What to expect on a Toronto Harbour Tour


The Toronto Harbour Tour was a truly magical experience. Immersing myself into open water felt liberating and the bright blue sky made for a beautiful day. On the tour, I was able to see Toronto from a new perspective and I discovered many of the city’s hidden gems. From the Toronto Islands and historical landmarks to the natural ecosystems and wildlife, every view was different.

As the Oriole was docking, lines of people eagerly awaited to board. The Oriole is a fascinating vessel, and the Victorian era steamship style provided a lens on what boating in Toronto would have been like in the past. However, this feeling quickly disappeared as we sailed away from Toronto’s futuristic skyline that manifested itself in our view.



A Brief History

Toronto Waterfront 1916

Toronto Waterfront 1916

Onboard the Oriole, photographs were projected depicting the evolution of Toronto’s Waterfront. The black and white images showed the waterfronts development from a major industrial port in the 1800’s, to a lively recreational and tourism attraction, complimented by the CN tower, Sugar Beach and Rogers Centre. Although much has changed, the Redpath Sugar silo, which has been headquartered here since 1950 can still be seen from the shore receiving deliveries from Great Lake and ocean-going vessels.
During the voyage, many different historical landmarks were visible. Each one helped shape my understanding of the Toronto Harbour and all its dynamic parts.

Hanlan’s Point is one of the Toronto Islands, accessible by ferry. It’s named after John Hanlan, one of the Toronto Islands’ first year-round residents. Here visitors can play at the Centre Island amusement park, swim on sandy beaches or the nude beach (1 of only 2 in Canada!) and sail along the canals. The beach at Hanlans’ point along with Gibraltar Point beach have Blue Flag designation – an international mark of recognition for safe, environmentally friendly beaches with clean water. Through the trees, you could see a red and black tugboat. It dates back to 1932, when the shipping industry still ruled the waterfront in Toronto. This little tugboat guided big ships in and out of port.


Gibraltar Point Lighthouse is the first permanent lighthouse on the Great Lakes. It’s also Toronto’s oldest stone building, originally constructed in 1808. It was used as a lookout tower against American invaders during the war of 1812. According to a local legend, it’s also haunted. On moonless nights, rumor has it that you can hear the ghost of John Paul Radelmüllter, the first lighthouse keeper screaming inside the lighthouse. During the war of 1812, American soldiers chased Radelmüllter up the lighthouse where a gust of wind blew him over the rail to his death.

Toronto Islands

Toronto paddle boarders

Paddle boarding around the Toronto Islands

From the boat, the Toronto islands looked like a little community in the middle of the forest. There are actually 262 residential homes! Lush green trees surrounded picnickers and cyclists biked on trails that extended along most of the waterfront. Many other boaters passed by us and even some paddle borders. It was interesting to go from a fast-paced city life to such a calm and relaxing atmosphere in a matter of minutes. The outskirts of Toronto’s island are a sight to see in itself, but there’s even more to explore on the island!

Natural Ecosystems and Wildlife

Toronto Islands

Toronto Islands Tour

The islands surrounding the harbour are mostly parkland surrounded by beautiful old trees. The ecosystems are untouched habitats that naturally maintain themselves. I could hear songbirds in the treetops and I even saw a swan! In a given year, you can see more than 200 species including blue herons, red fox, beavers and so much more. I definitely recommend bringing your binoculars.

Returning to the Shore

On our way back to shore, we emerged towards a picture perfect view of Toronto’s Iconic skyline. The CN tower, high rise buildings, skyscrapers and architectural masterpieces, framed by island greenery, all work together to create an innovative frontier that is a symbol of Canada as a whole.

Written by Kathleen Rodger, a Fourth year Communications Student at Ryerson University.

Live on the Lake rocks the Toronto Harbour

Toronto’s music scene hit the harbour in July when Mariposa Cruises introduced Live on the Lake to our public cruise program. Featuring performances by great local musicians on select Tuesdays aboard the Oriole, the music nights are similar to our Sip & Sail Cocktail Cruises where guests can take in the sights of Toronto’s skyline and harbour, except that these cruise nights are charged with the energy of live music. (more…)

2017 Miss World Canada Harbour Cruise

One of the most important things we do at Mariposa Cruises is share the Toronto harbour cruise experience with young people.  We traffic in shareable moments and set the stage for new friends to make foundational memories. Our staff aboard each of our unique ‘floating’ networking platforms strives to create the perfect place for young adults to start lifelong friendships.  Cruising the busy harbour opposite the biggest city in Canada is thrilling at any age, and watching the shoreline grow more distant while being ensconced in the excitement aboard ship impacts young minds and empowers them to visualize infinite possibilities on their own horizons. (more…)

An enchanting evening aboard the Classical 96.3 FM Summer Cruise

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Marg Koop recalls her experience aboard the Captain Matthew Flinders last year for The New Classical 96.3 FM Summer Cruise on the Toronto Harbour. Join us again this summer for the 2nd Annual Classical 96.3 FM Cruise on August 18th. 

Boarding the Classical 96.3FM Summer Cruise

The 1st annual Classical 96.3 Summer Cruise with Mariposa Cruises on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 was an enchanting evening. My friend and I were among the many classical music fans and avid listeners of the New Classical 96.3FM radio station who had traveled down to the Toronto harbourfront for an evening of classical music and fine dining while cruising on the Toronto Harbour.

We were blessed with exceptionally warm clear weather, which made the outside deck that much more enjoyable for taking in the marvellous Toronto skyline and snapping photos of it.

Sharon and Joe: Reflections on their First Wedding Anniversary

Our guests Sharon and Joe were married aboard the Showboat on July 3, 2015. A year later Mariposa Cruises is happy to welcome them on board again to share their wedding experience and celebrate their First Anniversary.

By the time Joe and I were married, we had been together for 26 years!  Although we often talked about ‘tying the knot‘, we could not decide on ‘the how’, traditional or non-traditional.  The pivotal event that helped in our decision came when we attended a fundraiser aboard the Northern Spirit.  We later discovered that good friends had been married, years earlier, aboard the same ship.  We were ‘hooked’!  With Mariposa Cruises we had our traditional ceremony with a very unique venue!

Bagatto Cunningham Wedding-129



Z103.5’s All White All Night Cruise Was A Night To Remember

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Laura D recounts her experience aboard the Captain Matthew Flinders during last year’s  Z103.5 boat cruise. Join us again as we host their 2nd annual party cruise on July 21st.. 


The horn sounded and the engines swelled. The decks of the luxurious Captain Matthew Flinders yacht were filled with droves of beautiful people dressed in their most luminous whites as they waved goodbye to July.

The sun may have been setting but summer was still in full swing, and the folks who usually help fill the radio airwaves were making waves on Toronto’s Harbourfront for the annual Z103.5 appreciation cruise.


ALOHA SAILOR! Enjoying a Hawaiian Luau on the Toronto Harbour

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Michele Aristide recounts her experience aboard the Northern Spirit for the Hawaiian Luau Dinner Cruise on the Toronto Harbour..

Hawaiian Luau Dinner Cruise

After a long and difficult week, my husband and I went aboard the Northern Spirit in hopes of some R&R.

We were immediately greeted by a very cheerful Manager, Allison, who welcomed us aboard. Once on the ship, the soothing music of Hawaii and a lovely young female dancer attracted our eyes and slowed us down from our fast paced march of the work week. Her slow and ethereal movements immediately made us feel like we just entered an environment that would give us just that, a nice relaxing evening.


Retro fun on the Toronto Harbour

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Luisa Fracassi recounts her experience aboard the Northern Spirit for the 80’s & 90’s Retro Dinner Cruise on the Toronto Harbour.

80s & 90s Retro Dinner Cruise

The Northern Spirit departed Habourfront a few minutes after 7. It was a sunny 23 degrees and my friend and I wanted to enjoy the weather on the boat’s large open upper deck. The theme of the night’s cruise was 80s and 90s retro. A handful of guests dressed in costume, myself included, imagine a splash of neon and acid wash jeans amongst a crowd dressed in smart casual attire.


Best Salsa Party In Toronto

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Maiby Davison retells her experience aboard the Northern Spirit for the Salsa in Toronto Cruise Night on the Toronto Harbour.

Salsa in Toronto Cruise Night

If you like Latin music this is definitely your party!!! You get it all!!

I decided to celebrate summer my way!!! So I went to the Harbourfront (the most beautiful area in Toronto) and of course went on a Mariposa Cruise! I found the perfect cruise for me and all my people that love Latin music: the Salsa in Toronto Cruise Nights Cruise, part of the Salsa in Toronto Festival Week.


Ringing in the New Year on the Toronto Harbour

Mariposa Cruises’ guest Katharine MacNevin retells her experience aboard the the Captain Matthew Flinders for our New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner Cruise on the Toronto Harbour.

“Here comes the jackpot question in advance… What are you doing for the New Year, New Year’s Eve?”

Ahhh yes, the big question. What are you doing New Year’s Eve? Most of us have spent some time pondering over this at one point or another, and perhaps even fretting over whether or not choosing incorrectly might result in a year-long jinx. Fortunately, I don’t subscribe to that theory. Even more fortunate, choosing how to ring in the New Year for 2015 ended up being a very easy decision once I learned there was an option to spend it on a boat, cruising Toronto’s harbour.