Toronto, ON: Minutes from downtown, but a whole world away
When you think Toronto, you don't really think island getaway. And yet.
More than a dozen islets and small islands, formed by a storm in the mid-1800s, dot lake Ontario a short ferry ride off the city's downtown shore. Pick a warm day and explore Ward's Island.
In the late 19th century, city-dwellers seeking a getaway from the bustle pitched a settlement of tents here. These were eventually replaced by sturdier structures and today, about 700 inhabitants live on Ward's Island, in tiny, colorful cottages that dot pathways winding through the trees.
When the flowers are in bloom and you're strolling along, dodging butterflies and playing Count the Hammocks, it's hard to believe you're a stone's throw from Canada's busiest city.
No cars are allowed on Toronto Islands (bliss!), but there are bicycle and boat rentals. Stop for a bite on the lakeside patio at the Rectory Café, and order the Luisa Cake—it's named after one of the island's resident bakers, who cooks up a different recipe every day.