst they've ever been this weekend

If you were anywhere near Toronto's waterfront over the weekend, you'll know it was impossible to ignore not just the throngs of people who were out and about enjoying the weather, but the thousands waiting in lineups to get across the lake to the city's islands.

Naturally, the sunshine and hot 30 C+ temps made residents of T.O. — who have been suffering under full pandemic lockdown for all but a few weeks since November — want to get outside and take part in the few summertime activities currently available to us.

While some packed parks and beaches, others had their hearts set on a trip to our local archipelago to perhaps have a picnic with a killer view of the city or soak up the sun on Hanlan's Point Beach.

Unfortunately for those who made plans to spend Saturday or Sunday off the mainland, it seems that thousands also had that same idea.

With public ferries running at 50 per cent capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions, tickets sold out out rapidly, leaving crowds to stand in line for hours to hop on a water taxi from one of the handful of providers in the city.

Lineups for the taxis snaked around the waterfront, running alongside one another and even intersecting at points, with some on the scene claiming they'd been waiting for two or three hours.

"To put it bluntly, it was probably the busiest day we've had, ever," a staffer for The Pirate Taxi — which departs from docks at the Harboufront Centre and Spadina Ave. and Rees Street — and told blogTO. "If you were a dock hand on the island, you were dealing with thousands upon thousands of people."

They also agreed that lineups for different companies wrapped so far around the Harbourfront area that they were mixing together.

Tiki Taxi, which operates from a dock at Spadina and Queen's Quay, likewise said it was an extremely busy weekend for them, but that though the wait times for other companies or the ferries were multiple hours long, their lineups were around an hour at their peak — still a heck of a lot longer than usual.

"Our entire team worked extremely hard to ensure our boats moved passengers efficiently and that people were not waiting in the heat longer than was necessary," a representative said.

While lines took up sidewalks and boardwalks on land, quite predictably, the islands themselves appeared (based on social media posts) to be an absolutely packed mess, particularly Hanlan's, as was the case at points last summer.

Hopefully as the province enters Step 1 of reopening this week and people get a chance to enjoy the weather rin alternative ways — including, at long last, eating and drinking on bar and restaurant patios — it won't be so hectic and impossible to get to the Islands throughout the remainder of the summer.

Lead photo by

Becky Robertson

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