A Look Back on Ward’s Island ‘Tent City’

February 2017

Did you know…?

When you disembark from the Toronto ferry at Ward’s Dock, you’ll see Ward’s Island community on your left and the Algonquin Island community on your right. Together, the 700 residents on these two islands make up the Toronto Island Community.

Beginning in the mid-1800s, seasonal fishermen camped on Ward’s Island. Early in the 1900s, they were joined by their families who lived in tents in the summer. It was an affordable way for the less affluent to escape the heat of Toronto. This was known as “Tent City”. In 1931, the City allowed Ward’s Islanders to build permanent cottages on their campsites. Gradually, wood floors were laid and additions made; the homes became more substantial and cottage-like, eventually becoming year-round residences. Today, as you walk the streets of Ward’s Island, you’ll pass many small houses that were constructed during this era.

In March, we’ll share the history of Algonquin Island. Stay tuned…

Toronto Island is beautiful in the winter. The ferry ride is about 10 minutes and costs $7.50 (adult, return). www.toronto.ca/ferry.

Note: The Rectory Café (416-203-2152) is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 11:00am to 5:00pm. Don’t forget to dress warmly!

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