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Old 03-08-2021, 18:27   #1
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Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

Hi,


This may seem like a loaded question but... Is a Toronto Harbor permit really required if you wish to enter the inner or outer harbors? I've read in a few places that it's something only the excessively honest get

Separate question but can anyone recommend areas to anchor in the harbors?

Our usual sailing grounds are further east (Whitby and Bay of Quinte) and the harbor will be our first foray into crowded waters. Would love any advice / tips / cautionary tales. I've never had to deal with ferry traffic etc. before. Also do not have a marine VHF license due to COVID causing most VHF exams to be canceled. We do have a VHF onboard however.

Boat is a Douglas 31 and we draw about 5 feet. We'd like to anchor somewhere with a bit of space around us as the boat sails at anchor quite viciously. Have a few tricks to stop the sailing at anchor I will try out this time around, but no guarantee they're going to work.
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Old 03-08-2021, 19:29   #2
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

I passed through there a number of years ago, and spent about a week anchored. Never heard of a permit. I certainly didn't get one, although it's possible this is a new requirement. Seems very odd though...

As for anchorages, we spent a number of days anchored just south of Hanlan's Island, in the bay near the treatment plant. It's a small bay, so only a few boats can fit. Very well protected, and easy dinghy landing spots.

The other areas we considered was the Outer Harbour and Blockhouse Bay. In years of high water the Long Pond looks interesting. But only in high water years (not this year).
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Old 03-08-2021, 20:39   #3
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

A permit is required for powered vessel operation within the Ports of Toronto. Whether or not compliance is high?

Quote:
Visiting recreational powered boaters can obtain a 14-day Visitor Powered Vessel Operators Permit from PortsToronto for $20 by calling the Permit Office at 416-778-1230 or sending an email to permitinfo@portstoronto.com.

Foreign recreational powered boaters can obtain a 14-day Visitor Powered Vessel Operators Permit from PortsToronto for $20 by calling the Permit Office at 416-778-1230 or sending an email to permitinfo@portstoronto.com.
Is $20 worth the risk? If you want to stay longer it seems that because of Covid you can get the annual permit for $30 and a phone call without having to take the test.

https://www.portstoronto.com/port-of...9s-permit.aspx
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Old 03-08-2021, 21:32   #4
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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Originally Posted by paradoxbox View Post
Hi,

This may seem like a loaded question but... Is a Toronto Harbor permit really required if you wish to enter the inner or outer harbors? I've read in a few places that it's something only the excessively honest get

Separate question but can anyone recommend areas to anchor in the harbors?

Our usual sailing grounds are further east (Whitby and Bay of Quinte) and the harbor will be our first foray into crowded waters. Would love any advice / tips / cautionary tales. I've never had to deal with ferry traffic etc. before. Also do not have a marine VHF license due to COVID causing most VHF exams to be canceled. We do have a VHF onboard however.

Boat is a Douglas 31 and we draw about 5 feet. We'd like to anchor somewhere with a bit of space around us as the boat sails at anchor quite viciously. Have a few tricks to stop the sailing at anchor I will try out this time around, but no guarantee they're going to work.
Are you a member of a club and have reciprocal privileges? If so, I can highly recommend QCYC. Nice club with a decent restaurant, and close to other interesting stuff too.

The inner harbour is an experience for sure. Pay attention to ferries, hold your course and be predictable, and they will give you room. I haven't seen much anchoring in the inner harbour itself. I know of a few places where one can hole up amongst the islands... but I'm not telling . And it's pretty hard to hide a 31' boat in there.

Hopefully others may have anchoring suggestions. My experience is that visiting boats mainly head for the yacht clubs and marinas, to have access to amenities, and transportation or access to get to downtown.

I have a Port of Toronto card, mostly to support their efforts. I've never been challenged to show it.
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Old 03-08-2021, 21:38   #5
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

Have you ever sailed in the Inner Harbor? It is not that big. You will have eyes on you. Spend the $20 and get the visitor’s permit.

I had my boat at the Outer Harbor Marina back in the day and had my Harbor License/Permit… if for any reason — whatever goes wrong on a boat? — and you need a transient slip, or haul out, well the Harbor and the Outer Harbor Marina is run by the Port Authority so good luck!

Outer Harbor Marina is really nice too when there’s weather… or, when your crew threatens mutiny when faced with one more Canadian day on the hook….
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Old 04-08-2021, 04:59   #6
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

Toronto Harbour is really just too busy to be a good anchorage anymore, what with the Ferry traffic, Club launches and water taxis - and powerboaters without a Harbour license!

The best anchoring is really in the Outer Harbour Area (enter the East Channel and turn to starboard at Red OH14). There are two lovely quiet anchorages nearby that are mostly known only to locals. One in a bird sanctuary.

I'll send you a PM.

There's also: Hanlans Point Mooring Wall (first-come, first-served) to get a good spot you need to be there Wednesday or Thursday before any Summer weekend.
https://torontoislandmarina.com/prod...ns-point-wall/

And yes, Toronto Harbour License is a requirement, but I've been sailing in and out of the Harbour for more than 20 years and have never been required to produce it.

That said, I've always strictly followed the rules, which mandate keeping clear of the ferries (who follow a prescribed, regular route and always sound their horn before leaving the dock so you know they're coming), minding the exclusion zone for Billy Bishop Airport and keeping your boat speed down. As you're a sailboat, I don't imagine keeping your speed down would be a problem...

If you do venture into the Harbour, ensure VHF16 is always on, as the Ferries and Launches communicate regularly and effectively, so you'll know what they're going to do. Water taxis, not so much. They are wild, unpredictable and not to be trusted.

Fair winds,
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:22   #7
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

I got the permit a few years ago and felt better having complied with the law for the harbour and it was all done over the phone. My sense was that it was principally insuring you understood the rules for the airport and how to keep clear.
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Old 04-08-2021, 05:28   #8
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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My sense was that it was principally insuring you understood the rules for the airport and how to keep clear.
You're right, Dan. It's mostly (but not all) about the airport exclusion zone and especially sailboats, with their tall masts, keeping clear of the planes taking off and landing.

With Covid, however, not so many of those until Porter reopens in September...

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Old 04-08-2021, 06:33   #9
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

Interesting. I have a pilot's license so I guess I have that going for me, if the concern is primarily with the airport. I would have thought commercial shipping was the bigger concern.


We are based out of Port Whitby Marina and have a reciprocal card, but because of COVID the participating reciprocals are pretty sparse this year. We are considering staying at Highland YC - it's pretty close to where we live and they are on the reciprocal list this year.
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Old 04-08-2021, 07:08   #10
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I passed through there a number of years ago, and spent about a week anchored. Never heard of a permit. I certainly didn't get one, although it's possible this is a new requirement. Seems very odd though...

As for anchorages, we spent a number of days anchored just south of Hanlan's Island, in the bay near the treatment plant. It's a small bay, so only a few boats can fit. Very well protected, and easy dinghy landing spots.

The other areas we considered was the Outer Harbour and Blockhouse Bay. In years of high water the Long Pond looks interesting. But only in high water years (not this year).
The requirement for a permit/license has been in place for at least 25 years. I used to have one when I kept my boat at Center Island Marina (1998). Though I let it expire now that I generally don't go that way
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Old 04-08-2021, 08:53   #11
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
The best anchoring is really in the Outer Harbour Area (enter the East Channel and turn to starboard at Red OH14). There are two lovely quiet anchorages nearby that are mostly known only to locals. One in a bird sanctuary.
What do you think of my anchorage near the treatment plant, near Hanlan Island? I spent nearly a week there. It was lovely, and pretty quiet, and I had zero issues with the authorities, who could be seen patrolling the area.

There were a few other boats that came and went while I was there, so it seemed to be a known anchorage. But this was back in 2014, so maybe things have changed.

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The requirement for a permit/license has been in place for at least 25 years. I used to have one when I kept my boat at Center Island Marina (1998). Though I let it expire now that I generally don't go that way
As a transient, I never heard of such a thing. I didn't see it in any guides, or other reference material I had. Not saying you're wrong -- clearly I am. But nothing I researched prior to arrival gave me any inclining that such a permit existed.
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:05   #12
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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The requirement for a permit/license has been in place for at least 25 years. I used to have one when I kept my boat at Center Island Marina (1998). Though I let it expire now that I generally don't go that way
I worked at F&N Yacht Services based at Spadina & Lakeshore in the mid 1970's when parking was free, virtually nobody ventured there except industry and the big attraction was the abandoned sites where Fairmiles were built for WW2. The Harbour Operators Licence was a requirement back then, administered by Toronto Harbour Commissioners, tested by Harbour Police (they ran those beautiful wooden launches) and looked like your driver's license. https://www.facebook.com/VintageToro...0326593037316/
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:18   #13
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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What do you think of my anchorage near the treatment plant, near Hanlan Island? I spent nearly a week there. It was lovely, and pretty quiet, and I had zero issues with the authorities, who could be seen patrolling the area.
Sorry, Mike. Blockhouse Bay and that area are now pretty crazy with all the charter party boats and newbie boaters steaming in and out wake-ing everyone. I hadn't been there since 2019 and went in a couple of weeks ago and what a free-for-all!

That's why I recommended the Mooring Wall if Paradox wants to go there. At least they'd be secure and out of the worst of it, but there really is a lot of continuous sightseeing boat traffic and huge pontoon taxis on that side of the island now...

Yikes!
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Old 04-08-2021, 09:26   #14
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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Interesting. I have a pilot's license so I guess I have that going for me, if the concern is primarily with the airport. I would have thought commercial shipping was the bigger concern.
Commercial ships are a relevant concern, as they transit in and out of the Harbour by the Eastern Gap - which is where you'll be coming in. They are required to broadcast a Securite' upon leaving the dock and at a certain number of miles off the outer entrance buoy. Listen for them. Remember, those ships are constrained by their draft when operating in that channel, so absolutely everyone must keep clear - including sailboats!

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Old 04-08-2021, 10:31   #15
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Re: Toronto Islands / Toronto Harbor Permit?

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Originally Posted by LittleWing77 View Post
Sorry, Mike. Blockhouse Bay and that area are now pretty crazy with all the charter party boats and newbie boaters steaming in and out wake-ing everyone. I hadn't been there since 2019 and went in a couple of weeks ago and what a free-for-all!

That's why I recommended the Mooring Wall if Paradox wants to go there. At least they'd be secure and out of the worst of it, but there really is a lot of continuous sightseeing boat traffic and huge pontoon taxis on that side of the island now...

Yikes!
LW77
So sorry to hear. When I was tucked in there it was beautifully quiet. Very little traffic at all. There were the tour boats that would come down and circle the island, but it was easy to anchor well out of their way. Never saw any private party boats.

My how things can change in such a short time .
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