Hanlan’s Point Beach

Ontario, Canada

Starfish Rating of 3.5

Claim to Fame

One of only two “clothing optional” beaches in Canada; the only one made so by municipal decree.

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  • Where is it?on the western shore of Toronto Island, which is part of a small cluster of islands just off shore from Toronto, situated on the north shore of Lake Ontario
  • Coordinates: latitude» 43.6141°
    longitude» -79.3904°
  • Water Type: freshwater
  • Climate: continental (hot, humid summers; cold, damp winters)
  • Development: natural area with little development, and very few residents; part of major city and yet set away from it
  • Length of Beach: 1.2m/2km
  • Type: beige sand
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Even though Toronto Island is only a 15-minute ferry ride from Queen’s Quay and Bay Street at the southern tip of downtown Toronto, it feels like another world. Just an additional brief walk (or bicycle ride) from the island ferry terminal, Hanlan’s Point Beach, with its southwest exposure, enjoys sun, clean water, and a friendly atmosphere like few other beaches in northern climes.

One side of the beach, comprising a .6 miles (1 kilometer) stretch, was designated for clothing-optional sunbathing by local authorities in 2002, but the beach had been used for decades as a place for nude sunning because of the privacy afforded by a ring of trees and shrubbery that hide it from the footpath.

The fact is that almost no one who visits Hanlan’s Point Beach wears a swimsuit any more. There have always been a number of nudists who used the beach and the municipality gave in to their need for a decent, clean, safe beach. Couples, singles, women, families and members of the LGBT community use the beach in complete harmony.

This beach affords a fine view of the city from its northern end, and is surrounded by sand dunes. The only sport played here, other than swimming and general water sports, is beach volleyball. There are washrooms and showers available, as well as rentals of beach umbrellas and cots. A licensed snack bar serves beer, wine and edibles, and provides ice for coolers.

Celebrating 40 years of fun on Hanlan’s Point Beach is the annual Beach Ball, a daytime dance party that is held right on the beach, with disc jockeys and live music; proceeds benefit local charities.

See additional Toronto Beaches.

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