The Internet continues to develop as a wonderful resource for research and learning. It has been invaluable to me as a documentary maker, often in unexpected ways. When I learned that the town of Toronto, NSW, Australia had been named in honour of Ned Hanlan's home town I began surfing, emailing contact names I found in Australia, and a good friend who lived there at that time. A photographer in Toronto (Australia, that is) sent me an aerial view of the marina and town, asking only for name credit. My friend, Len Ashby and his partner Judi, actually drove from Sydney to Toronto to take pictures for me! One of them, a roadsign with the mileage to Toronto shown, made it into the DVD. And all I did was ask for help and sit in front of my laptop.
When it comes to web sites, starting here is a good idea. The content mixes Island history with present day activities and events, photos, ferry schedules, and much more material than I can reasonably describe.
Another good information site is this one from the City of Toronto. Here you will find ferry schedules by season, brief histories and descriptions of the three distinct areas reached by separate ferries (in season), namely Hanlan's Point, Centre Island and Ward's Island. While reaching the Island in summer is very simple, with ferries running all the time, off-season things change quite a bit and it is always advised to check a current schedule before setting off for the ferry terminal.
This site, part of a larger Toronto information site, provides links to harbour cruises, history, facts and figures and to Centreville, the Island amusement park every kid should visit. And if you take the ferry to Centre Island in the summer you'll conclude that every kid does visit Centreville! I had three of the little monsters standing UNDER my tripod on one crossing. They were very sorry to keep bumping into it and ruining my shots.
This site is operated by the folks who, in my opinion, offer the best food and beverage stop on the islands. The summer experience at tables on the front lawn, looking south over Lake Ontario, is just so relaxing! The draft is cold, if you like that kind of thing and the limited menu is quite good. It can't be easy to run a restaurant of this calibre a boat ride from the city, but they do a terrific job - and I'm nothing more than a satisfied customer. I should acknowledge that their web site has promoted my DVD, for which I thank them.
Now available on DVD!