News / Toronto

Flooded sections of Toronto Island will stay closed this summer

Parts of the island are on schedule to open July 31, but the city says the date could be moved depending on weather conditions.

On July 4, 2017, people sit on the edge of newly-opened Trillium Park, part of the Ontario Place site, and watch planes take off from the Island Airport.

Shawn Micallef/Toronto Star

On July 4, 2017, people sit on the edge of newly-opened Trillium Park, part of the Ontario Place site, and watch planes take off from the Island Airport.

Parts of the Toronto Islands are set to reopen to the public by the end of the month, but other sections will stay closed for the entire summer.

“We’re trying to get as many services and facilities on Toronto Island park up and running before July 31, but there are some sections of Toronto Island park where access to the public will remain restricted or closed due to conditions,” city spokesperson Wynna Brown told Metro on Monday.

“That includes Olympic Island, Gibraltar Point, Hanlan's Beach and sections of Centre Island including the grandstand," she added.

Brown said that, despite park access being restricted, many weddings and events have gone ahead, as most permits are issued by individual venues and not the city. People can still go to the island if they are visiting a specific restaurant or business.

City council voted last week to suspend the collection of rent or licence fees from facilities that have agreements with the city until things get back up and running, Brown added.

Water levels are going down, Brown said, but very slowly — they're still about 30 cm above pre-flood conditions in April.

“The high lake levels and associated flooding have had a significant impact on island residents and businesses, as well as the tens of thousands of people who would normally visit the islands every week during the warm weather," said Mayor John Tory in a release on the city’s website.

Shawnda Walker, director of marketing at Centreville Amusement Park — which is closed until full ferry service starts up again — said the extended closure of the grandstand area affects the other side of Centre Island.

But the attraction has been losing money and staff while waiting for the water to go down.

"Until they say the boats are in the water, we're kind of just sticking it out," said Walker, adding it's too early to say how much money they've lost.

"We'll be able to open right away. Whether we have to hire more people or not, we don't know yet."

Brown said people should stay tuned for updates.

"Things are going to be different over there, even once we do get back," she warned. “People will see the effects of the flooding.”

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