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The Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, formerly called the Toronto Island Ferry Docks, is the ferry slip for Toronto Island ferries operated by the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division. Three ferry routes provide transportation between mainland Toronto and Centre Island, Hanlan's Point and Ward's Island in the Toronto Islands, with levels of service to each destination differing depending on time of year. The terminal is located in the Toronto Harbour, behind the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel and adjacent to Harbour Square Park. It is south of Bay Street and Queens Quay in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Jack Layton Ferry Terminal
ONTARIO-00656 - Ferry Docks (14840339411).jpg
View of Jack Layton Ferry Terminal and the wharf
Location9 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
M5J 2H3
Coordinates43°38′25″N 79°22′31″W / 43.64028°N 79.37528°W / 43.64028; -79.37528Coordinates: 43°38′25″N 79°22′31″W / 43.64028°N 79.37528°W / 43.64028; -79.37528
Owned byCity of Toronto government
Operated byToronto Ferry Company (1892-1926)
Toronto Transit Commission (1926-1961)[1]
Toronto Parks Department (1961-present)
Line(s)Toronto Island ferries
ConnectionsBSicon CLRV.svg Queens Quay station
BSicon BUS1.svg TTC buses
Disabled accessYes
Opened19th century
Passengers (2009)1.2 million per year[3]
Toronto Island ferries
TerminusWard's Island Ferry
Centre Island Ferry
Hanlan's Point Ferry

The Toronto Island Ferry Docks were renamed the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal in honour of former city councillor and federal Member of Parliament Jack Layton in 2013.[3]


The main departure point from the city to the Island has been at the foot of Bay Street since the 19th century.[1]

First terminal location (19th century–1918)Edit

The first ferry terminal at the Toronto Harbour, c. 1899.

The original terminal was located on the east side of the Toronto Harbour Commission Building at Bay and Harbour Streets. The terminal in the picture was destroyed by fire in 1907 and was rebuilt. A steamship terminal and berth areas was added to the east side. The site is now filled in and occupied by a parking lot.

Second terminal location (1918–1972)Edit

When the infilling of the harbour took place after 1918 the docks moved to Queen's Quay west of Bay Street. It had a waiting room[4] and was heated in the wintertime.[5][6] This terminal would be there until the redevelopment of the Toronto waterfront would begin in the 1970s. Where this terminal was is now the Harbour Square condos.

Third terminal location (1972–present)Edit

The third terminal opened in January 1972, shifted about 100 metres to the east.[2] The new terminal was part of a planned 85 million dollar waterfront project started in 1964, and completed in the early 1970s at the cost of 250 million dollars[5] that would see the Bay Street shipping slip filled in and Harbour Castle Hilton and Harbour Square condos built.[7] The cost of the new terminal was CA$519,000[5] But unlike the previous terminal, no waiting room was provided (as the ferries stopped operating during winter time),[4] and had crowding problems starting in its first season.[2] Metro Parks Commissioner Tommy Thompson would have liked to see the new terminal right at the foot of Bay Street, where the old one was, but it was placed where it was to be part of the condo-hotel complex.[2][5][6] Minor upgrades have been made to replace the original ticket booths with newer and larger ones located just north of the original entrance and partially covered by a canopy.

Statue of Jack Layton at the terminal. The terminal was named in honour of Layton in 2012.

In 2012, the Toronto City Council voted unanimously to rename the terminal in honour of late New Democratic Party leader and former Toronto City Councillor Jack Layton.[8] In 2013, on the second anniversary of Layton's death, it was renamed in Layton's memory[9] and a bronze statue of Layton riding on a tandem bicycle was installed at the site.[9]

New TerminalEdit

In 2015, a winning design was announced for a renovation and redesign of the terminal building.[10] The first phase of construction is expected to be complete in April, 2019.[11]


There is an estimated 1.2 million passengers to the station per year, mostly in the summer months.[3]

The three larger ferries are stored here during the winter months. The ferries exposed decks are covered by a white tarp.


  1. ^ a b A visual history of Toronto ferries, Derrick Flack, BlogTO, 2011
  2. ^ a b c d Poor dock access is blamed for ferry crowding, Toronto Star, Gary Oakes, August 3, 1974.
  3. ^ a b c Ticket machines will ease Toronto Island ferry waits, National Post, Shannon Kari, May 22, 2010
  4. ^ a b Gibson, p. 271
  5. ^ a b c d Path promised through mud to ferry dock, March 10, 1972, Toronto Star
  6. ^ a b A ferry dock nobody needed but Campeau, Toronto Star, Alexander Ross, March 17, 1972
  7. ^ Start work on $85 million waterfront project, December 23, 1964, Toronto Daily Star
  8. ^ "Toronto ferry terminal to be renamed in honour of Jack Layton". CBC News. 2012-06-06.
  9. ^ a b "Jack Layton memorial statue unveiled". CBC News, August 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Kohut, Tania (April 10, 2015). "New design for Toronto ferry terminal revealed". Global News. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
  11. ^ "Enhancing Toronto's gateway to one of its most cherished public spaces – the Toronto Islands". WaterfronToronto. Retrieved March 10, 2019.

See alsoEdit