Island Dreamin’



A gentle 15 minute ferry ride from the hustle and bustle (and endless construction) of downtown Toronto is a stunning wedding destination option – one that flies well under the radar for many couples. Of course I’m talking about Toronto Islands.

Technically an archipelago,  The Islands provide a Right In Your Backyard choice for couples wanting a destination wedding experience, while staying close to home. Earlier this month I loaded up my bike and headed to the Islands so I could check them all out personally. (Is there a better way to spend a sunny summer day than riding your bike around the Islands?)

You have eight venue options throughout the Islands:

St. Andrews by the Lake Anglican Church

The Rectory Cafe

The Island Yacht Club

Queen City Yacht Club

The Royal Canadian Yacht Club

Artscape at Gibraltar Point

Wards Island Clubhouse

Algonquin Island Clubhouse

These venues run the gamut from humble and basic to grand and elegant. Let’s visit three of them today:

The Rectory Cafe

The Rectory Cafe Sign

A former minister’s residence, this cute cafe is just a few steps from the Ward’s Island ferry dock. Surrounded by trees, and with the blue waters of Lake Ontario just beyond the gate, the Boardwalk Patio can seat about 125. The indoor space holds 50. Larger gatherings can be accommodated with a tent. I can confirm that the The Rectory’s reputation for great dining is well deserved. My friends and I enjoyed a delicious lunch on the patio when we visited. Take a look at this sweet Rectory Cafe wedding captured by Toronto photographer Lushana Bale.

The Island Yacht Club

Founded in 1951 The Island Yacht Club sits on 16 scenic acres on Mugg’s Island. Accessible by boat only,  The IYC will make you feel like you are a world away from the minute you step onto their dock. Ceremonies can take place indoors or out. Marry outside under a canopy of trees, or under the tent – a permanent feature adjacent the clubhouse. The recently renovated (2006) clubhouse is a stunning, modern space featuring massive windows, a fireplace and spectacular views of the lake and Toronto skyline. And the patio outside is a lovely spot for cocktails.

Artscape at Gibraltar Point

Dreaming of a beach wedding? This might be your perfect venue. Formerly the historic Toronto Island Public and Natural Science School, Artscape at Gibraltar Point has two indoor spaces AND easy beach access. The indoor event spaces have a retro, boho vibe and lend themselves to your personal DIY creative touch. The outside space features twinkle lights in the trees, a fire pit for late night ‘smores, and – this might be the best part – the historic lighthouse that will illuminate the sky as you sail away at the end of your evening.

I hope this quick tour has let your mind wander to some island dreamin’. Stay tuned –  we’ll explore more of the unique venues of The Islands in my next post.


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