Ahoy! Oh boy, did the boys love this. This summer Pirate Life, the family-friendly interactive theatrical boat cruise, took to the Toronto seas. We finally joined them for a trip through the Toronto Islands on a misty and busy end of summer morning.
The adventure begins as soon as you arrive at the X. There you’ll you meet an enthusiastic and welcoming crew of pirates. Kids and adults in TOw are given pirate names, attire and some pirate-inspired tattoos and scars à la Captain Hook, Jack Sparrow or Jake the Pirate (whatever your sea cruisin’ style.) The kids can play some fun pirate games before climbing aboard the Island Rogue, a redesigned vessel that looks and feels like a pirate ship. It’s sturdy and safe, making for a slow and smooth ride through the islands.
The performance is extremely interactive and engaging. Even if you have a shy one in TOw, there is lots of room to hang back and just watch the story unfold or simply take in the gorgeous views of the Islands and the Toronto skyline.
The tale is definitely more fun and funny than frightening but you may want to prep your little guys before the experience. The pirates are pretty authentic and there are some good guy vs. bad guy sword fighting that terrified a few little pirates on our voyage. The water cannon shooting helped ease the tension.
You can still join them this Fall on weekends. During the week, groups and parties can reserve their trip.
Getting there: Pirate Life launches from Centre Island on the south side of the bridge that leads you from Centreville to the beach. The ferry crossing (you can buy your ferry tickets online) is less than 15 minutes and the walk from the dock to Pirate Life is about 10 minutes. You can park strollers and bikes on land in the crew area (someone from Pirate Life is always there.) Or if there is space, you can bring belongings and strollers aboard.
Low-down: Currently the cost is $22 per passenger (adult and child.) Two-and-under are free. You can buy your tickets online (and email/call to reserve your selected performance.) You can also just show up, although your spots obviously can’t be guaranteed. There are three pirates on the ship and up to 33 passengers. The whole experience is about 1.5 hours (approximately 30 minutes on shore and one hour on ship.) I strongly suggest arriving early to enjoy the the process of getting your costumes, chatting with the crew and playing some games. The William Meany Maze (hedge maze) is right beside it if you arrive extra early.
Snacks: Food is allowed on the ship but you’ll probably be too busy participating to get to it.
Potty time: No washrooms on board. There are public washrooms nearby – go pee before you set sail.
In the hood: There is a lot to do on Centre Island. Franklin’s Garden and the tree maze are nearby, as well as Centreville. Plan to picnic there next to the playground, splash pad, beach or in one of the shaded picnic areas.