Monday, June 24, 2013

Destination Fun: Toronto's Centre Island #Centreville4Fun

One of the coolest things about raising your child where you grew up is that you get to revisit fun places and experience them again as if it were your first time.

As a child growing up in Toronto, summer means taking the ferry to Centre Island. There’s nothing quite like leaving the city behind for green, lush parkland. And, of course, some really fun rides.

Recently Hannah, Chris and I spent a fun-filled day at Centreville. Hannah was glued to the window our entire ferry trip across. She pointed at other boats, birds and even saw a Porter airplane take-off. When we arrived at the Island, she actually cried when we had to disembark!

The crying didn’t last long though, once on land she was awed by all the trees as well as the geese and ducks. We made our way to Centreville to check out some rides before lunch.

One of my favourite rides at Centreville has got to be the train. I love that it passes by Far Enough Farm, goes across bridges AND goes into a tunnel. I wasn’t sure how Hannah would react to the tunnel, but when we were back out in daylight she had the biggest smile on her face.

One of the nicest things about Centreville is that you can go on rides as a family. Since we are a family of three, we were able to ride both the Antique Cars and the Swans together. Chris took the reins on both rides, and Hannah had fun being in a car without a car seat and being on the water. After a ride on the Antique Carousel with Chris (Hannah opted to ride a cat), we decided to have lunch.

There are quite a few dining options in and around Centreville, and the entire island is perfect for picnicking (every time I visit I can still taste the tuna sandwiches and salt & vinegar chips my Mom packed us when I was a kid). We opted for Pizza Pizza, which was fresh, hot and delicious.

After lunch we decided to check out Far Enough Farm. Hannah’s favourite song right now is “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”. Needless to say, she was so enthused to see all of the animals and hear them make the noises I try to imitate when I sing the song. A farm staff member even brought a sheep close to the fence so Hannah could get up close and personal. We also got to pet Charlotte, the HUGE pink pig.

Then we arrived at Hannah’s scheduled naptime. Usually when we are out and about I dread this hour. But at Centre Island, you can walk for hours on various paved paths (that are definitely stroller/wagon friendly!). So we headed south and when Hannah fell asleep in her stroller we found a quiet, shady area for all of us to rest.

When Hannah awoke, we decided to play at the playground near the beach. Hannah loves slides, so she took the opportunity to go down quite a few. Another awesome thing about Centre Island is the variety of playground equipment spread all around the park.

Back in Centreville, we ventured on to Aunt Hilda’s Teacup Ride and the Ferris Wheel.

Then I took Hannah on the Carousel, and Chris got a turn with her to go on the Centreville Train.

Before we headed back to the ferry we HAD to stop for ice cream.

On the ferry ride home, Hannah again pointed out other boats and happily looked through the window. And again, she was sad when we had to leave the ferry.

Although we took Hannah to Centre Island last year, this is the first time she went on rides. As Hannah grows up, Centreville will remain an annual visit marked in our holiday calendar. I can’t wait until she will be able to enjoy the rides all by herself and I can hold HER hand if I get scared on the Haunted Barrel Works. I hope we get to go back this summer (we went on a cooler day) so she can spend some time at the beach and at the splash pad.

The Centreville staff is welcoming and friendly – they always made sure we had a great time at each attraction. With more than 30 rides and attractions, there really is something for everyone. Entrance to the park is free, but rides require tickets (great option if you plan to spend time at other places on the island) or you can purchase All Day Ride Passes (great if you are spending the entire day at Centreville, or have kids (or adults!) who want to ride the same ride over and over and over again).

Centreville is now open 7 days a week until September 2nd.

What's your favourite Centreville ride?

(When I was little, my Mom made us stand by this sign every year to see how much we've grown.
I plan to do the same with Hannah!)
This post was generously sponsored by Centreville, but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, visit

© 2013 YYZ Bambina. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Oh my that is a big pig! Good for you for going on the ferris wheel. I'm terrified of heights so would not attempt it no matter how much my children want to go on it. Hannah looks like she had tons of fun.

    As for favourite ride at Centreville - the swans! Brings back a lot of childhood memories and moves at a pace I can handle :)

    1. The Swans were quite fun! I was a little scared that you have to self-direct, but I think Chris enjoyed navigating us around.

  2. I love the tradition of taking a photo in the same place each time. It sounds like a fabulous day. Centreville should definitely be a 'must visit' for every Toronto family and visitor.

    My favourite - the carousel.

  3. Do they still have the haunted house? That was my fav.


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