Toronto Boat Cruises - the Industry History

» The Industry History
» Horse Propelled Ferry
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» The SS Noronic
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Today Lake Ontario is resplendent with Toronto boat cruises of every size and shape, cruising along with happy revelers. For people in Toronto, boats are a passion. Perhaps it is our climate. Once the warmer weather comes along we take to the harbour like ducks to water. The waterfront is dotted with marinas, home to the privately owned boats. And, for the rest of us, we must content ourselves with one of the many marvelous boat cruises in Toronto’s harbour.

The Toronto boat cruise industry is thriving. Not just mere modes of transportation, the boat cruises in Toronto are fabulous entertainment venues, rivaling land-based event spaces.

How did this industry evolve? As most great creations, it was borne out of necessity. The Toronto cruise boat industry did begin as a mere mode of transportation to take people from the mainland to the Toronto Islands. However, the Toronto Islands were not always islands. They were a series of continuously moving sand-bars originating from the Scarborough Bluffs and carried westward by the currents of Lake Ontario. In the early 1800’s there was actually a carriage path from York leading to Gibraltar Point at the western tip of the peninsula that also followed the shoreline east to the Scarborough Bluffs. The peninsula became a very desirable get-away. It was the cottage country to Torontonians in the late 1700s and early 1800s. It seems like such a short distance today, but over 200 years ago travel was long and arduous. The days of super highways and high powered motor vehicles could not have even been conceived. The need to transport people efficiently to the peninsula became the brainchild of some creative entrepreneurs and the first Toronto boat ferry was introduced.

Toronto’s boat cruise history is glorious, filled with stories of triumphs and tragedies. One of the most captivating of all is the story of the horseboat ferry.  To read more, click here.