Ward's Island beach

Reality has its rights, and I had to head for home. This part of the Islands will have to wait for another time.

End of the boardwalk

And here, we come to the end of the boardwalk.


Lighthouse as can be seen from the boardwalk. Obviously, it can be seen from quite far away.


It is spring!

Long boardwalk

The boardwalk is not exactly short. This is a straight and somewhat boring part, but there are more interesting parts as well.

Beginning of the boardwalk

And here it finally is, the start of the boardwalk.

End of the beach

And here the beach ends. I am going to get up to the road.

Are we there yet?

Clearly, we are not very far from the Hanlan's Point dock. Too bad we don't see how far it is to Ward's Island.


This is obviously a lake. At least, I have never seen a swan in the sea. This is a view of the same beach as the previous picture.

The Beach

So many beaches...

Not quite there yet!

On my way to Centre Island...


Doesn't it look peaceful?

Island reinforcements

Another method to try to keep the islands from crumbling away.

Canada geese

They make a lot of noise, but they are so beautiful!

Heading East

The walk continues...

Centre Island pier

It is clear that I am by now either on or very close to Centre Island.

Looking East

This is the same beach as the previous picture, just another perspective.

Toronto from the South beach

The CN Tower is omnipresent! It also shows how close we really are to the city.

The island crumbling away

More evidence that the lake is slowly eating away the island.

Walking East

Coming from the spot where I went with Ronald, I had to continue on the land, because it was impossible to follow the beach. Then, I came down again to the beach. This beach was pretty interesting. It was isolated, beautiful, there was a table with benches, and garbage cans. Everything one needs for a nice picnic.

Looking West

Although it may not be immediately apparant because of the different viewpoint, this is the same spot where Ronald made a recording sitting at a table.

Walking through the vegetation

I continued my way through the vegetation. It did not take me too long.

The island crumbling away

At the end of the clothing optional beach, I could go no further. The island is obviously being eaten away by the lake. So, I had to climb up and walk through the vegetation if I wanted to continue my walk.

Gulls at clothing optional beach

In my view, the people that can be seen in the distance are either the bravest of the brave, or just fools. Bathing in water so close to a gull colony is, I think, asking for trouble. On the other hand, I was probably asking for trouble as well, since this is the clothing optional beach of Hanlan's Point. I knew of it, but I had no idea of where it was. Now I do. Strangely enough, the presence of a camera made them nervous. But that seems to be one of the very few negative and strange positions of Canadians in general: They seem to be afraid of being in a picture, and many are really hysterical about it. Quite strange for a country where tourism is an important source of revenue. So, here are people who are not afraid of bathing in what must be a salmonella breeding ground, but who are afraid of being in an innocent picture. A tribute to human irrationalism.

Heading East

Since I had reached the end, I decided to walk back, and was determined to long the South perimeter of the island until I reached Ward's Island in the East. Obviously, there are lots of Canada geese here.

The South-West end of Hanlan's Point

Swan blocking the West end of the sand strip After a somewhat lengthy walk through the sand, I found that I could go no further. Not only were rocks and dense vegetation blocking my way, but a swan had decided to nest there. She was fiercely defending her chicks, so I wasn't motivated to try to brave her. At this point, one is extremely close to the airport runway.

South of the airport fence

South of the fence of the airport, there is a narrow strip where one can walk. Part of it is sand, the other part has some vegetation. The vegetation is obviously important to keep the lake from eating away the sand of the island, so I decided to stay on the beach part. I am looking West here, and that is where I am heading.

Another corner of the fence

From here, I walked South along the fence, until I was able to walk West again.

Airport fence corner

The border with the aiport is obviously not straight. I just followed along.


Many of these places even have barbecues, just in case you would want to. Who needs a garden if one can get it this way?

Picnic places along the airport fence

Everywhere on the island, there are places to picnic. These are obviously great for airplane spotters.

Along the airport fence

Since I decided to walk around the perimeter of the islands, I had to walk along the airport fence until something stopped me.

CN Tower and Rogers Centre

To take this picture, I was standing at the fence of the airport looking towards Toronto. So, getting to the CN Tower is not as easy as it seems. Not only should you cross the airport, but also the lake between the airport and Toronto.

Docking at Hanlan's Point

People are eagerly waiting to get on the ferry to back to Toronto.

Canada geese at the island's airport

Hanlan's Point shares a Western border with the airport of the islands. Just before docking, the ferry passes the end of one of the runways. Unauthorized people are not allowed there, but geese are not people, and they seem to enjoy it very much.

Hanlan's Point ferry leaving the Toronto dock

Yesterday, I decided I wanted to go to Ward's Island, and have something to eat in the Rectory Cafe while working. The Hanlan's Point ferry was faster however, and I took that one to Hanlan's Point. I then thought it would be fun to walk around the perimeter of the Island to Ward's Island. This turned out to be a quite a distance.

Ice cream

Canadians like ice cream, and Torontonians are no exception. My first contact with ice cream in Toronto wasn't positive though. On the contrary, it confirmed all the prejudices Belgians have against Canadians: there was no choice! The ice-cream vendors all carried the same two, and no more than two flavours: vanilla and chocolate cones. OK, they also carried milkshakes, but that is something Belgians also know. What I didn't know until much later, is that they also carry sundaes, snowcones and slushes, all products unknown in Belgium. The only sundae-like product Belgians know is the so-called dame blanche: vanilla ice cream with thick melted chocolate poured over it. Now that I am "in the know" I love slushes and snowcones, and my ice shaver (an unknown appliance in Belgium) is used every single day to make either slushes or snowcones. What I also didn't know, was the immense choice Canadians have in ice cream parlours, where they often find dozens of tastes no Belgian ever heard of. Durian ice cream, green tea ice cream, red bean ice cream, ... wow. Toronto is indeed a multicultural city. Even the grocery stores, Loblaws, Dominion and the like usually sport at least a few dozen different types of ice cream. I am particularly fond of cookie dough, Reese's peanut butter, and Oreo cookies (yes, I *am* talking about ice cream!). The picture shows a typical ice cream vendors' van.


Japanese for Beginners II at the JCCC

Yesterday, May 31st, was the last class of Japanese for Beginners II at the JCCC where I am volunteering. Sunday, we are going all together to Ematei (絵馬亭) to celebrate.


Fiddleheads (Matteuccia struthioreris) are a delicious vegetable that I have learned to appreciate in Toronto. Unfortunately, as with so many vegetables that are supposedly good for you, there is some real danger involved. The Canadian food agency recommends washing them several times and then boiling them for at least 15 minutes before consuming them. That is a pity, since it goes against the traditional way of cooking vegetables here. Indeed, in Europe vegetables are usually boiled until mushy and falling apart, whereas in Canada, vegetables are boiled for a very short time to keep them crunchy (which in turn leads Europeans to claim that Canadians only eat frozen vegetables, something only a braindead would dare to claim).

Window cleaners in Niagara Falls - 4

And this is the same picture as the previous one, cropped to 640*480. This results in an effective zoom of 12 * 3.6 or a staggering 43.2x optical zoom in comparison to the little camcorder. That means that the Panasonic has an effective optical zoom that is about double that of the Canon camcorder. Needless to say that I will no longer use the camcorder to obtain a high zoom factor. That said, I would actually have preferred a 24x optical zoom in combination with a 2 megapixel image. It would have been more practical for the type of pictures I want to make. The calculation is, of course, somewhat of an overly optimistic view, given the fact that the pictures are stored in jpeg-format, but I consider that unimportant, also given the nature of the pictures I want to obtain.

I normally make it a point never to publish pictures on the web that are larger than 320*240. For all intents and purposes, that would actually mean an effective zoom capacity of 86.4x. That is more theoretical than practical, however, since I nearly never enlarge, crop, and the like: too much trouble ^_^.

Window cleaners in Niagara Falls - 3

This is a new picture of the same people, using the 12x zoom, reduced to 640*480.

Window cleaners in Niagara Falls - 2

This is the same picture, but cropped to 640*480. This results in an effective zoom of 3.6x in comparison to the previous picture with no loss of quality: 2304/640 = 3.6x.

Window cleaners in Niagara Falls - 1

I am experimenting a bit with the new camera I bought two weeks ago. It is a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ4. I have waited a long time to buy it, but to the best of my knowledge, it is the most powerful zoom (12x optical) on the market for point-and-shoot cameras. It also has a 4 megapixel resolution. My little camcorder, a Canon ZR70MC was bought explicitly for its 22x optical zoom, at the time, the most powerful zoom in the mini-camcorder world. Unfortunately, its resolution is limited to 640*480 or 0.3 megapixels. Keeping that in mind, I made two pictures while I was running around with Ronald in Niagara Falls. This picture is a picture of two window cleaners hanging on the West side of the Marriott Hotel. 1x zoom (no zoom), reduced to 640*480.