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Should the Toronto Islands be kept as-is?

in my opinion the first change we should make (this would impact all the islands for the better) is i would upgrade ferry service, make it a part of public transit and renovate the waiting area for the ferry to make it more appealing for people to come to the islands. i too would improve the quality and price of food, letting individually run buisness have sole control over the islands food supply, having multiple individually run cafes would make the islands more interesting and attractive to buy your meals at, as far as improving rides go i enjoy the nostalgic feel many of them have, it brings back memories and i find although its no thrill like canadas wonderland it still is an entertaining experience, the most they should do with the rides is add afew more retro looking ones to give it even more of an "old carnival" feel to it. all this coupled with the natural beauty of the islands should definetly be enough to draw people in to centre island.
 
A BIG change that I would make to Centre Island (actually all of the Islands) is I would do away with the food concession monopoly that Beasley Entertainment has enjoyed for decades, a monopoly that extends to all the Islands (with the exception of one private restaurant, the Rectory Cafe on Wards Island).

Well, not just the Rectory; remember the food stuff that's served at the Wards clubhouse, or whatever they call it...
 
A BIG change that I would make to Centre Island (actually all of the Islands) is I would do away with the food concession monopoly that Beasley Entertainment has enjoyed for decades, a monopoly that extends to all the Islands (with the exception of one private restaurant, the Rectory Cafe on Wards Island). It is because of this monopoly that everything is overpriced ($3 for a bottle of pop?) and everything tastes like crap!

Many have commented that we need better food. This will not happen unless and until we break up this monopoly :mad:

From best I can tell the current lease with Beasley expires in 2012 unless it has been extended.

What the city should do is construct a waterside retail complex that could house a variety of restaurants from fine dining to fast food. The city would own the complex and lease out the individual spaces. In addition to this the city should allow hot dog vendors and food trucks on the Islands.

Currently the lease agreement provides for a minimum rent of $375K per year plus a certain percentage if food sales go above a certain level. From 1992 - 2002 there was only one year when Beasley paid the city more than the minimum rent (they paid $386K).

I am not an expert on commercial rents but it seems to me that $375K per year is a pittance in return to granting a a complete monopoly on food sales on Islands that are visited by Millions each year (even considering the limited season for making these sales).

http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/1999/minutes/council/appa/cc990511/ed7rpt.htm

On the other hand, you just made legitimate points as to why the prices are so high:
-limited season
-transportation costs
-you're gonna have to sell quite a bit of stuff to just make the rent, not including other overhead costs like labour and materials

It is a business and if you cannot make a profit there is no sense in continuing.
Besides, what's stopping you from bringing your own food & beverages over, especially if the Island choices are not fitting to your palate?
 
On the other hand, you just made legitimate points as to why the prices are so high:
-limited season
-transportation costs
-you're gonna have to sell quite a bit of stuff to just make the rent, not including other overhead costs like labour and materials

It is a business and if you cannot make a profit there is no sense in continuing.
Besides, what's stopping you from bringing your own food & beverages over, especially if the Island choices are not fitting to your palate?

Having worked there, I was familiar with the finances, from employee wages which were kept at a minimum all the way up the managerial chain, cost of supplies (the food was supplied by sysco) wouldn't break the bank, maintenance I believe may have been their biggest concern given all the facilities exposure to the elements. However beyond piecemeal repairs no major upgrades are ever introduced. Beasley's were making a handsome profit.
 
It should be physically connected to the "mainland", and it should be developed. Right now, it's a rundown mess, and will continue to be so with this "let's just always leave it as it is" type attitude. Sure green space and water access should be maintained, but it is prime real estate, and should be used as such.

Hell, there's even an airport there already.

I don't know enough about those homes there though, but whatever the case, they're not changing any time soon, because I think the leases expire in 80 years.
 
It should be physically connected to the "mainland", and it should be developed. Right now, it's a rundown mess, and will continue to be so with this "let's just always leave it as it is" type attitude. Sure green space and water access should be maintained, but it is prime real estate, and should be used as such.

Hell, there's even an airport there already.

I don't know enough about those homes there though, but whatever the case, they're not changing any time soon, because I think the leases expire in 80 years.

So wait a second here... if something is prime real estate then it should automatically be developed on? We don't really have to point out how dumb that idea is do we?

In Eug's world the following things would be developed on since their real estate value is so immense: Central Park, the National Mall in Washington DC, Millennium and Grant Park in Chicago, Trafalgar Square & Hyde and Regent's Park in London, Red Square in Moscow, Phoenix Park in Dublin, Stanley Park in Vancouver, The Grand Place in Brussels, the Esplanades des Invalides, the Champs de Mars, the Jardins de Luxembourg, the Jardins des Tuileries and the Place de la Concorde in Paris... and thousands more. All of them gone! Their real estate value is just too valuable for them to maintain their current function as public spaces.
 
^^^ That's a joke. Most of those places have hardcore development all around them, and are integral to these cities, with immediate access from multiple directions.

The island(s)? We've got a run down lousy park, we've gone garbage facilities, we've got no permanent access, and we've got land leased to people who want a cottage in the city. I don't see how this is in any way close to comparable to any of the other sites you've mentioned.

I propose significant linking of those lands to the mainland Toronto waterfront for easy and non-paid access, and the development along some of those access points and in certain parts of the island as well, but with maintainence of much if not most of the green space and water access. And quite frankly, I really don't see the point of those leased lands for homes, but we're stuck with them for now.

BTW, your complaints might be compared to complaints back from decades ago against increased residential development on Harborfront, and the antagonism to the island bridge from a decade ago.
 
I wouldn't change too much.

islands.jpg



What does surprise me about the islands is how much of it is inaccessible. There's the private yacht club, and some huge swaths of land towards the island's west side that are taken up with water filtration, something to do with a lot of radio masts, and basically just blocked off.

Right now, when you land at Centre Island, to get to Hanlan's point, you have to meander north-east all the way to the back centre of the island, then walk in a curve around the south end to get to Hanlan's point. There's basically only one path, and it's a long walk - especially if you're trying to catch a ferry,

In my plan, first, an entirely picturesque canal would be dug between the island airport and Hanlan's point. It would have a little inlet that opened onto the Main canal, too. This would psychologically and aesthetically separate the islands from the airport a bit. The Island Airport would somewhat cease to be part of the 'islands'. Tunnel to the airport? No big whoop!
It would divide Hanlan's point slightly in two, but that's just another opportunity for a scenic bridge giving a romantic view back up the main channel towards the Centre Island bridge, along the racecourse.
Maybe there could be a little bridge over to the remaindered part of the beach - which might help sorting the naked from the nude.

More importantly, two paths would be put westward from Centre Island to Hanlan's point. One would go right from the ferry dock and meander over a few bridges to get there. The other would go diagonally from about where the school is located now, and traverse through what is now largely inaccessible "mystery land". (Paths shown in pink and yellow). Although the city (and dock owners) might be reluctant to part with the land, if the width of the paths were kept narrow, surely they could be accomodated with minimal fuss? At best, a big part of lovely nature might be made accessible on the south side of the main channel.

I also put a little dock in this proposal for a little summertime shuttle to Ontario Place. That would be fun. Not to mention one to Cherry Beach and the Tommy Thompson Park lighthouse. It could be located at the Centre Island Pier, and free for anyone leaving the island.

I also think the island needs some seriously good restaurants and bars. The overpriced and soulless food currently offered there is no thrill.
 
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Although the city (and dock owners) might be reluctant to part with the land, if the width of the paths were kept narrow, surely they could be accomodated with minimal fuss?

I think they'd be more concerned about having a bridge blocking yachts from getting into their docks.
 
I think they'd be more concerned about having a bridge blocking yachts from getting into their docks.

This is solvable by utilizing the same type of pedestrian draw-bridge utilized at Harbourfront.

I believe a gondola linking the island from the Cruise ship terminal on Cherry Street would be a great functional alternative to Rob Ford's Ferris wheel. Its cheap existing technology also. Just have to clear the Eastern Gap at the designated St. Lawrence Seaway clearance height....
 
At the junction of the middle third and the right third of the picture, there is a trifurcation of something from the harbour front. These then dive underwater to link up with the islands.

What are they? Are these electrical and/or communications?

Time lapse satellite photography (momentary) shows the propeller wake of the ferries at the ferry docks.

The only physical connection between the island and the mainland of any real note runs from the Centre Island water filtration plant to the foot of John Street (where the pumping station is - the new one is in the shadow of the Gardiner that replaced the old one that used to sit about home plate at the Rogers Centre).
 
I think it's just the map overlay for the ferry routes. And I'm assuming CdnNatl phottoshopped most of it out.

The only physical connection between the island and the mainland of any real note runs from the Centre Island water filtration plant to the foot of John Street

Do they use that same pipe/water for the Enwave cooling system?
 
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