Sport and fitness - Toronto - Travel | Monocle

Toronto Islands

To take advantage of some of the best green spaces in the city, hop aboard the city-run ferry to Toronto Islands, an archipelago in Lake Ontario. The voyage to Centre Island takes between 10 and 15 minutes and is a good place to start if you’re on a run. Its well-kept routes offer a range of distances, including a 10km trail that spans the islands, the historic beach at Hanlan’s Point and Gibraltar Lighthouse. If you’re cycling, both the ferries and privately run, summer water taxis have bike racks on board. The return ferry is worth the journey alone, particularly at sunset on a clear day, for its sweeping views of the city’s towering skyline.


In 1954, Canadian swimmer Marilyn Bell, then 16-years-old, became the first person to swim unassisted across Lake Ontario from Youngstown, New York, to Toronto. It was a feat that took more than 20 hours and made her into a national heroine. As a lakeside city, swimming has long been woven into Toronto’s urban identity. As well as the lake, Toronto boasts 65 indoor public pools and 59 outdoor swimming baths that open every summer. The grandest of these is Sunnyside Pavilion, a beaux arts-inspired complex built in 1922. For summertime lake-swimming, head to any of Toronto’s 11 public beaches. Woodbine Beach in the east and the recently-restored Gibraltar Point on Toronto Islands are good options. If you forget your trunks, pick up a pair from Bather, whose garments are all made in Toronto.


Argonaut Rowing Club, Liberty Village

Founded by members of the UK’s Oxford and Cambridge rowing associations in 1872, this is one of the country’s oldest rowing clubs (check out the trophies dating back to the 1800s), and has sent more crews to the Olympics than any other Canadian club. It’s located on Lake Ontario, with a rowing channel that extends 4.5km to the Humber River, and offers lessons for all skill levels. If you’re an early bird, take an hour-long class at sunrise – the view of the skyline is breathtaking.

1225 Lakeshore Boulevard West, M6K 3C1
+1 416 532 2803

Images: Lorne Bridgeman

Go back: Toronto


sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio

00:00 01:00

  • The Pacific Shift