News / Toronto

Toronto Island's quadricycles are up for sale

For $800 you could own a piece of childhood memory as the city brings in a new Toronto Island bike rental company, forcing the old company to liquidate.

The city put out a request for proposals in February for a five-year contract to run the island bike rentals. The new operator, confidential until the terms are settled, can start as soon as May 1.

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The city put out a request for proposals in February for a five-year contract to run the island bike rentals. The new operator, confidential until the terms are settled, can start as soon as May 1.

After 32 years, the family that has run Toronto Islands’ bike rental business is closing up shop and passing the reins to a new operator.

But Torontonians can hold on to a piece of their childhood, as the Rao family sells off its stock, including the iconic four-seater quadricycles they brought to the island decades ago.

The sale comes after the city recently made the decision to end its contract with the Raos — a decision Priya Rao, the daughter of operators Hari and Vimla Rao, says came as a surprise.

"It was completely stunning to us,” she told Metro.

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For her parents, now in their 70s, it means a loss of livelihood, she said. "For myself, it's the end of an era.”

The city put out a request for proposals in February for a five-year contract to run the island bike rentals. The new operator, confidential until the terms are settled, can start as soon as May 1.

The fleet will include new quadricycles and tandem bikes, a parks department spokesperson confirmed.

The Raos are hoping to appeal the decision, but with a looming deadline to clear out, the family and their business partner will sell off a dozen tandem bikes, 100 standard bikes, and over 40 of the quadricycle four- and two-seater bikes with the striped canvas canopies. The four-seaters go for $800.  

The sale runs April 14 to 16 on the island.

Rao, focused on keeping the business alive, said she hadn’t considered keeping one of the bikes until asked by Metro. If she did, it would be a quad.

“One of the little Flintstone cars,” she said, tearing up. "It would be nice to have that memory.”

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