Mayor John Tory announced on Wednesday that ferry service to the Toronto Islands will begin on Saturday, June 27, signalling the long-awaited reopening of the island for non-residents.
The resumption of summer ferry service hours to the Toronto Islands is an important yearly marker that many Torontonians look forward to each summer. But, given the COVID-19 pandemic, the wait has been a little longer than the norm this summer. Water taxis to the island have also been restricted. The beginning of the second phase of reopening in Toronto helped set the stage for this accomplishment.
However, it won’t be a free-for-all if you plan to rush out for a visit.
This Saturday ferries reopen to the Toronto Islands, alongside new rigorous public health measures including mandatory mask use & reduced capacity to enable physical distancing.
Book tickets online in advance and come out and enjoy the Islands. pic.twitter.com/Q3MUL3iDu4
— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) June 24, 2020
Ferry capacity will be limited, and the schedule will be reduced. Each ferry will be limited to 50 per cent of the maximum capacity, and only 5,000 people will be allowed to purchase ferry tickets each day. Some facilities on the island will remain closed, including park playgrounds, while others such as washrooms and Franklin Gardens will be opened to the public.
In addition, all passengers aboard the ferry will be required to wear facial coverings. The city is recommending that prospective travellers book their tickets online in advance of their planned visit. Visitors are also encouraged to book their visit for non-peak hours, to reduce congestion and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Wednesday’s announcement also stressed the importance of caution and social distancing when visiting the Toronto Islands. The city is recommending that all visitors self-screen for COVID-19, and asks that they refrain from visiting the island if exhibiting any symptoms.
Mayor Tory made the announcement at the Jack Layton Terminal.
“We have worked really hard over the last few months to stop the spread of the virus and we have all done things we would have rather not done, including not being able to visit the islands,” Tory said. “[We did that] so we could reach a day like this where we are sort of starting the process of making sure we can get back to the things that we enjoy so much, especially in the warmer weather.”
If you plan on traveling out to the islands, make sure you properly maintain social distancing, wear a facial covering, and follow any and all other safety procedures.