Cherry Beach Day Trip - Toronto
Cherry Beach Park is located at the foot of Cherry Street accessible off Lakeshore Boulevard a few minutes east of the downtown core. There is a large, unpaved free parking lot on the left just before the paved road ends in a turn around loop. Water access is a shallow pebbly beach so bringing some proper footwear would be prudent.
It's about a 20 minute paddle in open lake water and through the industrial eastern gap channel until we get to the secluded canals of the islands. The route would take us through several marinas where we can gawk at the house boats and yachts, past the islands amusement park where roller coasters and kids will be having fun, under many neat bridges, as well as through some undeveloped areas. Depending on wind / wave conditions we can paddle other parts of the inner harbour and get relatively close to the island airport where planes will be taking off and landing. We can have lunch or drinks at the Carousel cafe located right in the middle of the island cluster. They have a neat little bay with rock steps to their waterside patio where we can tie up our boats.
There are also a few historical buildings including a wooden church dated to 1884 (St. Andrews by the Lake) as well as the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes dated to 1808 (Gibraltar Point lighthouse) at the southwest corner. Plenty of interesting bird life too including great blue herons, swans, various ducks and songbirds. A healthy population of mink are also island residents. A set of binoculars would be useful if anyone is interested in viewing.