I'm often asked the following questions about emergencies on the Island:
We are lucky to have a fire station on the Island. It not only serves the community, but other areas in the Toronto Island Park where our community sits, including an amusement park, restaurants, bike rentals, souvenir shops, etc. The station has two trucks, one big, one small. The small truck is for us. Our streets (sidewalks, really) are so narrow, a regular-size truck couldn’t get through.
Unfortunately, several houses in the past have burned to the ground (no casualties). Naturally, we’re all worried about fires and our community’s Emergency Response Group works closely with the fire department.
When I first moved to the Island umpteen years ago, a doctor lived a block away. At all hours of the day, and night, he was inundated with phone calls and unexpected visits from Islanders, worried about their kids’ stuffy noses, sore throats, and flu-like symptoms. You won’t be surprised when I tell you that he doesn’t live here any longer.
So, what DO we do if we’re seriously sick, have broken legs or have a heart attack? For non-emergencies, we have a wonderful nurse who makes house calls with consoling words and good advice when we can’t get out of bed. He keeps wheelchairs, crutches and electric scooters on his property to lend, when needed.
For more serious ailments, we call 911, like everyone else, but the service we get is unusual. There is an EMS vehicle and crew on the Island that can provide basic medical care (oxygen for an asthma attack, for example), but if we need to go to hospital (in a rush), the fire truck picks us up and takes us to the ferry dock where the Harbour Police (stationed cityside at Harbourfront) are ready with their emergency boat to take us to the city. Their boat speeds across the bay to the city, where an ambulance is waiting to take us to hospital. No matter what time of day. If the ice is frozen, an ice-cutting boat is employed to bring us to the city in place of the police boat. Surprisingly, it all works!
And what about those soon-to-be mothers? Most stay with family or friends around their due date. Unless they want home births, of course!
There’s little day-to-day crime on the Island. There are rare cases of people coming from the city and breaking into houses, but it hasn’t happened in years. In the summer, young people from often come to the Island to party, sleep on the beach, and generally have a rousing time. They can get drunk, rowdy and oftentimes aggressive. During those months, the police have a strong presence on the Island, often issuing tickets to the drunk and disorderly. We’re glad to have this service.