The Toronto Islands are a chain of islands located in Lake Ontario, just off the shore of downtown Toronto, Canada. The islands have a rich history that dates back thousands of years.
The indigenous people of the Toronto region, the Huron-Wendat, used the islands for fishing and hunting. In the 18th century, the islands were known as “Snake Island” because of the numerous snakes that inhabited the area. The islands were later renamed the “Toronto Islands” after the city of Toronto, which was established in 1793.
During the 19th century, the islands were used for farming, fishing, and hunting. In the 1870s, the Toronto Islands became a popular recreational destination, attracting visitors from the city who would come to swim, picnic, and take in the views of the city skyline. In 1888, the first amusement park, called “Hanlan’s Point,” was opened on the islands, featuring rides, games, and a dance hall.
In the early 20th century, the Toronto Islands became an important transportation hub, with ferries connecting the islands to the mainland. During World War II, the islands were used as a base for the Royal Canadian Navy, and the amusement park was closed.
After the war, the amusement park was reopened, but it began to decline in popularity in the 1950s. In the 1960s, the city of Toronto began to acquire land on the islands, and many of the buildings on the islands were demolished to make way for parkland.
Today, the Toronto Islands are a popular destination for visitors, with attractions such as Centreville Amusement Park, beaches, bike trails, and picnic areas. The islands are also home to a small community of year-round residents, who live in cottages and houses on the islands.