The Toronto Islands are officially open for business Monday morning after an extended closure due to heavy flooding this spring and summer.
Mayor John Tory, who is at Centre Island this morning, spoke to reporters at the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal at around 7 a.m., shortly after the first round of visitors boarded a ferry bound for Ward’s Island.
The mayor encouraged Torontonians to go to the island to support local businesses, which have taken a hit this summer due to the closure.
Ferry service was suspended to non-residents in early May due to “unprecedented” flooding and members of the public have not yet been able to visit the popular Toronto tourist attraction this summer.
Last year, the city said there were more than 1.46 million visitors to Toronto Island Park and the islands saw upwards of 20,000 people per day during the summer season.
“Businesses on the island are expected to resume normal business operations, in fact I think they are wildly enthusiastic about the prospect of resuming normal business operations today. I’ve been in touch with a number of them, including Centreville, the theme park, which will be open today,” Tory said.
“I hope that people across Toronto find it in themselves in these summer days to go the islands specifically to make a point of going and to make a point of patronizing these businesses, which have suffered so much by the fact that the islands have been closed by the worst flooding we’ve seen in decades and decades, if not 100 years.”
Tory added that all of the city’s recreation programs on the islands will resume today and all beaches will be open.
He added that some sections of the beaches will be closed off due to damage caused by flooding.
“I know that for many Toronto residents, summer isn’t complete without a visit to the islands, which is why I’m so pleased they are reopen for both residents and visitors to enjoy,” he said.
“It really is one of the gems of the city’s park system.”
Bill Beasley, who operates Centreville, said he is happy that the amusement park is finally opening.
"It is good news that we are opening. There were concerns that we wouldn’t get open this year. I had hoped we’d get open sooner," he said.
"We’re very happy."