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Toronto is often celebrated for its towering skyline, offering up the iconic CN Tower with its famous EdgeWalk experience and revolving 360 Restaurant.  The city is also home to impressive museums and art galleries, delicious restaurants, and even a castle known as Casa Loma.

Toronto is also surrounded by some lovely natural attractions, such as Niagara Falls which is just a daytrip away, and the lovely Toronto Islands closer to home on its doorstep. In fact, beyond Toronto’s bustling downtown and its iconic landmarks exists a vibrant yachting community with several yacht clubs and marinas located along the shores of Lake Ontario.

Toronto’s yachting culture draws in not only locals but also international visitors who wish to see the  city and its natural surrounds in a unique way. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a curious newcomer, setting sail in Toronto unveils a side of the city that few get the chance to experience.

Toronto’s Hidden Gems: Discovering Secluded Spots on a Yacht Charter

The Allure of Toronto’s Waterfront

There are many popular yacht routes in Toronto that allow you to really immerse yourself in the city’s natural wonders. Toronto’s extensive waterfront is a playground for yachting enthusiasts. The city’s location on the northern shore of Lake Ontario provides calm waters and large open expanses for sailors of all skill levels.

Toronto’s yachting scene is made up of prestigious yacht clubs and well-equipped marinas. The Royal Canadian Yacht Club is one of Canada’s oldest, offering world-class facilities and a rich history dating back nearly 200 years. Situated on the Toronto Islands, the RCYC combines exclusivity with breathtaking natural landscapes, making it a favorite among sailors.

The Beauty of the Toronto Islands

A short sail from the mainland, the Toronto Islands offer a relaxing escape from the CBD. This collection of small islands is a favorite destination for yachters, providing sheltered anchorages, sandy beaches, and lush parklands.

Explore the tranquil lagoons and Centreville Amusement Park of Centre Island, enjoy a seaside meal at one of the cafes along the boardwalk of Ward’s Island, or get a bit scandalous on Hanlan’s Point where you’ll find one of Canada’s few clothing-optional beaches.

While the summer months may be the most optimal time to enjoy many of the available outdoor activities, the islands are beautiful year-round. Be sure to take in the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse and keep an eye out for wildlife like raccoons, beavers, and over 200 species of birds.

Then there are Scarborough Bluffs which stretch for nearly 10 miles along Lake Ontario’s shoreline, offering up several parks with numerous hiking trails. The Bluffs reach up to 300 feet tall in places and were formed over thousands of years through the action of wind and water erosion on the soft clay and sedimentary rock deposited by glaciers during the last Ice Age. The dramatic cliffs are especially magical during sunrise and sunset, offering exceptional photography.

Secluded Beaches and Natural Havens

Further east, beyond the Bluffs, lies one of Toronto’s best-kept secrets which is Rouge National Urban Park. Bridging the gap between urban life and natural beauty, Rouge National is one of the largest urban parks in North America and home to several ecosystems,

Yachting through the Rouge River offers plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife and visit secluded beaches that are only reachable by boat. Tommy Thompson Park, known locally as the Leslie Street Spit, is also worth a visit. The park is very popular with bird watchers who are eager to seek out various raptors and wading birds, as well as colorful warblers during spring and fall migration.

And whether you’re looking to sunbathe or swim, the Toronto Islands have many beaches to lure you in. Centre Island Beach is one of the most popular and easily accessible from the ferry docks, and as mentioned earlier, Hanlan’s Point Beach on the western end of the Toronto Islands is one of the few legal nude beaches in Canada.

Ward’s Island Beach offers a more peaceful escape away from the crowds, offering up beautiful views of the Toronto skyline. Gibraltar Point Beach is another quiet beach and is located near the historic Gibraltar Point Lighthouse.

Hidden Coves and Scenic Views

Then there are the hidden coves of the Toronto Islands tucked secretly away from the busier beaches. These rather hidden natural gems offer a chance to really connect with nature. You can start with Snake Island Cove on the southwest tip of the Toronto Islands, south of Centre Island.

Other options include Harewood Beach Cove along the eastern shoreline of Centre Island, as well as Fox Point Beach on the western side of Ward’s Island. Many of the coves are accessible by boat or by hiking along the trails that crisscross the Toronto Islands.

Many small bays characterize the West Coast, and if you are a proud yacht owner or renter, this would be the perfect place to anchor and spend some time in the water. Also worth a  mention is Humber Bay Park which is a large waterfront park that spans both sides of the Humber River mouth on the western edge of the city.

Easily Accessible Yachting

One of the greatest advantages of yachting in Toronto is its accessibility. The city’s marinas are conveniently located and well-connected to public transportation. And if you don’t have your own yacht, you’ll be glad to know there are numerous charter companies providing options ranging from small sailboats to luxurious yachts.

Toronto’s annual yachting calendar is packed with special events as well. Throughout the summer months, the city’s waters come alive with regattas and sailing festivals such as the annual Lake Ontario 300 Challenge. Known as the “Great Race,” it’s a thrilling offshore race that attracts sailors from across North America.

Meanwhile, the Toronto International Boat Show is another big event which is held each January, showcasing the latest in boating technology and luxury yachts.

Yachting in Toronto offers a fresh perspective on this dynamic city, the city’s iconic landmarks, such as CN Tower and Rogers Centre taking on a new unique view when observed from the deck of a yacht.

While chartering a yacht in Toronto means getting a taste of the high life, it’s also an opportunity to explore another side of the city that most people fail to notice. From the picturesque and serene Toronto Islands to monumental Scarborough Bluffs, these natural secrets of Toronto show a side of the city reserved for those with an truly adventurous spirit.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007.  Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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