Thursday 9 June 2016

A Magical Place

In my first post about Toronto Islands, I wrote about our visit to Centre Island.  Our journey continued on foot and we walked the 2.5 km boardwalk adjoining the shore of Lake Ontario to reach Ward's Island.

This car -free community of cottages is a beautiful place to spend time.  The narrow lanes wind between the homes and can become a little congested on busy summer Saturdays.

We did manage to find a little space and I took these photographs.  You can just glimpse the city skyline in the background.

In his book A Magical Place, Bill Freeman describes the Island and its people and the history of this community.  Ward's Island was undeveloped until the turn of the 20th century, until summer campers started visiting in 1904.  

Within 8 years, there were 685 campers who spent the summer there and the roads were laid out, but it was not until 1931 that the city council allowed the construction of summer cottages.  These were intended for seasonal occupation and were not insulated for winter use.

A shortage of housing after the Second World War led to the cottages being 'winterized' (insulated) and the houses were soon being occupied year round.

There were attempts to remove the cottages in the 1960s, but the Islanders campaigned to keep their homes and in recent years, the homes have been significantly improved.  

I think those who call Ward's and neighbouring Algonquin Islands home are very fortunate.  How wonderful to live in a car-free community with the only sounds being those of nature (apart from power tools used for home improvements!). 

Although I didn't manage to photograph any Islanders, they are easy to spot going about their business by bicycle, many of which have been adapted to carry anything and everything that they need from the mainland.  

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