Friday, May 31, 2013

A Weekend Trip to the Toronto Islands


We have lived in the Toronto area for almost 30 years and yet there are still popular destinations that we have never managed to visit. 

Last weekend we used the Toronto Islands Spring Garden Tour as an excuse to check off one more spot on our list of points of interest we haven't explored. 


As you can see here on the map, there is a crescent-shaped cluster of islands just off-shore in the Toronto harbour. 

There is no bridge to the islands. If you want to get there, you have to take a ferry ride.


As well as being a  popular recreational destination, the Toronto Islands are home to a small residential community. Our ferry took us out to Ward's Island. 

The weather couldn't have been better for our first visit! 


Other than service vehicles, there are no cars on the Toronto islands. Bikes are as motorized as it gets. 

The houses are largely cottage style with picturesque lane ways in between them like this one.


Though the view of Toronto's busy downtown core is often within eyesight, 
the atmosphere on the island is relaxed and casual. 


Everywhere we looked it seemed that there are quaint cottages with pretty gardens. 

Today, I am going to show you one of my favourite gardens on the tour.


A flagstone path lined with ferns leads into the core to this garden.


At the heart of the garden, there is a shallow pond with rustic bench under a Redbud covered in 
small magenta-pink flowers.


A stone bridge leads you across the pond.


This is a shady garden and so there were lots of ferns among the plantings, as well as this white 
flowering Epimedium on the right.


I loved this delicate ferns with its fine black stems. I have no idea of its name, but am going to make a point of looking for a plant to purchase at my favourite local nursery.


This is the view looking back to the entrance gate.


A closeup of the entrance gate.


We'll pause for a break at the Island Cafe before touring a few more of gardens on Ward's Island.

Have a great weekend everyone! 

P.S. I promise to post the winners of the Loblaw gift cards up next.

29 comments:

  1. What a beautiful shady garden! Love that redbud behind the serene pond. I've been to Toronto's Centre Island a lot as a kid, but we never have visited the others. Great idea for a day trip. I'm curious to know what is your favourite gardening centre as I'm in the GTA. Enjoy your weekend! Wendy

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    1. Wendy, Humber Nursery has a selection of perennials that is hard to beat. They also have a great clearance sale in late August. I have purchased standard lilacs there for around $30. Sheridan Nurseries can be a bit pricier than Humber, but they have nice decorative items. I also like to visit Lost Horizons Nursery t least once every summer to see the display garden and shop for more unusual plants, shrubs and trees.

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  2. I love gardens that seems like a peaceful hideaway from the bustling world. Dappled sunlight, winding pathway, a pond and a bench - sounds like paradise :)

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  3. Oh, man! I wish I'd known about the tour. Is it a yearly one?

    S
    xo

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    1. Yes, I believe it is an annual tour. Although it was a lot of walking, we had a great time and I highly recommend watching for tour details next spring.

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  4. Oh what a fun place to live and to visit! I am sure that will not be your last visit to the islands! The garden, the bridge, the flowering redbud ~ I can see why it was your favorite garden!

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  5. Jennifer, interesting trip!
    I love most the photos of the shallow pond, nice place, quiet and shady.
    Happy gardening!

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  6. It looks like a fantastic little gem! :-)

    http://tinajoathome.com/

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  7. What a gorgeous place! I love the fact there are no cars and the pretty cottages are to die for!

    How lucky are you having such a lovely place to visit.xxxx

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  8. Goodness, I haven't been to the islands for 20 years or more. The garden you showcased is lovely and I would be happy to spend many hours there. The fern is Adiantum pedatum the maidenhair fern for eastern North America. The black stems are a clue to identifying it.

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    1. Thanks for identifying the fern Patty. I liked it so much, I bought one on the weekend.

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  9. Such a lovely trip with fascinating gardens. I can relate to the shady garden as we have so much here and the planting made it all look so peaceful even though there were glimpses of the city with the CN Tower. Wish I had known about them when we visited, we went for a ferry ride round the islands but weren't able to stop.

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  10. What a fabulous place to live! If there aren't any cars, how do they get their gardening stuff home? I'd hate to carry a giant stone slab on a bike. I wouldn't get very far. :o)

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    1. I was wondering the same thing Tammy! When we were returning home by ferry we saw a number of residents coming home from shopping trips. They all had bikes with small trailers loaded with shopping bags. But those were small daily purchases, how do they get big items like furniture or giant stone garden slabs home? I wish I had had a chance to ask someone that very question! My guess is the larger items must come by boat.

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  11. Now that is one amazing island! No cars, and cottages!!! My kind of place! I really like how the redbud anchors that backyard garden...so stunning! And how awesome that you had wonderful weather for your outing! I need to visit Canada! I can't wait to see the rest!

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  12. What a lovely garden, Jennifer! We haven't been to the Island since the kids were small. We once went biking there and then on the rides. I used to have a redbud, but it up and died. Seeing this beauty made me realize how much I miss it. Their pond was lovely and the whole look fit the Island. I have also never seen a white Epimedium - cool!

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  13. Oh Jennifer...you go to some of the coolest places! This looks like such a fun place to visit. My favorite picture was the one of the cottage with the gravel path leading up to it. I can just picture me and hubby riding our bikes around the little town.

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  14. Jennifer I had never heard of these islands but will make an effort to visit the next time I come to Toronto. What a beautiful place.

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  15. Another Toronto gem that the right-wing corporate thugs would like to pave over. Your beautiful shots underline the argument for not allowing expansion of the Island Airport and for not allowing Porter airlines to fly bigger and bigger jets right over top of this tiny spec of natural calm that gives so many so much pleasure. Thanks for sharing your daytrip!

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  16. What a great place to be Jennifer. I love the vieuws you made.
    Have a fantastic time!!

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  17. What a lovely place to visit, the fact that you had really good weather made it all the more pleasurable I'm sure!
    Your blog really set the scene - thank you for showing me a part of the world I have never visited.

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  18. I have such fond memories of growing up in Toronto and visiting Centre Island. There is nothing like a short ferry ride to transport you to another time and place. Your photos brought back so many memories. Thanks

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  19. There is so much of the world that I don't know about - visiting your blog seems to bring your part of it so much closer. Fancy never having visited these islands before - I bet you wish you had now. Wonderful.

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  20. How stunning! I've just added it to my list of places I want to visit. I think that fern is adiantum, by the way. Supposedly it's pretty tough, even though it looks very delicate.

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  21. I think I'll have to catch the ferry sometime this summer. I love the charming look of these gardens.

    -Karen

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  22. My kind of place! :)
    ....and that first photo of the lupins took my breath away, how gorgeous!

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  23. I think I will need to visit there. It really looks like a beautiful place. Love your photos, great selling point.

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  24. I love the photo of the cottage's front garden--what a peaceful and beautiful hideaway! Jennifer, you have the most beautiful gardens in your area; this looks like a gardener's dream vacation.

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  25. wonderful gardens and photos. There's something to be said for pretending to be a tourist in your home town.

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