Wardís Island Beach

Ontario, Canada

Starfish Rating of 3.5

Claim to Fame

The site of the remaining 260 homes that were once slated for evacuation and demolition in order to make Wardís Island 100% parkland, this is a small residential area that comprises the largest car-free community in North America.

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  • Where is it?on the southern shore, southeastern tip, of Wardís 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» 43.6301°
    longitude» -79.3521°
  • 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: 1m/1.6km
  • Type: beige to grey sand, a few pebbles near the shoreline
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A tiny warren of streets with funky houses, many of them looking like the old renovated cottages that they are, dot the eastern end of long, narrow Wardís Island and sit adjacent to its relaxing beach. With full south exposure, Wardís Island Beach gets a lot of sunshine and is on the Harbour Channel where the fast-flowing water tends to be cleaner than that in the inner harbor area.

This is a beach to enjoy a day away from the city noise, take a picnic at one of the provided tables and relish in the soft sound of the lake breeze as it teases the trees and tall grasses that line the beach. There is a rustic sensibility on this beach, a slow pace, and the crowd acts accordingly.

Swimming is good here, but itís more of a walking, exploring, beachcombing type of location. The long boardwalk that stretches the entire southern shore of Wardís Island makes for a delightful stroll or jog. The local residents (they once numbered a few thousand) share their beach and donít seem to mind the curious folks who take a walk around their tiny neighborhood. Itís all very low-key, a huge contrast to the bustling city just north.

Wardís Island Beach is situated right at one of three ferry terminals on the Toronto Islands, and so it is easy to access. Itís a great escape, a place to commune with the beauty of the water and the sand.

See additional Toronto Beaches.

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