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Hanlan’s Point

Hanlan’s Point: All You Need To Know

If you have been reading our Toronto Island Archipelago series, then you should read this one too. In our earlier articles, we have covered Centre Island and Ward’s Island. Hanlan’s Point is the last of the three major islands in the archipelago. As they are nearby and can be accessed easily from one another, I don’t think you should miss any of these islands on your trip. Well, enough introduction. Let’s dive into the article.

Hanlan’s Point view

A little bit of History 

Hanlan’s Point is the most westerly among the trio of primary islands constituting Toronto Island Park. It boasts a unique distinction in Canadian holiday culture. In 2002, authorities appointed a kilometer-long stretch of its sandy shores as clothing-optional, placing it among the select few such beaches nationwide. Notably, the largest of its kind, Wreck Beach in Vancouver, shares this liberating ethos. 

Originally, it held sway as a beloved retreat for summer sojourners during the late 1800s. The Hanlan Family’s transformation of their abode into a waterfront hotel epitomized the era’s charm and hospitality. However, tragedy struck in 1909 when a devastating fire reduced the cherished establishment to ashes. Despite the loss of its resort identity, Hanlan’s Point Beach preserves its allure, beckoning visitors to bask in its sun-drenched splendor. 

Today, Hanlan’s Point stands as more than a relic of bygone leisure. Its sandy expanse remains a magnet for sun-seekers and beach enthusiasts alike, offering relief from the burning heat of Toronto summers. While its past may be steeped in the nostalgia of a bygone era, Hanlan’s Point continues to carve out its chapter in the annals of urban recreation, inviting all to partake in its timeless attraction. 

Getting to Hanlan’s Point 

Remember how we talked about heading to Centre Island and exploring Ward’s Island in our earlier articles? Well, guess what? Getting to Hanlan’s Point is just as easy! Since it’s part of the same island chain, the route is pretty much the same. Just head over to the Toronto Ferry Docks, which is a short 10-minute walk from Union Station. Grab a round-trip ticket for about $9.11, hop on the Centre Island Ferry, and you’re on your way to another adventure! 

As you sail towards Hanlan’s Point, you’ll feel the same gentle breeze and anticipation that made your previous island journeys so exciting. And just like before, you have options. You can take the scenic route through Ward’s Island, with its cozy neighborhoods, or head straight to Hanlan’s Point, where the famous clothing-optional beach awaits. Each turn offers a new view to wonder at, making the journey as enjoyable as the destination. 

And hey, if you’re looking for a more intimate experience or want to skip the crowds, consider taking a Water Taxi. They’ll whisk you away to Hanlan’s Point or other nearby islands like Ward’s Island, giving you even more flexibility in your island-hopping adventures. Check out their website to book your ride and make the most of your trip to Hanlan’s Point!

go to Hanlan’s Point

Exploring Centre Island 

Alright, so you’ve made it to Hanlan’s Point. Welcome to paradise! Now that you’re here, let me fill you in on all the awesome things you can do. 

The Halan Point’s Beach: 

First up, let’s talk about the beach itself. Picture soft, golden sand stretching as far as the eye can see, with crystal-clear waters inviting you for a refreshing dip. Whether you’re soaking up the sun, building sandcastles, or enjoying a relaxing swim, Hanlan’s Point Beach is the ultimate spot to unwind and relax. 

Now, let’s talk about what makes Hanlan’s Point Beach so special. It’s one of the few clothing-optional beaches in the country! Yep, you heard that right. If you’re feeling a bit daring or just want to embrace a more liberated vibe, this is the place to be. 

Think of soft, sandy shores, the gentle sound of waves lapping at the shore, and the warm sun kissing your skin. Now imagine having the freedom to soak it all in without a care in the world. That’s the magic of Hanlan’s Point Beach. 

But don’t worry if you’re not ready to bare it all – Hanlan’s Point welcomes everyone, regardless of how much or how little clothing you choose to wear. It’s all about feeling comfortable and enjoying the laid-back atmosphere of this island paradise. 

Gibraltar Point Lighthouse: 

As you wander through Hanlan’s Point, make sure to check out the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse. It’s a bit hidden among the trees, but it has a cool story. 

Built way back in 1808, this lighthouse used to help ships find their way with a light fueled by whale oil. But here’s where it gets interesting: some folks say it’s haunted by its first keeper, John Paul Radelmuller. He had a rough end in 1815 when he was killed by some rowdy soldiers. 

You might want to climb to the top for a great view, but sorry, it’s locked up tight. Still, just looking at it from the outside, you can imagine all the adventures and mysteries it holds.

things to do in Hanlan’s Point

Dining Options 

The Mermaid Café: 

As you wander along Hanlan’s Point, you stumble upon the Mermaid Café. It’s sheltered amidst the trees, a welcoming spot for island explorers like yourself to take a break and grab a bite. 

Inside, the café is rushing with activity. The smell of coffee fills the air, and people chat and laugh as they enjoy their meals. You find a seat outside on the patio, soaking up the sun and the laid-back vibe. 

The menu offers a delicious selection of sandwiches, salads, and treats. You order your favorite and settle in to enjoy the scenery. 

As you eat, you can’t help but feel relaxed and content. It’s the perfect spot to recharge before continuing your island adventure. 

With a satisfied belly and a smile on your face, you bid farewell to the Mermaid Café, grateful for the tasty food and friendly atmosphere. Ready to explore more of Hanlan’s Point, you head back out into the sunshine, eager to see what else this island paradise has in store. 


How do I get to Hanlan’s Point? 

Take the Centre Island Ferry from Toronto Ferry Docks, a short walk from Union Station. 

Is Hanlan’s Point Beach clothing optional?

Yes, it is one of the few clothing-optional beaches in Canada.

What can I do at Hanlan’s Point besides the beach? 

You can explore trails, visit the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, and enjoy the Mermaid Café. 

Can I bring food to Hanlan’s Point Beach?

Yes, you can bring your food and drinks for a picnic on the beach. 

Are there restroom facilities at Hanlan’s Point?

Yes, there are public restroom facilities available near the beach area. 

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