8 Reasons Why You Should Visit the Toronto Harbourfront This Summer

Toronto houses one of the longest urban lakefronts in the world!  The Harbourfront area is now a bustling hub within the downtown core. There is so much to do and see we’ve compiled a list of the top eight reasons to visit the Toronto Harbourfront this summer.

1. Toronto Skyline

Toronto boasts one of the most iconic skylines in the world and the best way to experience it is from the water aboard one of our cruise ships!  Whether you cruise during the day or night, the Toronto skyline never looks the same way on any given day and won’t fail to impress!  Mariposa Cruises offers a variety of public cruise programs, including brunch, lunch and dinner cruises as well as a Sip and Sail and special event cruises. Our Scenic Toronto Harbour Tours offer guided narrations in six different languages–English, French, Spanish, German, Mandarin and Japanese– and showcase many sites including the island park lands and waterways, Queens Quay Terminal, Toronto Island Airport, Harbourfront Centre, CN Tower, Rogers Centre, HTO Park, Rogers Centre, Air Canada Centre and the fabled Gibraltar Point Lighthouse to name a few.

The view of the Toronto skyline from our Harbour Tour cruise.

2. Toronto Islands

The Toronto Islands are collectively made up of 17 separate islands, totaling over 600 acres. There are several swimming beaches on the islands, including Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach and Hanlan’s Point Beach. , Toronto’s clothing optional beach. In 2002, the location was made permanent, making it only the second official clothing-optional beach in Canada. The many beaches make the islands make a great spot for canoeing, kayaking, cycling and picnicking. Cottage country is right in our backyard!

3. Waterfront Trail

The Waterfront Trail stretches for 740km and passes through the Toronto Waterfront where all of our boats are located!  The trail includes 41 communities, 182 parks and natural areas, 152 arts and culture heritage attractions, 37 major annual waterfront festivals and 170 marinas and yacht clubs.  Perfect for both cyclists and pedestrians for a scenic stroll along the water!

The Waterfront Trail boasts the perfect view for a walk or bike ride.

4. Harbourfront Centre

The Harbourfront Centre is a year-round event facility that features live concerts, competitions, films and markets. Throughout the summer, the Harbourfront Centre comes to life with art exhibitions, cafes, events and a pond with canoe and water activities! The concert stage was designed to provide the best sound quality to visitors, both on land and in the water.

The Harbourfront Centre hosts several events throughout the summer.

5. Go to a Game!

Whether you attend a game at the Air Canada Centre, BMO Field or the Rogers Centre, Toronto boasts many amazing sports teams within the city.  All of these sites are visible from the water and just a short walk away from the Toronto Harbour.  Spend your day on the waterfront or aboard one of our public cruises and top off the day with a game to cheer on any of our amazing teams!

The Rogers Centre, home of the Toronto Blue Jays.

6. Harbourfront Patios

At any time of day, you’re guaranteed a great view when you visit any of Toronto’s picturesque Harbourfront patios! You will be able to soak in the views of the water and skyline while enjoying delicious food and beverages.

Patios along the Harbourfront provide the perfect scenery for enjoying food and drinks.

7. Toronto Music Garden

The Toronto Music Garden is an enchanted location located within the city! The park design is inspired by Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello with each dance movement within the suite corresponding to a different section of the garden .The garden encompasses the spirit of music, dance and art. Drop by the Toronto Music Garden to enjoy free and outstanding classical performances from around the world. 

Left image via the Harbourfront Centre. The Toronto Music Garden is the perfect backdrop for any photos.

8. Gibraltar Point Lighthouse

Completed in 1808, the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is the oldest existing lighthouse on the Great Lakes! It was built at an original height of 52 feet and extended to 82 feet in 1832. The lighthouse was a functioning lookout tower for American ships that came across from New York State during the War of 1812. Finally decommissioned in 1958, Metro Parks took over operations and is currently unused, shut and a great spot to experience the ghostly past of Toronto. Make sure to go on our Harbour Tour to get a chance to see it for yourself!

The view of the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse from our scenic Harbour Tour.

We hope you are able to check off some of these Harbourfront attractions from your summer to-do list!

Engaged? Win Your Engagement Photo Shoot Aboard the Yacht Rosemary!

Throughout Toronto’s history,  the view from the water has been a favourite vantage point for photographers to capture images of one the world’s most iconic and ever-changing skylines. During our 31 years of operation, Mariposa Cruises has hosted over three million guests who come to experience the city from the harbour, not to mention countless photo shoots! This season we’re giving a photo session away aboard the yacht Rosemary. So if you recently popped the question and got a “Yes!”, you’re both in luck because you have a chance to win an engagement photo shoot featuring one of the most stunning backdrops in Toronto.

couple viewing toronto skyline

Toronto boasts one of the most iconic skylines in the world.


Engagement Photo Shoot Prize

We’re pleased to collaborate with long-time partners Photoworks. Throughout their portraiture, Photoworks Photography Studio has been capturing the fun, endearing and real  moments of life, including the personalities, connection and love that their clients share. They are experienced in a range of portraitures, from weddings, to family photos to a variety of events. Valued at $3200.00, the prize consists of a two-hour photoshoot aboard the yacht Rosemary and navigational crew to position the vessel for the most beautiful photos. The professional photography package includes 15-5 X 7 prints along with the corresponding digital files for lasting memories celebrating your engagement.

The Beautiful Yacht Rosemary

The Rosemary is the perfect size for cozy and intimate events of up to 40 people and has hosted many weddings and celebrations.  The fresh air decks on the Rosemary provide spectacular views and is sized perfectly to cruise in and around Toronto’s islands, lagoons and waterways.  Our fleet of uniquely styled vessels can accommodate a range of events for group sizes up to 560 people. Take a 3D virtual tour and experience them for yourself!

yacht rosemary

The yacht Rosemary is a favourite for small and intimate celebrations

How to Enter

Engaged coupled can visit our contest page to complete the entry form and view the full contest terms and conditions. Our Engagement Photo Contests starts on Monday May 7th and we’re accepting entries until midnight on Sunday May 27th, 2018.

Wedding aboard the yacht Rosemary

A wedding on the yacht Rosemary affords beautiful photo opportunities and is the perfect size for cruising in and around Toronto’s islands and lagoons.

Good Luck!

Meet The Crew: Executive Chef Andrew Capone

Mariposa Cruises Executive Chef Andrew Capone

Executive Chef Andrew Capone in the kitchen.

Mariposa Cruises is delighted to welcome Andrew Capone as our new Executive Chef. Having previously been part of our culinary team on the Mariposa Belle, Andrew has accumulated an impressive culinary background. We are excited to see how his talent and passion will elevate our food offerings this season. As Executive Chef, Andrew will manage our hospitality cruise operation, leading two (floating) kitchens on The Northern Spirit and The Captain Matthew Flinders to cater for a fleet of six vessels. During the peak summer period, he could prepare up to 3000 meals a day, a logistical and strategic challenge for any Chef.

Chef Andrew knew from a young age that a culinary career was his path. He credits his European upbringing and fondness of the Food Network as the influencers that led him to enroll in night school for culinary arts. He landed his first kitchen job at the Drake Hotel, where he learned for three years from great Chefs and mentors. He moved on to work at Thuet’s Bistro, where he was trained in French Cooking, picking up artisan bread making and traditional sauce-making techniques.

Chef Andrew decided to switch scenes to banquet halls, working at Grand Bacchus. “Moving from the restaurant scene to a banquet hall prepares you for a different type of food service where you’re cooking for 200 to 1500 people a night.” Other venues include The Harbord Room, Fantasy Farms where he worked his way up to Head Chef, and JW Muskoka Resort, before making the move to Banff in 2016. Eager to gain hotel experience, he started out as a General Chef de Cuisine at The Rimrock Hotel and was quickly promoted to Sous Chef after only a month.  There he had the opportunity to cater to an international audience and broaden his culinary training to fine dining, assisting at The Eden Restaurant, the Rimrock’s high-end establishment.

After returning to Toronto this year, Chef Andrew was offered and accepted the position of Executive Chef at Mariposa Cruises, where his training and expertise have been welcomed with enthusiasm.Working with fairly established menus for the season, Chef Andrew plans to revamp and elevate our menu by adding his own personal touches, sourcing out new, quality food suppliers, introducing new cured meats, fresh cheeses, premium breads & dips and handmade hors d’oeuvres to our offerings.  “I see myself putting my experience to work in the preparation techniques, in the quality of products and ingredients we use and in the presentation of our dishes.  This season our Public Menu offering will feature a fresh daily seafood option and a Chef’s Selection, which gives us the flexibility to get creative with local and seasonal products, serving up different salad selections and antipasto platters.”

Lunch buffet, Captain Matthew Flinders

Chef Andrew serves up lunch for Mariposa Crew on Orientation Day, featuring a fresh seafood offering and salad & taco stations.

The same applies with the Private Event Menus. He adds, “I am always willing to customize menus. I’ve prepared many types of cuisine from around the world, cooked for many cultures and a range of events. Our menu options offer enough variety to accommodate most dietary restrictions as well, whether vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Our investment in new Rational ovens will also allow for better roasting techniques and the ability to prepare, roast and vacuum seal food items for better storage and service. We will be able to serve our guests dishes we never could before, like roasted porchetta, made in the traditional way with the crispy outer skin and prepared with a rosemary and thyme salt rub.”

Most importantly, Chef Andrew will bring to us his invaluable expertise in the kitchen: “You need strong leaderships skills to run a kitchen, especially in a complex operation like Mariposa Cruses. Training is key and I’m excited to lead Mariposa’s culinary team in bringing our guests a great dining experience this season.”

Asked what he likes to cook for himself on his spare time, Chef Andrew replies, “I’m really random, whatever happens to be in the fridge. I love to make breakfast for dinner, but it’s never a regular breakfast. It’ll be something like pancakes and duck eggs. I like to go local butchers and places like the Farmers Market at Wychwood Barns in my neighborhood.  I’m not too picky when I eat at home…” and then adds, “ but I am picky when I dine out.“










The Northern Spirit is Getting a Major Makeover: A Rundown of what’s to come!

Many have enjoyed the Northern Spirit since it joined our fleet in 1993, as it is a popular choice for corporate groups and weddings. It is best known for its wide-open space, bright large picture windows, and having the largest moving rooftop patio in Toronto!

While we’re grateful for all the wonderful events held on board over the years, it was time to give some love back by upgrading the vessel this winter season! As a team we brainstormed, set our sights high, and began the renovation of a lifetime! While the work is quickly progressing, we thought we would share the exciting news of what is to come!

2018 Northern Spirit Renovation Breakdown


The Northern Spirit has over 100 custom made windows on board, and each of these will be replaced with heat resistant glass windows that do a great job of keeping the heat out, while letting the light in!

new window installation Northern Spirit

New windows will provide better insulation and privacy.

Sound System

We have purchased a new state of the art audio system, which uses the latest technology to bring clean, even sound throughout the vessel. The boat will feature over 80 speakers across three decks when it is finished!


We selected new LED lighting for the energy saving features, and to provide atmospheric lighting to match the mood of your event. The ceilings have also been replaced to be more aesthetically pleasing!

ceiling installation Norther Spirit

A new ceiling for a bright, clean look.


All four washrooms on board have been repurposed to include new floor tiling, low flush toilets, vanities and stylish wall coverings.


New bar installation Northern Spirit

Brand new bar spaces will have a fresh new look and are designed for better functionality.

Getting a drink has never been easier! Our new bar spaces will be organized using custom made cabinetry and stainless-steel counter tops, with feature accent lighting. The bar is definitely the place to be!


The old flooring has danced its way into the past! The new renovation will feature brand new carpeting, and tiled dance floors.


Last but not least our DJ booth has been minimized to provide more space for dancing and guests. While still large enough for 2-3 DJ’s, this space has been upgraded with high quality finishing’s including new tabletops and lighting.

Completion is set for April 2018 and we can hardly wait to show you the finished product! Be sure to check back for progress, updates and the unveiling of the newly improved Northern Spirit!

Now Hiring! Rewarding Opportunities in Cruise Hospitality

Welcome to the world of Mariposa Cruises, a truly unique establishment in the hospitality industry! Over the last 30 years our fleet of vessels has hosted over 3 million passengers—from tourists, young students, celebrities and the Stanley cup, to thousands of events ranging from weddings, birthdays, business functions and celebrations!

Server on Showboat

Serving a private function aboard the Showboat

Over the years, our guests have come to experience Toronto from the water, to cruise the city’s historical harbor and waterways, and view one of the most iconic skylines in the world.  Committed to the customer experience, you’ll be part of a team which consists of many moving parts and works collectively to deliver the best possible hospitality and service on every voyage.

Every season we undertake to building an amazing team, welcoming returning employees and new hires alike.

A Gateway to a Career in the Hospitality Industry

Hospitality students have an amazing opportunity to gain experience and training for their future careers.  Not only will our training allow you to hone your customer service and hospitality skills, you have a unique opportunity to work as part of a crew on a boat, participate in regular drills and safety training, and understand what it takes to work as a team.

Safety Day Training

Safety Day. All Mariposa Crew must complete required training and drills

We provide exposure to a wide range of areas, with the opportunity to cross train and learn different skills that build your resume.  For example, if you’ve just completed Bartending Courses, a season at Mariposa Cruises provides you with a foundation of relevant experience to set you on your career path. Whether new or returning crew, we focus on the individual’s goals and whenever possible help them by cross training in other departments or assisting them with their career goals while they complete their education.

Bartending on the Showboat

A great opportunity to gain bartending experience and learn mixology.


A Commitment to the Guest Experience

Mariposa Cruises provides ongoing training and opportunities for professional development within the company. While we are dedicated to training one thing we can’t teach is attitude, personality, passion and drive.  Every voyage brings a different crowd with a different set of expectations. If you understand that at the very core of our values is a commitment to delivering the most memorable experience for our guests; if you thrive in a fast-paced environment and enjoy team work, if you’re perfectly at ease working with the public, know and love Toronto well and can commit to a season,  you already possess some of the key attributes we search for in our job candidates.

Roast Beef Carving Station Northern Spirit

Working the carving station on an afternoon lunch cruise

Available Positions

We’re hiring a series of seasonal positions (May to September) across company departments. Not all positions require previous training or experiences so feel free to visit our Careers Section to apply.

Hospitality & Kitchen: Includes Cruise Managers, Event Crew and Hospitality Coordinators, Bartenders,  Chefs du Cuisine, Chefs du Partie, Sous Chefs,  Kitchen Help, Cleaners.  Smart serve certification is required for most positions.

Harbour Tours- Includes Tour Guides and Kiosk Sales Representatives. Multiple Languages are an asset. Mandarin is highly desired.

Sales and Events: Includes Event Coordinators, Sales Coordinator. Marketing Coordinator, Reservation Agents. Previous experience is an asset.

Marine Operations: Includes Captains, Mates, Deckhands and Engineers. Must have required licenses and certification.

Wheelhouse on Captain Matthew Flinders

At work in the wheelhouse.

We’ve been very fortunate over our 31 years on Toronto’s Harbour to have hired some bright and talented individuals. Our crew is at the heart of our achievement as the leading cruise hospitality operator in Toronto. Some have returned to us season after season, and many others we’ve wished well as they’ve moved on to pursue other career goals. We look forward to building our 2018 team of amazing talent!








Corporate Entertaining: Make it a Nautical Affair!

corporate events toronto

Corporate mixing and mingling aboard the Captain Matthew Flinders

Corporate entertaining blurs the lines between 9-5 client relationships, and provides companies with a competitive advantage among competitors. When thinking about your providers – whether they be your accountant, friendly neighborhood delivery service or financial advisor, who stands out the most? Is it the one who sends you a card at Christmas, calls on your birthday and asks about your weekend? Many will answer yes to all of the above! Relationship building not only strengthens ties with family and friends, it allows you to create a trusting bond with your service providers as well! While small touches go a long way, they’re easily replicated, and quickly become the status quo. Are you looking to maintain your client relationships, or make new ones? Why not try a unique idea to really blow them out of the water? Why not bring them on board a Mariposa Cruise! (more…)

Top 5 Best Things About Toronto Wedding Cruises

A big city like Toronto has no shortage of choices for wedding venues. Couples on the hunt for a city wedding with a beautiful outdoor setting find that wide-open spaces start to become scarce in the downtown core and come at a premium. Consider a Toronto Wedding Cruise. Mariposa Cruises has hosted thousands of nautical nuptials and if the idea of having your day on the water appeals to you, we’ve got five great reasons why you should:

City or Country Wedding: The Best of Both Worlds


Intimate or Grand: Pop the Question Away from land!

Marriage proposal aboard The Captain Matthew Flinders

Newly engaged couples can agree that after showcasing their shiny new engagement rings, the first question asked is, “How did s/he propose?!” While people may tire of sharing other stories, an engagement story is truly one of a kind, and never gets old. For some, this is the day they’ve always dreamed about, and the biggest surprise of their lives! Not surprisingly, this leaves most people mounting under pressure once they realize that they want to pop the question, but don’t know how. (more…)

Back from Heddle Marine: The Captain Matthew Flinders is in ship-shape!

Every five years, commercial vessels in Canada must undergo a series of Transport Canada inspections that require vessels to come out of the water. On October 17 at 3:00 am, the Captain Matthew Flinders set sail from Toronto for the Heddle Marine facility in Hamilton .   As an ocean going ship, the Flinders is quite sturdy but at a maximum speed of 8 to 10 knots—the fastest she can sail–the journey took 3- 4 hours.  Among the thousands of Flinders’ notable voyages, it boasts a colorful stint as a casino boat off of West Palm Beach Florida and cruises to Niagara-on-the-Lake. Named after the Australian explorer who was the first to circumnavigate and identify the Australian continent, the Captain Matthew Flinders was built in 1986 in Port Adelaide. The ship joined Mariposa Cruises’ fleet in 1989, making its way from Australia to Toronto, a journey that took four months! (more…)

Get ready for Ugly Christmas Sweater Day!

Christmas, Cocktails and Cruises!

In the past few years, the Ugly Christmas Sweater trend has gone from non-existent to common place. Not only are retired, tattered and worn sweaters found in thrift stores, but they’re now widely available online and in stores, with extravagant additions including light up Christmas trees, wine bottle holders and modern-day slogans.

The industry has soared with the use of social media, having friends battle it out for the most likes, shares and comments. This has led to the ultimate competition of who will find the most sharable, ugly and memorable knit. Will it be you? Mariposa Cruises has made it easy this year by sharing some of our most notable finds

1.Tipsy Elves Women’s Christmas Stocking Tacky Sweater 

Price: $49.95. Can be purchased here

2.Blizzard Bay Men’s Shirtless Santa Ride Ugly Christmas Sweater