This week, thanks to a friend who owns two kayaks, I got caught in a bottleneck of water lilies. I caught a crawfish with my paddle (as I was fighting my way through the lilies). I enjoyed a ballet of dragonflies. I chilled with a white crane while eating cherries. I also came across the Log Ness Monster but that's another story (you can check the photos of a recent post on my French blog).
As we paddled along the canals, we could read some funny names on the mooring boats (such as AppropriYatch and Breakin' Wind). At one point, sliding past majestic weeping willows, I couldn't believe we were so close to downtown Toronto. (But the sound of boats and planes was a good reminder.)
West of Centre Island's ferry dock, I counted close to 100 white swams by the shore!
Can't reach it on a boat
If you have a look at City of Toronto's map of the Islands, between #23 and Long Pond (to the right of the 4 little people in a canoe), you'll notice a small bay including a circle of greenery. You can only access this spot (where the water is less than 15 cm deep) on a canoe or a kayak. That's where you'll find cranes and crawfish amidst the water lilies.
Kayak or canoe rental
No need to have a friend who owns two to enjoy a kayak ride around Toronto Islands (I know, I'm lucky!). You can rent one at the Boat Rental place, a two-minute walk east of the large white bridge in Centre Island, or at HarbourFront Canoe and Kayak Centre.
I've seen a few kayaks amidst the canoes and paddleboats at the Boat Rental. Unfortunately, I could not find rental fees on the City of Toronto's page on Toronto Islands (go figure!). I can only recommand you go straight to the rental as you get on Centre Island to reserve the next one available. Allow two hours for a good ride along the canals.
At HarbourFront Canoe and Kayak Centre, you could share a double-seat kayak in tandem with a friend, $85 for the day. It will take you approx. 20 minutes to paddle to the Islands. Bring a picnic in a plastic bag, and go have lunch in the middle of the water lilies.
More blogs about Toronto Islands:
8 TIPS: Toronto Islands with teenagers
5 TIPS: Toronto Islands with older kids
5 TIPS: Toronto Islands with younger kids