Frequently Asked Questions about Aquatic Park Sailing Club

apsc_mooringsQ:  What is it like to use mooring balls?

Landing a sailboat on a mooring ball and departing from a mooring ball is easier than landing on a dock and departing from a dock. While you do have to row out in a dinghy or motor out in a motorized inflatable to get on your boat, that trip is often enjoyable, relaxing and (if you are rowing) a good work out.  When arriving at your mooring ball on your sailboat, you always head into the wind.  This makes it a slow and controlled approach.  One problem with docks is that the direction of the wind is often unfavourable for the purposes of docking or departing.  On a mooring ball, you don’t have that problem.  It is also very easy to raise your sails right on your mooring ball when you depart – because the boat is always facing into the wind.  It is a very forgiving experience.  It is much less stressful than the experience of being blown around as one departs from or arrives at a dock and the concern of crashing into a neighbouring boat is not there.

If you need a dock (for example to pick up guests or to work on your boat), the club has a dock with a number of slips available on an as needed basis.  We keep the face of the main dock open for dropping off and picking up passengers.

Q:  How does a sailing club operate in a wilderness park?

Aquatic Park is located within Tommy Thompson Park.  As such, it is home to a large number of bird species and animal species.  We feel privileged to have our club within a beautiful park, home to numerous species of birds and other animals on the edge of downtown Toronto. We try to ensure that the club’s impact on the wildlife is minimized and we view ourselves as unofficial Park stewards. We share the parking lot at our clubhouse with the Tommy Thompson Bird Research Station. As the Club is located within the Tommy Thompson Park, we require all guests and members to keep their pets on a leash while utilizing the clubhouse area. Some visitors are uneasy with birds and wild life. However, at APSC we call it nature and our members and guests have the benefit of a urban wilderness Sailing Club in the heart of downtown Toronto.  We are thrilled to share our mooring cove with herons, swallows, swans, beavers and other creatures.  It is one of the things that makes APSC unique.

Q:  How can I access the club on week-ends?

As the Aquatic Park Sailing Club is located within the Tommy Thompson Park we cooperate with the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation and Toronto Regional Conservation Authority to facilitate the general public’s use of the Park. As weekends and holidays bring large numbers of nature lovers to the park, we restrict motorized access between 9:00 am – 6:00pm on weekends and holidays. The Aquatic Park Sailing Club operates a member operated golf cart shuttle service exclusively for members and guests that provides hourly transportation to and from the main parking lot at the Park entrance  directly to the APSC Clubhouse, a distance of approximately 2 kms. Sit back, relax, enjoy the view, and let us do the driving for you.

Q:  What Facilities are available?

Being an urban wilderness sailing club in the heart of Toronto is something of a challenging concept. Being nature lovers, we embrace the solitude the club’s natural setting provides. However, we also enjoy our comforts as well. We primarily power our clubhouse with solar power and also have a backup diesel generator for the times we have increased power needs: social events and parties.

With no monthly bar and restaurant fees, Aquatic Park reduces costs and enables you to save.  Our urban wilderness clubhouse (solar powered) has a self service (fully stocked) kitchen area and lounge area (with fireplace). We also have an awning covered deck area that has three propane barbecues and picnic tables and deck chairs.  From the deck area, members can enjoy our sandy beach and  the lovely view of our fleet bobbing at their mooring balls across our sheltered cove.  In addition to our water side clubhouse we also have motor and gas storage sheds, an oar house, a secure/locked dinghy compound, and our communal docks – so you can get out on the water quickly and enjoy sailing. In addition, we have our popular fire pit area, where members and guests are able to  relax in the evening with a  roaring fire, enjoying  a typically wilderness experience – just minutes from the city.

Q:  Don’t you need shore power for your boat batteries?

Solar power technology has come a long way.  Most of our members are self-reliant through the use of solar panels on their boats.   APSC members take pride in being able to fulfill their power needs by use of renewable, clean energy.

Q:  Where do Aquatic Park boaters keep their boats in winter?

Many APSC members with boats less than 27’ winter at local sailing clubs close by at Cherry Beach.  Club members with larger boats use the services of various Port Lands area boatyards and marinas.  The Club has made efforts to secure our own storage yard in the Port Lands area to provide a low-cost winter storage solution for members.  To date, however, the Club has found that the aforementioned options provide lower cost winter storage than could be provided by an in-house storage yard.

Q:  How do I get to my boat on an Aquatic Park mooring ball?

Aquatic Park members use two methods:  (i)  rowing out in a dinghy; and (ii) motoring out in a motorized inflatable dinghy.  The Club has a dinghy compound and oar shed on shore and a launch ramp for those who row.  The Club also has dedicated dock space for those with motorized dinghies.

IMG_0322Q:  Does Aquatic Park have a racing programme?

Yes.  We have an active race program.  Races are held Wednesday evenings throughout the sailing season and occasionally on weekends.

Q:  What does it cost to join Aquatic Park Sailing Club?

Very little compared to most GTA sailing clubs and yacht clubs.  We feel that Aquatic Park provides excellent value for money.  Members occupy an idyllic, wooded cove, spitting distance from Toronto’s Inner Harbour and mere minutes from the open waters of Lake Ontario.  At Aquatic Park, you truly do get a Muskoka like experience right in the City of Toronto for less than what you would pay for gas to regularly drive to cottage country over a summer season.

Details of the initiation fee, annual mooring fee and work hours can be found on the Membership Fees Page.
At Aquatic Park, we feel that sailing should be accessible and not just for the rich.  The Club’s mandate is to enable Torontonians to access Toronto’s crown jewel (Lake Ontario) affordably.