Flooded Toronto Islands leave wedding and event planners scrambling

Toronto Islands remains flooded out and that means unlucky brides and grooms will have to look elsewhere for the summer weddings.

Regular ferry service to Toronto Island cancelled until June 30

James Cutler and Meagan Cooper are scrambling to find a new venue after their Gibraltar Point wedding space was flooded. (Vedran Lesic/CBC News)

The picturesque ferry rides to the Toronto Islands this summer will have to wait. 

High water levels in Lake Ontario have forced the city to close regular ferry service until June 30. Sandbagging efforts are still in full force on parts of Ward's Island and Gibraltar Point. 

Overland flooding has also ruined the plans of at least half a dozen Toronto couples who were set to wed on the islands in the early summer. 

Meagan Cooper and James Cutler had their wedding set for June 24 at Artscape Gibraltar Point. Cooper said they chose the venue as their wedding location for the "Canadian atmosphere" — the lake, trees and greenery.

The Toronto couple said they're feeling the pressure as many wedding guests are flying in from overseas. (Vedran Lesic/CBC News)

"The island ended up being the perfect spot for us, really," he added.

But the perfection the couple envisioned was quickly quashed after April's floods washed out the venue's lawns. 

"That's where we were going to have the ceremony, where everyone would be eating and dancing," Cutler told CBC Toronto.

A spokesperson for Artscape refused to comment on how many wedding parties have been affected but said it is working with the couples involved to find a different space for their weddings. 

Couple forced to move wedding location due to flooding on Toronto Islands

6 years ago
Duration 1:55
Meagan Cooper and James Cutler were suppose to get married at Artscape Gibraltar Point at the end of June, but high water levels and flooding on the Islands have forced them to change their wedding venue.

With guests flying in from Mexico, Australia and England, Cutler admits he's feeling the pressure to find a new space in what was already a competitive market, where wedding venues are often booked up to a year in advance.

When something like this happens, it really brings to the forefront the fact that all of your family and friends are coming from so far away for your one special day- Meagan Cooper, Bride-to-be

But both the bride and groom-to-be are taking the ruined plans in stride as they hurry to find a new venue and "come hell or high water" — the wedding will go on, they say.

"The bottom line is, where [the wedding] happens, it's still going to be beautiful and special."

Event organizers set to lose thousands of dollars

Couples aren't the only ones hit by the costs of the aftermath of the island flooding as event organizers have been left scrambling to cover their losses. 

Michelle Cliffe, an organizer who specializes in Toronto Islands events, has already lost approximately $10,000 on cancelled weddings this summer. 

Michelle Cliffe, an event organizer said she stands to lose thousands of dollars after multiple wedding cancellations due to the flooding. (CBC News)

Cliffe said her losses could continue to mount depending on how long the flood cleanup goes on for, adding "if I lose all of my weddings to the end of June and into July, it's tens of thousands of dollars for me. It's a big impact, I'm a small business."

Charities that have long depended on a dry start to the summer are also feeling the pinch. 

Set Sail for Hope, an event that raises funds for children living with cancer traditionally held on Hanlan's Point also stands to lose revenue due to the floods.

It was originally set for June 23 and has now been re-scheduled for Sept. 8.

"The thought of losing $200,000 in revenue is very difficult," said Fiona Fisher, director of fundraising for Set Sail for Hope. 

"In 30 years, this has never happened."

Other events such as the Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival and Electric Island Music Festival have moved to Marilyn Bell Park and Woodbine Park, respectively.