Toronto Neighbourhood Guide

Downtown

Toronto Islands

History of Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands were created in 1858 after a tremendous storm separated Toronto's eastern peninsula from the city's mainland. Once the Islands had been formed they immediately became a popular summer playground containing hotels, amusement parks, and summer cottages.

A housing crisis during World War Two led to the winterization of Island cottages and marked the beginning of year round occupancy on the Toronto Islands. Once the war was over, Metro mandated that all the Island houses be demolished so that the Toronto Islands could be used exclusively as parkland.

Only the communities of Ward's Island and Algonquin Island survived the city's wrecking crews. However, their status remained clouded until 1994 when the province signed a 99 year lease deal with Toronto Island residents, that finally secured the future of the "Islanders" and their neighbourhood.

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June 2018

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