The Toronto ferries have crossed the harbour to the islands for nearly 190 years, and over the years have needed upgrades. Now, the time has come to replace these hard-working boats again.
The city will replace all four of the Toronto Island Ferries with the first one arriving as soon as 2024.
The four ferries in current use are aging, around 60 to 80 years old, and in need of replacement. And it seems like demand for island trips is not dwindling particularly during the pandemic when the boats seemed overloaded at times last summer.
So some might be happy to hear that the city is replacing the current fleet of four boats to “ensure reliable, high-quality and safe transportation to and from Toronto Island,” Ainsley Murray, a spokesperson for the City of Toronto tells blogTO.
The city plans a staggered replacement of the ferries over a 15 year period with the first one delivered in 2024 (possibly subject to change due to market conditions), Murray says.
The ferry designs have been finalized and class approved, and the city is actively working to put in place the pieces needed to proceed with construction, she adds.
Before the orders are placed in 2022, the city still needs to confirm cost estimates, ensure the budget is place and review the replacement plan in the context of the newly released marine use strategy.
While some people suggest the city should just build a bridge or let commuters use the tunnel (for the Billy Bishop Airport), the new ferries will incorporate new technologies including green design elements where possible, Murray says.
They will be up to current accessibility standards, improve winter transport to the island and improve the efficiency of operations and limiting unexpected changes to ferry schedules due to maintenance.