Saturday Snapshot September 20: Ward’s Island

My ten-day trip to Toronto was not only about films. I brought along my camera and my ‘birding lens’, hoping to catch some birds in migration. Before I left, I read about  the hotspots for birding on Ward’s Island, and printed some pages off the Internet.

Ward’s Island is just a 15-minute ferry ride south from the Toronto Harbourfront. As soon as I got off the boat, I realized I’d forgotten to bring along the birding pages. Why was I not surprised? No matter, without the guide sheets, I was in for a fresh exploration and a mental exercise in information retrieval. So much the better.

It turned out that the first week of September happened to be a little too early for bird migration. Temperature is also a factor. The day I visited the island, it was 30C (86F). But instead of birds, I did take some photos on that piece of tranquility a stone throw from the busy metropolis.

The Toronto skyline viewed from Ward’s Island:

Toronto Skyline

The Boardwalk along the periphery of Lake Ontario:

The Boardwalk

House boat or was it boat house on the canal… serene and reclusive:

House on the Canal

I’ve never been to Monet’s flower gardens at Giverny, but I can imagine it looking at the canal. Just like to name these photos the Monet Effects:

Monet Effects

Monet Effects 2

Ok, don’t rub it in. I appreciate the irony. But here’s the interesting thing: Look carefully and you’ll see the reflection is sharper than the subject, use ‘Chaos’ as the guiding light.


When I was just about given up on photographing birds, I sat down at the outdoor garden of The Island Café near the pier and had my breakfast. And what did I see? My very first sighting of Monarch Butterflies!

The Monarch Butterfly


Monarch 2


The Monarch 3

The Monarch, more than enough to compensate for my lack of bird sightings. A new burst of enthusiasm led me to retrace my steps along the canal to look more carefully for birds, but thanks to some overzealous fire ants successfully targeting my feet, I had to retreat after spending a fruitful four hours on Ward’s Island. A half day of total serenity.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda of West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

Photos in this post taken by Arti of Ripple Effects, September, 2014.


Published by


If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

51 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot September 20: Ward’s Island”

  1. Lovely photos! I have been to Monet’s garden at Giverny and it is worth a visit, those lilypads aren’t bad at all 🙂 Canada is on the to visit list bit I don’t know when.


  2. Exquisite photos! I visit Toronto frequently but have never been to Ward’s Island, will definetely check it out next time, but then I may not have your keen eye in capturing the aesthetics in the simplest things nor your skill in deploying the camera lens.


    1. Yin ling,

      Thanks, the next time I’m in TO, we must get to the Islands. They’re only a 15 min. ferry ride. Two worlds so close and yet so vastly different.


    1. Jeanie,

      There are three main ones right across from the Harbourfront. I just visited a small part. But what I really would like to explore and experience is the Muskoka area and yes, cottage living by the lake. I’m sure you’re very familiar with that in your lake house in Michigan. 😉


  3. I was in Toronto for almost 14 days but could not squeeze a whole morning or afternoon to get to the islands. A lot of time with family….since I used to live in T.O. for over 20 years.

    So some time soon next year. Lovely butterfly photos!


      1. A lot of people in Western people have a very stereotypical impression of Toronto. I had forgotten what a wonderful tree canopy Toronto has in downtown, residential, parks as well as dense bush areas Toronto’s extensive park system has –meaning the whole network includes from lake, to west, north and east. Getting too used to prairie grass parks in Calgary, I guess.

        I miss trees. Yes, the Toronto Islands are a wonderful respite.


    1. David,

      I still remember your post on the film The Enemy which was shot in Mississauga. This is my first time at Ward’s Island, and I must say I was utterly surprised at the two drastically different worlds being in so proximity to each other. Toronto at TIFF is a human cacophony and the Islands look like the ideal place to escape to.


  4. Gorgeous shots! Love your “Monet effects,” and the houseboat shots are ones I would frame. As for the Monarch butterflies…there are no words to describe them. There is a picture book I used to enjoy, all about the migration of these butterflies in California, called The Butterflies Come.

    Thanks for sharing…and here’s MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT POST


    1. laurelrainsnow,

      While I’ve read about the Monarchs, most recently read the book The Homing Instinct by Bernd Heinrich, this is the first time I’ve ever seen them. So you can see how excited I was.


  5. I love seeing your photos of my home town. These are fabulous photos. I have been to Monet’s garden and your photo is definitely Monet-worthy!!!
    Off to read more of your Toronto posts.


    1. jmcguin7,

      You have a wonderful home town. I go to TO usually just for TIFF in Sept. But the next time I’ll definitely explore more of its islands. And next time in France, Monet’s gardens. 😉


  6. I enjoyed all your photos, especially the ones of the monarch butterflies. Forgetting the birding pages?? That sounds like exactly what I would do! But somehow things seem to work out well anyhow, don’t they? It’s all about attitude and the ability to be flexible.


    1. Sandra,

      Thanks for your echoing. 😉 Visiting and exploring new places always have their enticing effects… holding the pages in my hands may diminish the fun.


  7. Arti,
    BTW i loved your posts about the film festival and take cues from you on upcoming films to watch for. . . AND you always have something interesting to share on Saturdays – the photo of Toronto was magazine worthy and the Monarchs were breathtaking. thank you for being you.


  8. Loved that photo of the walkway … sigh! And Monarchs! Aren’t they just so lovely ? Lucky you to be in Toronto for the filmfest … we loved visiting Toronto and stayed in a funky neighborhood called Cabbagetown …would love to go back in the summertime. Wewere there in the springtime.


    1. Susan,

      I’ve never been to Cabbagetown, actually so many places I haven’t visited. But the natural areas are definitely places which I’ll explore the next time. Thanks for stopping by the pond and throwing in your two pebbles. 😉


  9. Arti, your nature shots are reliably beautiful. The butterflies and that houseboat were my favorites, but this city slicker also appreciated seeing the Toronto skyline. Thanks for sharing this great selection of images.


    1. LA,

      Thanks. Those houseboats were quite a statement compared to the busy metropolis that’s TO. You can see the contrast in clarity of the photos bet. the island and the TO skyline. Maybe its the smog or early morning haze, the skyline photos are all hazy. But then again, maybe you’re used to seeing that. 😉


    1. ds,

      Glad to have you visit! Yes, the Monarchs are lovely, and for the houseboats, ah… for someone who’s easily succumb to motion sickness, I’d rather admire them from land. 😉


  10. Oh, I love Toronto so much! I haven’t been there in a few years, but your pictures brought back glorious memories.

    (p.s. Am halfway through Within A Budding Grove; listening to it in the car is great! I will carry on with Guermantes Way for October. It’s lovely how the detail and pace slow my life down.)


    1. Bellezza,

      I still remember your post about taking a summer course at the U of T, with your mom? Forgot the details. But yes, that must be the most memorable experience. I came back home to some very busy work schedule. Hope I can settle and be ready for Vol. 3 of Proust by mid Oct. Glad you’re enjoying Budding Grove. You may like to take a look at my posts and share your thoughts: Half Way through a Budding Grove and Wrap up


  11. You really took some great pictures. I like the Toronto panorama. I went there years ago with my daughter for New Year. It was so cold that I could hardly move and did not take any picture outdoors. I did not recall the city being so modern, almost futuristic in design.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog, but you know I would never try to have my series on the liberation of Paris in WW2 published because it would upset many Americans who believe that their army delivered the city. Publishing houses are in it for the money and writing something that does not show FDR in a great light would not sell. I found and already said that French people like to complain about their country with everyone, but Americans get angry if you tell them that not everything that their government did overseas was perfect. So, I’ll just write for my little blog! But thanks for the comment.


    1. VB,

      I totally get what you’re saying. No matter, I’ll keep reading your blog posts. They are exhaustive in information, and with all those photos and images, even better than a book. As for Toronto, it’s the largest city in all of Canada and probably the highest real estate prices. I’m sure you’ll see a very different city if you go there now. But what I really enjoy is to explore the islands, lakes and the natural areas in the province. I’m just starting to do that a bit, very limited time since I just go there once a year, if I go at all.


  12. There’s a new exhibit opening at our Museum of Fine Arts in October, titled Monet and the Seine: Impressions of a River. I’d forgotten, until I saw your photo of the houseboat, that for a time Monet had a houseboat for his studio. Shortly after he moved to Argenteuil, he bought the boat and converted it.

    The Monarch photos are gorgeous, and I especially like the one of the Toronto skyline. Toronto is one of those places that is a name and a blank space for me. Thanks for “fleshing it out” a bit. (I just noticed that a town named Paris is southwest of Toronto, and not so very far away!)


    1. Linda,

      I’d love to see that exhibit! I never knew Monet had a houseboat. How cool is that. Anyway, nothing beats actually setting foot on the ‘real’ Giverny Gardens and seeing his works there. That’s on my bucket list. 🙂 One thing about the Monarch photos, maybe because of the lighting being so perfect, and the butterfly was so stationary (unlike birds) and that I could get really close to it and with my camera’s close up mode, they all came out wonderful. I didn’t do any editing except just cropping. And, using the ‘Portrait’ setting, i.e. a shallow depth of field focusing on the butterfly, it gives a blurry background making an interesting contrast.


  13. What a great place, and you took great shots. The view of the skyline is lovely, and I had to laugh at your Chaos reflection. The whole notion of migratory butterflies is just astonishing to me- I love your shots of them too.


  14. The Monarch butterflies photos are breathtaking. I also liked those of the canal.

    My husband and I once visited a park known for its gardens but, alas, the flowers weren’t yet in bloom. Instead we took lots of turkey photos. 🙂


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