Mix doesn't support your web browser. For a better experience, we recommend using another browser.
@karengb
Karen GB
Istanbul Travel: Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern and Bosphorus CruiseWith only 72 hours in Istanbul, we knew that we only have time to see the highlights and fortunately for us, our hotel is within walking distance of Istanbul's famous landmarks.We started our day with an early breakfast at our hotel and afterward, we took a stroll to the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar which is about a 10-15 minute walk from the hotel.The Grand and Spice Bazaar are pretty much like any other outdoor market. Vendors line up the streets selling clothes, shoes, accessories, household items, etc. We bought a bunch of souvenirs from a vendor selling keychains, trinkets and assorted evil eye accessories. There's also plenty of food stalls along the way giving you a taste of Turkish street food.The Spice Bazaar, true to its name, is more spice-centric. All the common herbs and spices can be bought here by the bulk and most of the stores also sell Turkish delight.Aside from the souvenirs, we didn't buy much except for a cup of freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice and some simit (bagel-like bread).Sultan Ahmet CamiiAddress: Sultan Ahmet Mahallesi, Atmeydanı Cd. No:7, 34122 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeyVisiting Hours: 08:30-11:30/ 13:00-14:30/ 15:30-16:45/ Opening for Friday 13:30Fee: Free to enter. Donation can be made upon exitWebsite: Sultan Ahmet CamiiSuggested Tour: Guided Half-day Tour to Hagia Sophia and Blue MosqueThe Sultan Ahmet Camii (Sultan Ahmed Mosque) is not only Istanbul's most popular mosque but also the most beautiful. It is more commonly known as the Blue Mosque because of its blue interiors.Because it is still a working mosque, tourists who wish to visit can only come in at certain times of the day and must also abide by the dress code and proper etiquette inside the mosque.It's truly magnificent when you see it up-close.Basilica CisternAddress: Alemdar Mh., Yerebatan Cd. 1/3, 34410 Fatih/İstanbul, TurkeyVisiting Hours: 09:00-18:30Fee: 20 TLWebsite: Yerebatan SarniciSuggested Tour: Imperial Istanbul Half-day Tour Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and Grand BazaarUnderneath the streets of Istanbul lies an ancient cistern, the Basilica Cistern. This underground water reservoir called the Yerebatan Cistern was constructed for the Byzantium Emperor, Justinianus I. It was called Basilica Cistern because there used to be a Basilica in place of the Cistern.Pictured below is one of the two Medusa heads supporting a column inside the Basilica Cistern.Next, we booked a late afternoon cruise along the Bosphorus River. The meeting place was just by the main road of the Sultanahmet District. We met with the tour guide along with the other participants of the cruise, passing by the Hagia Sophia and on to the loading dock by the Bosphorus River.We passed by the Galata Bridge with a great view of the Galata Tower.The cruise costs about 30 Euros per passenger if you book it with a travel agent.Suggested Tour: Guided Bosphorus Cruise with TransportThere was a tour guide narrating some tidbits about Istanbul and the Bosphorus River for the whole duration of the tour. She pointed out places of interest and gave us a little insight into Istanbul's history and some interesting stories. The boat has a coffee shop in case you get hungry or want to enjoy the cruise while sipping a Turkish coffee.I highly recommend taking the Bosphorus Cruise to complete your trip to Istanbul. The sunset was beautiful and it was a nice and relaxing way to end a day of sightseeing.The Hagia Sophia is mesmerizing at night.The Blue Mosque is equally as beautiful during nighttime.Since we are staying right in the city center, there's plenty of restaurants in the area that we didn't need to go far to have a delicious dinner.We ate at a restaurant in a small alley near the main road at what looked like a home that was just converted into a really cozy restaurant.The top floor of the restaurant has fantastic views of the Blue Mosque.Our last day in Istanbul, we didn't do much except shop for some skincare products at a local pharmacy a block away from our hotel. Cosmetics and skincare products are really cheap in Istanbul and we bought one too many!We also took a stroll back to the Grand and Spice Bazaar and took the tram back to Istiklal.Dinner was at Saltanat Barbeque House beside the White House Hotel Istanbul, and I have to say, this was the best dinner we ever had on this trip! It's a pity we did not try out this restaurant right away otherwise we would probably have eaten here all the time during our stay.If you have the chance, try this restaurant. Seafood is unbelievably fresh, servings were big, the owner was super friendly and the prices ain't bad either!I now know why Istanbul's been constantly at the top of must-see destinations in the world. It's beautiful, the people are friendly and the food is delicious. I hope to come back someday and see more of this incredible city!    
1
Toronto Travel: Ripley's Aquarium of Canada | KGB in Wanderland BlogIf you are looking for a fun family activity to do while in Toronto, definitely include the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in your itinerary. It is one of the most visited attractions in downtown Toronto since its opening in October 2013.We originally planned on visiting the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada on our first sightseeing day in Toronto. However, there was a private event that evening and the aquarium was closing earlier than usual. Even though we would have preferred to do both the CN Tower and the Ripley's Aquarium on the same day, since the attractions are just beside each other, we didn't want to feel rushed when we visit the aquarium. Besides, we were still recovering from a bad case of jetlag. So instead we went to the CN Tower and decided to go back the next morning to visit the aquarium.But first, a family photo by the CANADA sign at the foot of CN Tower.Travel Tip: We used a Selfie/Mini Tripod for this shot. No more asking strangers to take your photo! It's handy, affordable and fits most smartphones. You can buy something similar here.Ripley's Aquarium of CanadaAddress: 288 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON M5V 3L9, CanadaOperating Hours: 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM (open all year round). See their events calendar for the daily Hours of OperationHow to get there: The Ripley's Aquarium is just beside the CN Tower. The easiest way to get to the CN Tower is by Subway (Union Station). From the station, walk west along Front Street to the direction of the tower. If you are traveling by car, there are plenty of parking garages in the area and the rates may vary (between C$15-25).Website: Ripley's Aquarium of CanadaSee my Suggested Tours in Toronto at the end of this post. Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Ticket Prices (as of Dec 2018)Timed TicketIf you want to be guaranteed an entry and skip-the-line on your visit (especially during the peak travel season), buy a Timed Ticket. But before you do this, make sure to check their calendar to see if they have a private event the day you want to go. Otherwise, your visit may be cut short.Adult (14+) – C$32 + taxSenior (65+) – C$22 + taxYouth (6 – 13) – C$22 + taxChild (3 – 5) – C$10 + taxExpress Anytime TicketNo definite plans on when to go? Get the Express Anytime Ticket valid for one admission within a year of purchase.Adult (14+) – C$37 + taxSenior (65+) – C$25 + taxYouth (6 – 13) – C$25 + taxChild (3 – 5) – C$13 + taxSharks After DarkSave a little money if you visit the aquarium after 7 PM.Adult (14+) – C$30 + taxSenior (65+) – C$20 + taxYouth (6 – 13) – C$20 + taxChild (3 – 5) – C$7 + taxSea The Sky ComboCN Tower + Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada for one great ticket price! You don’t even have to visit both attractions on the same day. This combo ticket is only available for online purchase and should give you General Admission access on both sites.Adult (13 – 64) – C$58 + taxSenior (+65) – C$45 + taxChild (4 – 12) – C$37 + taxAquarium / Niagara Believe It or Not! ComboThis combo ticket gives you general admission at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! in Niagara Falls. Great deal if you plan on visiting both attractions.Adult – C$44.98 + taxChild (13 and under) – C$29.98 + taxThe Ripley's Aquarium also plays host to different events throughout the year so it's worth considering going to one of these events during your visit for an extra special experience.I completely forgot how much the Souvenir Guidebook costs. I think it was around C$2-3. Honestly, the information there is just about the same thing you'll find on the official website, so it really is just a souvenir of your visit.Just like our visit to the CN Tower, there was no line at the ticket counter so it was a breeze buying the tickets and entering the aquarium.Our first stop, the Canadian Waters on the upper level.I remember the first time my husband and I took our little girl at an aquarium in Guam, she was so scared of the unfamiliar dark aquarium tunnels that she did not have fun at all! Even though she loved that 'Baby Shark' song (if you're a parent of a young child, you'll know which song I'm referring to), she refused to even glance at the mini shark and we ended up rushing our way out of the aquarium.This time around, she enjoyed every bit of the aquarium experience. She had fun pointing out the different types of fish and made it a point to stop by and check out the little fun activities scattered throughout the aquarium.Adults can also participate in the fun. The Catch of the Day weighing scale will tell you exactly how much you will cost if you were a tuna based on your weight. What a fun way to learn new things!This massive Kelp Forest was fun and impressive to look at!The Rainbow Reef, true to its name, showcases a variety of coral reefs and over a hundred fish species in every color imaginable.Next stop is the tunnel aquarium that goes into the Dangerous Lagoon. The left side of the tunnel has a slow-moving conveyor belt in case you want to take a closer look at the aquatic animals! You can skip this part and just walk normally if you want to move ahead of the crowd.What did I say about adults having fun inside the aquarium? You'll actually see more adults than kids trying to crawl into this glass tube.The Ripley's Café is right on the Discovery Centre. The Discovery Centre has plenty of activities for kids including a clownfish slide and a horseshoe crab touch pool. There's also a water table where kids can spin and turn mechanisms that simulate the lock system of the Great Lakes.And of course, everybody's looking for Nemo!Can you find Dory too?There was also an ongoing exhibit at the time of our visit called Curious Creatures which features some artifacts and stories from the life of Robert Ripley. It gives the visitors a little preview of what to expect from the Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Niagara Falls, Ontario.Well hello there, stingrays!The Planet Jellies is definitely one of the popular galleries! The color-changing backlit of their tank adds to the mesmerizing effect of the jellies.The Life Support Systems Gallery gives us an insight into how this whole aquarium operation works. It's amazing to learn how they clean and recycle the water coming in and out of the exhibits. You can see the live water stats and conditions as you walk through the huge filter tanks.There's also a plastic bottle installation currently on display to raise awareness about the ocean plastic pollution.Right at the very end of the tour is the Shoreline Gallery where you can see the stingrays up close, and possibly even gently touch one!And lastly, the gift shop. Plenty of sea-themed items that you can buy as souvenirs or gifts for friends at home. My happy daughter took home a couple of books given by her great-aunt.We spent a total of two hours inside the aquarium which was more than enough time to explore all the areas. If you're not in a hurry, I'd say give it one more extra hour to fully enjoy everything that the aquarium has to offer!They say that the best day and time to visit is during the weekdays and either before 11:00 AM or after 4:00 PM. You may want to take note of these if you are traveling during the summer to avoid the crowd.Thanks for reading my travel diary on the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada. Up next on our itinerary are Eaton Centre, Nathan Phillips Square, St. Lawrence Market and the Gooderham (Flatiron) Building. So stay tuned!Have you been to the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada? Share your experience by leaving a comment below!Suggested tours:Toronto Hop On Hop Off Bus TourDowntown Toronto Bike Tour7 Minute Helicopter Tour Over Toronto Check out my other posts about our Toronto, Quebec City, and Montreal Road Trip below:Day 1: Toronto Islands and CN TowerToronto, Quebec City, and Montreal Sample ItineraryToronto Airbnb Review: Richmond Hill Townhouse
1
Smarter Packing Tips for your Next Holiday | KGB in Wanderland BlogThis infographic is courtesy of The Europe Hotel & Resort.The Europe Hotel & ResortFossa, Killarney, Co. KerryIreland  V93 KHN6T: + 353 64 66 71300ESPA at The Europe: + 353 64 66 71333 Deciding what to pack for a holiday can feel almost as extensive a process as mapping out the itinerary. Even for short trips of just 2-3 days, you could deliberate for a long time about what to bring, especially if you’re uncertain about what weather to expect.The smart packing advice is to bring only what you’ll realistically need instead of overpacking for worst-case scenarios. If something goes wrong, it can usually be resolved with a couple of purchases. You don’t want to pack so excessively that you bring a heap of clothes you don’t end up wearing and, consequently, you’re forced to choose souvenirs carefully due to space limitations.This infographic from The Europe Hotel & Resort contains some very astute packing tips that will help to clear plenty of space in your baggage and travel much lighter than you ever thought you could. Also, you may find that putting items into smaller bags makes perfect sense when it comes to going through security and unpacking when you arrive at your destination! Thank you The Europe Hotel & Resort for sharing this Infographic.Also, check out my Travel Resources page and my Travel Tips to help you plan your next vacation. And sign up for my mailing list so you can get my FREE Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist!-Karen 
5
Itinerary Planner Free Printable | KGB in Wanderland BlogHey there my dear readers!I'm back with another printable and this time it's available for all!Fall is here, which means it's time for our annual family vacation. It also means that I've been busy planning and preparing for our trip. And that includes mapping out our things to do and itinerary. This is especially important for our upcoming trip because we are going on a road trip from Toronto to Montreal and Quebec City.If you're like me who likes to keep things organized and neat, you'll definitely love this Itinerary Planner Printable.This planner will help you get organized with your travel planning. Simply print a copy, write down the details of your trip and your agenda for each day. Oh, and there's also a checkbox to remind you to book your tours and print travel vouchers, and even set a budget for each day.The page covers a 5-day vacation so if you are traveling for longer than 5 days, just print another copy! There's also a section to write additional notes and reminders for your trip.Download your free printable here.EXCLUSIVE FOR SUBSCRIBERS: Get my Ultimate Travel Packing Checklist Printable PLUS a fillable version of this Itinerary Planner! You can edit the planner on your computer and save it anytime you want!Sign up below and make sure to open and read my Welcome Email. The link for the Itinerary Planner (fillable) file will be sent after. If you are already subscribed but didn't receive the download link, contact me so I can send it to you.Let me know in the comments section if you like the printable or if there's anything else you think can help you with planning the best vacation. I'll try my best to come up with more printables for everyone. I just love freebies! Don't you?
1
Toronto Airbnb Review: Richmond Hill Townhouse | KGB in Wanderland BlogIf you're considering renting an Airbnb outside of the busy streets of Toronto, this Richmond Hill Airbnb may just be what you are looking for.Richmond Hill is a town in the south-central York Region and is a part of the Greater Toronto Area. It's about a 20-minute drive from Pearson International Aiport and a 30-minute drive (45 minutes to an hour during rush hour traffic) to downtown Toronto.The Richmond Hill townhouse we rented is located in the southern tip of Richmond Hill and a convenient starting point for your Toronto sightseeing. It is right on Highway 407; no hassle if you're going on a day trip to Niagara Falls, to Downtown Toronto (HWY 404), or if you're heading out East to the Quebec Region (HWY 401).Let me just say that this townhouse is exactly why I love staying at an Airbnb. It's absolutely perfect for families! From the moment we stepped in, we instantly felt at home and comfortable. The amenities beat that of a hotel room by a long mile!A couple of days before our trip, Phillip, our Airbnb host, emailed me a set of instructions and reminders for our stay. Talk about being clear and professional!We arrived on a Wednesday night and finding our way to the townhouse was easy-peasy (thank you GPS). Here are some photos from our home away from home in Richmond Hill.There were two tables in the dining area but we preferred using the one that's right beside the kitchen. Extra foldable chairs were also available.The kitchen is fully equipped with brand new appliances which include a rice cooker, so we rice-loving people were very happy. Because there was a supermarket nearby, we were able to take full advantage of the kitchen and cooked at least one meal every day.The back door leads to the outdoor patio and garage. On the right side is the laundry closet.Three bedrooms are on the second floor. If there are more than 6 guests traveling, the basement can be opened (with additional cleaning fees) to accommodate an additional 2 guests. The basement has its own private shower and toilet.This is the main bedroom with an ensuite bathroom.The shower and bathtub are separate in the master's ensuite bathroom.The second and third bedroom on the second floor shares the same full bathroom.We were 5 adults and 1 child traveling but decided to pay the extra for the basement access so we can use three bathrooms. My sisters stayed in the basement so we never used the third bedroom on the second floor.Our townhouse is just a few steps away from a park and playground where my little girl enjoyed a few minutes of kiddie fun. She didn't mind the cold at all, unlike her adult companions. Lol!MY RATINGLocation: (4/5)Admittedly, the location is not exactly ideal for first-time Toronto visitors and if the main purpose of your visit is sightseeing. Downtown Toronto is one of those walkable cities where most of the tourist attractions are close together and can be easily explored on foot or by public transit. And so it makes sense for tourists to stay in that area.We, however, purposely chose to stay away from downtown. We are renting a car and finding a parking space in downtown Toronto can both be a nightmare and expensive. Not all hotels/Airbnbs in downtown offer free parking. Second, we prefer a house over a hotel. We loved our Airbnb experience in Rome, and so we had hoped that we could find something similar that can accommodate 5 adults and 1 child. We absolutely love the extra space and the convenience of having a kitchen that we didn't mind driving the extra hour every day just to get to and from downtown. We are, after all, going on a road trip, so we might as well take full advantage of the rental car and see a different side of Toronto.Despite the distance to the city center, I cannot deny that Richmond Hill is exactly the kind of town I would like to live in. It's close proximity to everything you could possibly need is excellent. Major stores such as Walmart, Best Buy, The Home Depot, Loblaw, and Toys R Us are less than 5 minutes away by car and the Hillcrest Mall is about the same.Although we never had the need to try it, the townhouse is within walking distance to Langstaff Go Train station which can take you directly to the heart of Downtown Toronto.Cleanliness: (5/5)Can I give them an extra point because let me tell you, it was absolutely, spotlessly clean! The kitchen, the common areas, the bedrooms, and the bathrooms. Everything was just clean and in order as if we were the first ones to live in the house.Amenities: (5/5)Everything you need is provided for in the listing. The bathrooms were stocked with shampoo, conditioner and body wash. The kitchen is stocked with basic things you would need in cooking. There's a toaster, microwave, coffeemaker, electric kettle, stove and oven, dishwasher and of course, refrigerator. There's also a washer/dryer right by the door leading to the back patio. Soap and fabric softener were provided. All of the appliances seem brand new and state of the art.The TV has digital cable so you will never run out of things to watch. And the wifi? It was fast and we never had any problem with it for the duration of our stay. That alone gets a big thumbs up from my family. Family-Friendly: (5/5)The house is spacious enough to host a group of 6-8 people. For those who are traveling with kids, there's a high chair and crib available. Airbnb Host: (5/5)Phillip is the nicest Airbnb host! When we booked our reservation, he asked me right away if we would be needing a crib for our little girl and if we wanted to use the basement bedroom/bathroom. This was a couple of months before our intended check-in. I really like the fact that he wants to sort out these things as early as possible to make everything easy and comfortable for us.Value for Money: (5/5)Location, amenities, friendly host and reasonable rates, we definitely got our money's worth.Overall Experience: (5/5)We had the most pleasant stay at this Richmond Hill townhouse and if you are renting a car and didn't mind the extra travel time, I absolutely recommend it for families or a group of friends visiting Toronto. Actually, we stayed at this Airbnb twice during our trip: in our first 6 and last 3 days. We definitely made the right choice.Have you ever used an Airbnb before? Get $25 off your first Airbnb rental by clicking here.Check out my other posts about our Toronto, Quebec City, and Montreal Road Trip below:Day 1: Toronto Islands and CN TowerDay 2: Ripley's Aquarium of CanadaToronto, Quebec City, and Montreal Sample Itinerary 
1
Toronto, Quebec City and Montreal Itinerary | KGB in Wanderland BlogHey there!I'm back with more travel stories to share and this time it's from the land of maple, poutine, ice hockey, great outdoors and just mesmerizingly beautiful landscapes. In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing with you some of the things my family and I did when we went on a road trip from Toronto, Quebec City, Montreal and back to Toronto.Preparing an itinerary for the family was my responsibility and no matter how much I carefully curate our list of things to see and do, we were not able to do everything on the list. First of all, we didn't follow a strict schedule and we just let ourselves do anything that we feel like doing while on the road. Second, we didn't stay in the central parts of the city, therefore, were not able to maximize our sightseeing time. And lastly, there were days when it was just plain too cold for us to stay outside for a long period of time. It was so cold that in the middle of fall, it actually snowed.Nevertheless, we were able to tick off most places on our bucket list, and hey, this is certainly not the last time we'll be visiting any of these cities, right?For now, I'll be sharing with you our original itinerary in case you are planning the same route for your road trip. This itinerary is the result of weeks of research and mostly include the must-see places and attractions for first-time visitors of Toronto, Niagara, Quebec City, and Montreal. If you prepare well enough and are staying in a central location, the itinerary is doable but will definitely be very tiring. You don't have to see everything on the list nor do you have to spend too much time in each location. Some of these places will only require a max of 30 minutes of your time and some you don't have to do at all and are just merely a suggestion if you have spare time.Toronto, Niagara, Quebec City, and Montreal14-day ItineraryDAY 1: TORONTOToronto Islands and Harbourfront CentreHarbour Square ParkCN Tower, Rogers Centre, Steam Whistle Brewery, and Toronto Railway MuseumRipley’s Aquarium of CanadaNathan Phillips SquareEaton Centre/Yonge Dundas SquareDAY 2: TORONTORoyal Ontario MuseumChinatownKensington Market/Graffiti AlleyDistillery DistrictSt Lawrence MarketFlatiron BuildingSt. James CathedralDAY 3: DAY TRIP TO NIAGARADrive to Niagara (1.5 to 2 hours)Hornblower CruiseTable Rock CentreJourney Behind the FallsWhite Water WalkSkylon Tower (Observation Deck)Clifton HillNiagara-on-the-LakeDrive back to TorontoDAY 4: TORONTOCasa Loma or Ontario Science CenterArt Gallery of OntarioDAY 5: TORONTO TO QUEBEC CITYLeave Toronto by 6:00 AMQuebec City ETA 3:30 PM (includes rest stops and lunch)DAY 6: QUEBEC CITYGrand AlleePlaines de Abraham/Battlefields ParkParliament Hill/Fontaine de TournyFortification Walls/La CitadelleTerrasse Pierre Dugua-de-MonsGovernor’s Promenade/Dufferin TerracePlace d'Armes/Musee du FortChateau FrontenacTake Funicular to Lower TownPlace RoyaleNotre Dame des Victoires ChurchQuartier Petit ChamplainLa Fresque du Petit ChamplainDAY 7: QUEBEC CITYMusee National des Beaux-Arts du QuébecObservatoire de la CapitaleNotre Dame de Quebec Basilica CathedralMusee de l’AmeriqueGare du Palais (train station)Market Old Port of QuebecMusee de la CivilizationDAY 8: DAY TRIP OUTSIDE QUEBEC CITYParc de la Chute Montmorency/Montmorency FallsIle d’OrleansCanyon Sainte AnneSainte-Anne-de-Beaupre ShrineDAY 9: QUEBEC CITY TO MONTREALDrive from Quebec City to Montreal (3 hours)Possible Stopover: Chemin du Roy/Trois RivièresDAY 10: MONTREALMary, Queen of the World CathedralPlace d’Armes (Old Montreal)Notre Dame Basilica - Saint Sulpice SeminaryRue Saint PaulNotre Dame de BonsecoursHotel de Ville (Town Hall)Marché Bonsecours (Bonsecours Market)Pointe a Calliere MuseumPlace Jacques CartierChateau RamezayVieux Port (Old Port)La RondeDAY 11: MONTREALParc du Mont-RoyalSt. Joseph’s OratoryJean Talon MarketDorchester SquareMcGill College EsplanadeDAY 12: MONTREALMontreal Botanical GardenBiodome de MontrealTower Observatory/Montreal TowerOlympic Stadium, Athlete’s Village & Olympic PoolChinatownDAY 13: MONTREAL TO TORONTODrive from Montreal to Toronto (6 hours)Possible Stopover: Kingston/Thousand IslandsDAY 14: TORONTOToronto Zoo or Free dayPrepare for DepartureDownload a printable copy of this itinerary here.Check this blog soon for more of our family vacation and to learn what worked and what did not in our itinerary. I will try to share as many information as possible to help you plan your own trip.Let me know if you have questions (and even suggestions) about this sample itinerary. If you've visited any of these cities before, I would love to hear about your own travel stories. Leave a comment below :)You can also download my FREE Itinerary Planner Printable to help you plan your trip.
1
Toronto Travel: The Toronto Islands | KGB in Wanderland BlogJust a short ferry ride from the city center is one of Toronto's must-see gems, the Toronto Islands. Also called the Toronto Island Park or simply the Island, it is a chain of 15 islands in Lake Ontario and is about 5 km long. It is located directly across downtown Toronto, a few blocks away from the iconic CN Tower and Rogers Centre.How to get thereThe easiest way to get to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal is by TTC or GO Train to Union Station. It's a ten-minute walk south to the ferry docks at the foot of Bay Street. You can also take 509 Harbourfront or 510 Spadina streetcar south, or the Bay Street bus. Get off at the Queen's Quay stop.Enter the Ferry Terminal using the walkway between the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and the Harbour Castle Condominiums.If you are traveling by car, there are plenty of parking garages (municipal parking lots or in office buildings) around the Harbourfront area. Parking rates per hour vary and will usually have a cap of up to C$25 if you park your car for more than 3 hours.Visitors of the Island can take the ferry to any of Toronto Island's Ferry Docks: The Ward's Island at the east end, Centre Island in the middle, and Hanlan's Point at the west end. Most visitors take the ferry going to Centre Island and just use any of the three ferry docks to return to the city. All the ferry rides back to the city are free. No need to present any ticket for the return ride.Fares (as of 2018):Adults - C$7.87Seniors and Students - C$5.16Under 14 years old - C$3.80Under 2 years old - FreeThe Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is also on the Island, however, there is no access from the island chain to the airport. Passengers would have to take a different ferry to get to the airport.See my Suggested Tours in Toronto at the end of this post. We left our Richmond Hill Airbnb around 10:00 AM and made a quick stop at Walmart before heading to downtown Toronto. It took us about 45 minutes to get to Harbourfront Centre and had to circle the block a couple of times before we finally settled into a parking garage inside an office building in Bremner Blvd. It was then a short 10-minute walk to Harbourfront Centre.Toronto Harbour Water TaxiInstead of the regular ferry, we took the Toronto Harbour Water Taxi to go to Centre Island, which is C$10 per adult and C$5/child (no charge for the stroller). The Toronto Harbour Water Taxi Station is right behind Beaver Tails at the foot of York Street. Coming from the Island Ferry Docks, just head over to the direction of the Harbourfront Centre and you'll pass by the water taxi station. There were a total of 8 passengers on the water taxi and it took us only about 5 minutes to reach the Island.If you are visiting the Toronto Islands during summer or the peak season, the water taxi may be a better option to go to the Island and back to the city rather than taking the regular ferry, which will most likely be crowded and have long lines. The water taxi doesn't operate on a schedule and as long as they have enough passengers, they leave the dock. Plus it's faster and a more private transportation option for Toronto Island visitors. However, the price of the fare doesn't include a return ride to the city. You can pay for the water taxi ride back if you're in a hurry or want to avoid the crowd (same ticket price) or just take the regular ferry like everybody else (it's free for everyone!).The main reason why you would want to visit the Island is to see the beautiful Toronto skyline, with the CN Tower as the main highlight of course! I don't think anyone has ever visited the Island without taking an exact photo of this.Centre Island and Ward's IslandThe Toronto Island is known for enjoying recreational activities with the Centre Island being the most popular among visitors. Here you can find the Centreville Amusement Park, Far Enough Farm, Franklin Children's Garden, and several other activities for the whole family.Toronto Island was at the very top of our Toronto itinerary and fortunately, we came just in time before they closed the Island for the season. Technically it's not really closed because, in fact, there is a small community of residents living in Toronto Island, mainly on Ward's and Algonquin Island. However, during the winter months, most facilities and main tourist attractions are closed for operation. The Ward's Island Ferry Dock is the only one in operation to serve the residents of the island.What makes the island extra special is that it is car-free with the exception of a few service vehicles. Biking and walking are your options if you want to go from one place to another. And it's absolutely the perfect way to explore an island this charming!The Island is bursting with activities for the family between the months of May to late September. You can have a picnic, enjoy a day at the beach, go to the amusement park, visit a farm, biking, running and even taking your dog for a walk. During the fall season, things slow down with many visitors (like us) just enjoying the view and a nice leisurely walk in the Island.Upon reaching the north end of Centre Island, we took the suggestion of the water taxi operator and walked towards Ward's Island for the ferry back to the city. This is the area where most Island residents live, so even though everyone is free to walk around and see this area, visitors should always remember to respect the residents' privacy.Ferry back to the cityThe ferry departing from Centre Island departs every hour and the one from Ward's Island is every hour on the half hour. Schedule varies depending on the season and passenger demand.It took us longer than expected to reach the Ward's Island Ferry Dock from the Centre Island Beach (about 45 minutes). But we arrived just in time to board the ferry. The ferry back to the city took about 15 minutes and we once again got to enjoy the nice view of Toronto's skyline.The Harbour Square Park is just right next to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, however, we were already so hungry at this point that we skipped wandering into the park. If you have the extra time, take a stroll in this park to enjoy the waterfront view from the city.We spent a relaxed couple of hours in Toronto Island, which is exactly what we needed after a long flight the day before. We had lunch at Popeye's before heading over to our next stop, the CN Tower.Suggested tours:Explore Toronto's top sights in 48 hours with the City Sightseeing Bus TourToronto Inner Harbour and Island CruiseCheck out my other posts about our Toronto, Quebec City, and Montreal Road Trip below:Day 1: CN TowerDay 2: Ripley's Aquarium of CanadaToronto, Quebec City, and Montreal Sample ItineraryToronto Airbnb Review: Richmond Hill Townhouse    
1