Centreville Amusement Park is one of Toronto’s real gems. Tucked away on Centre Island, this small amusement park is the perfect one-day getaway for Toronto and area families. Recently my family and I took the ferry over to the Toronto Islands and enjoyed a sunny day at Centreville. My two-year-old and six-year-old are the perfect ages for this attraction, which is a great introduction to amusement park rides.
Located almost completely outdoors, Centreville has a small-ish footprint, especially when compared to the much flashier Wonderland. But when you’re venturing out with young kids, that’s honestly a selling feature. This isn’t one of those attractions you need to be at from opening to close so that you can see it all or feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. Centreville is relaxed, casual, manageable. You’ll still be tired at the end of the day at, but you likely won’t be exhausted.
- Dates & Hours: Early May until the last weekend in September; click here for exact dates and hours.
- Location: Centre Island, Toronto Island
- Online Pricing: The ride-all-day pass comes in two options: $28.98 for those under four feet pass and $38.05 for those over four feet. A ride-all-day family pass is $122.12, which covers four individuals of any height. An individual annual pass is $79.65. Individual ride tickets are available at $1.30 per ticket and rides run three to six tickets.
- Do I Have to Buy Tickets in Advance: No but you should unless you want to wait in line and pay a higher price. Important Note: Infants are not allowed on any of the rides so plan accordingly. But Centreville with a baby is still a lot of fun.
Part of the fun of Centreville is taking the ferry. You’ll want the Centre Island ferry, which departs fairly frequently during the summer months. While tickets can be bought at the terminal, you are strongly encouraged to purchase them in advance. But don’t worry, it’s not a timed ticket so you can still purchase in advance and have some flexibility. Prices starts at $4.10 for kids under 14, kids under two are free and yes, all pricing includes your trip back. Note that tickets don’t guarantee a spot on the ferry so plan to show up at least 10 minutes before your departure time, and even earlier on sunny summer weekends.
The ferry can be busy so make sure to prep your kids (and maybe spouse) accordingly. Seats are limited but the ride is only a few minutes long, so any whining from someone who must stand should be minimal. And here’s the answer to that eternal parenting question: Are there bathrooms? Yes, both the terminal and the ferry have bathrooms.
To get on the ferry, your family will need to head to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal, located at the foot of Bay Street. Public transit options including making your way to Union Station and then walking down to the lake. Driving is also quiet straight-forward and there is usually ample parking nearby. Just watch the price; it can jump up quite a bit when other events, like a Blue Jays game, are happening.
An alternative to the ferry is a water taxi, which mostly depart from the slip at Queens Quay and Spadina.
What Can We Do There?
The rides are the main attraction at Centreville but don’t expect any big thrills. This place fully embraces its role as an amusement park for kids ages two to seven (and those prone to motion sickness). Nearly two dozen rides and attractions are available, including such classics as a Ferris wheel and an old-fashioned carousel. Several rides are just for kids, while others are can fit adults (though not always comfortably).
I know that for many people, amusement parks equal long lines but that’s not necessarily the case at Centreville. Except for one ride, we never waited more than two minutes, and, in most cases, our kids walked onto the rides. Yes, it helped that our most recent trip was the second weekend in May and the park wasn’t packed. However, we’ve previously been to Centreville at the height of summer and while it was busier, we still moved through any lines with an impressive amount of speed.
As kid-friendly as the park is, there are a few rides you may want to make a note about. The Haunted Barrel Works is a “dark ride” that winds through a mostly black, indoor building. It won’t frighten many adults but its use of loud, sudden noises, flashing lights and “pop-up” elements could understandably upset even a school-age kid. My six-year-old likes this ride but
thinks that it’s “really scary.”
The Saugreen Lumber Mill Log Flume Ride is probably the closest to a “thrill ride” that Centreville has. Its drop is surprisingly quick and did get my heart thumping. This ride also has the potentially to get you wet, though on a hot day that’s a welcomed surprise.
The final ride you might want to proceed with caution is the park’s lone roller coaster, the Toronto Island Mine Coaster. This quick ride (I’m positive it’s well under two minutes long) is tame as far as roller coasters go but had enough speed and tilt to leave at least one child in the group ahead of us in tears. My six-year-old however, screamed “Again, again!” after we got off
and ran to get back in line.
If your kids need a break from the rides, check out the small miniature golf course or the splash pad, the latter of which is free and open to all who visit the island. Also open to all is Far Enough Farm. Located at one end of the park, this small “farm” features the usual barnyard friends, some of which you can pet and sometimes even feed. Pre-COVID, pony rides were available, but they weren’t being offered when we were there.
One of the best aspects of Centreville is how it’s seamlessly integrated into Centre Island. There are no walls or even much or a gate so you’re never “stuck” in the park. You’re free to head deeper into the Island (maybe to a beach) if that’s what works best for your family, and then come back later on to do more rides.
And while a play-all-day pass is the best bang-for-your-buck, the option of tickets is ideal for families who don’t want to spend all day at the Centreville or who only want to do a small handful of rides.
Food & Drink
First, let me answer the question many of you are wondering: Can I bring food and drink into the park? Yes, you absolutely can, and many people do. Centreville has quite a few on-site picnic tables as well as shaded green spots that work nicely for picnics. You can also always leave the park and head elsewhere on the island to picnic, before returning for some more rides.
If you’d rather order lunch, be prepared for high prices and lines longer than at any of the rides. The usual suspects are there (Pizza Pizza, Subway) as well as a handful unique-to-Centreville spots that offer dishes like sausages, chicken strips and, of course, poutine. There are also a few options for sweet treats including ice cream, cotton candy and, best of all in my humble
opinion, Beaver Tails. And yes, there is a spot (Sister Sara’s Cake Shop) where you can get coffee.
If you’re looking for a bit of a nicer, sit-down experience (complete with alcohol), check out the Carousal Café or head back to the Island’s ferry dock and dine at the Toronto Island BBQ & Beer Co.
So Should Your Family Go?
Yes! A trip out to the Island should be a standard spring/summer outing for every Torontonian and for families with young kids. A couple of hours (or more) at Centreville is a simple way to create a day your kids will remember for years to come.