Unique cottage-style retreats in the heart of Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands are one of the city’s most popular destinations and most exclusive locales. An eight-minute ferry from the Toronto mainland takes you to another world. While the sweeping green park and its sandy beaches are a frequent destination for Torontonians looking to escape the summer heat, the cluster of quirky houses there are nearly impossible to buy, the result of a unique set of purchasing requirements and a long waiting list. These island rentals offer a unique opportunity to cottage in the heart of Canada’s largest city.

Though many of the homes may look like cottages, nestled amongst the trees, island residents are required to live there full time. While the number of available rentals has dwindled in recent years due to flooding on Lake Ontario, bylaw changes that aim to dissuade commercial rental units, and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, the few rentals, and B&Bs that remain have allowed visitors to explore the less-visited side of the islands in a more intimate way.

With no cars or stores (not even a grocery store), the tranquility of the island can be a welcome change from the busy streets of Toronto. A rewarding and unique island cottaging experience is only a ferry ride away from Toronto’s downtown core. Here is a list of B&Bs, Airbnbs, and rentals on the Toronto Islands. 

Toronto Island cottage
Photo by Hannah Mittelstaedt

B&B-4 Dacotah Ave. (formerly Smiley’s) 

Tucked away behind a home on Algonquin Island (one of the two inhabited islands), this self-contained studio unit can accommodate four people. With an open concept, the airy, multi-floor unit offers full amenities, including breakfast food and fresh-baked bread. The island’s meandering lagoon system is a short walk away and access to a canoe is included with the rental. Bicycles are available as well. 

Week-long rentals are preferred. Although the unit is booked through the summer, it is available from August 31 to Sept 27. 

Find rental information here.

Toronto Islands cottage
Photo by Hannah Mittelstaedt

Toronto Island Retreat 

A ferry ride away on Ward’s Island, these units are both stylish and modern, while still in keeping with the island’s bohemian vibe. Featuring a full suite of amenities including a bathtub and washer/dryer, the units provide all the necessities to take on the island in rain or shine.  

The units are rented by the week only and are fully booked for the summer. A long-term rental for the off-season is available.  

Find rental information here

Photo of cottage on Toronto Islands
Photo by Hannah Mittelstaedt

Toronto Island Cottage 

This full cottage on Algonquin Island sits directly opposite Toronto Harbour and is ideally located to watch the sunset on the city skyline across the water. Fully furnished and recently renovated, the standalone unit boasts two bedrooms, a spacious front yard, and patio furniture. 

Like other island rentals, this unit is a hot commodity in the summer months but has availability starting in September. For rental information, click here.

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