Magnet fishing has exploded in popularity in recent years as an exciting hobby that can yield real treasures. It involves using a powerful magnet attached to a rope to scan waterways, pulling up all kinds of sunken metal objects. As a dense urban area filled with waterways, Toronto offers incredible potential for new magnet fishers. This local guide will provide everything you need to know as a “newb” getting started magnet fishing around Toronto—the basic gear, regulations to know, some promising spots to explore, and an idea of what types of mysteries and surprises might be dredged up from below the surface! Whether you’re a Toronto local or visitor, magnet fishing is a unique way to explore the city.

Getting Started with Magnet Fishing 

Choosing a Magnet

The most important piece of gear for magnet fishing is selecting the right magnet. As a beginner, you’ll want an entry-level magnet in the 200–400-pound pull strength range. Strong neodymium or ceramic block magnets connect to ropes or cords securely. Don’t go over 500 pounds as a rookie, since handling very powerful magnets takes experience.

Strength

Heavier magnet pulls allow you to dredge items from deeper waters. But start conservatively in the 200–400 lb range until you get the hang of control and safety.

Connecting Rope

Many magnet fishing kits come with a rope included. For assembling your own gear, use at least 3/8″ braided nylon or climbing rope up to 100 feet in length. This gives ample slack for scanning underwater. Attach the rope tightly and securely to the eyebolt or connection point on the magnet.

Additional Equipment

Gloves

Protect your hands with waterproof gloves when handling the magnet, rope, and any sharp retrieved items. Cheap gardening gloves work well.

Waders/Boots

Neoprene waterproof waders and rubber boots help when accessing the water’s edge or entering the shoreline shallows. These range from affordable to very expensive for anglers and hunters.

Containers

Have sturdy buckets or bins onshore to safely drop any retrieved metal objects as you scan with the magnet. Don’t leave anything hazardous unattended.

Safety Precautions

Carefully research location depth, hazards, and legal access before magnet fishing. Always magnet fish with a partner, let someone know your plans and location, wear a life jacket near deep water, and avoid areas with potentially live munitions.

Best Spots for Beginners in Toronto 

Harbors and Marinas

Toronto’s harbors and marinas see heavy boat traffic and usage over time. This results in all sorts of metal dropping to the bottom: tools, equipment, various mechanical boat parts, and more. Two top spots are Harbourfront Centre and Ontario Place Marinas. Check publicly accessible docks in these areas. Concentrate along seawalls or take a careful wade into adjacent shallows.

Don River

In pursuit of industrial waste, the Don River offers substantial magnet fishing, especially downstream of the busy Eastern Avenue and Dundas Street bridges. Here, the shallow, meandering waters have received all sorts of metallic debris over decades. Focus efforts along shoreline parks and public trails all the way down past Corktown Commons.

Humber River

The Humber River offers similar debris-filled shallows to scan from its downtown bridges past Baby Point and towards Lake Ontario. Etienne Brule Park, East Point Park, and Humber Bay Park encompass excellent rookie magnet fishing zones where Toronto’s west-end densities wash urban runoff into the winding waters.

Lake Ontario shorelines

The scale of the shoreline along Lake Ontario means countless stretches to discover metal treasures, especially after heavy rainstorms. Target river mouths and outlets along the waterfront trail from Etobicoke down to the Beaches. Bluffer’s Park Beach, Sir Casimir Gzowski Park, and Sunnyside Park contain beach areas worth scanning inch-by-inch with your rookie magnet.

Urban Parks

Beyond Toronto’s waterside parks already mentioned, pretty much any public park presents opportunities to discover what lies below the surface! Even small community parks see all sorts of metallic waste accumulate in their ponds, fountains, and water features over time, so don’t overlook green spaces in your own neighborhood.

What You Can Find Magnet Fishing

Valuables

While stumbling upon treasure chests overflowing with pirate booty is highly unlikely, magnet fishers do occasionally dredge up watches, wallets, smartphones, jewelry, cash, and other valuables apparently lost overboard or discarded into the water. Through magnet fishing for sunken valuables, there are news stories involving returned wallets, rings, and necklaces tracked back to their stunned owners from clues on recovered IDs, engravings, or markings. So there’s always a chance, however slim, of scoring something precious through magnet fishing; if nothing else, the fun is priceless.

Interesting Tidbits

Far more common than actual lost “valuables,” magnet fishing yields all manner of mundane metallic curiosities that provide entertainment. Frequently dredged bits range from scrap metal debris and rusted tools to amusement park ride components and mangled bicycle frames encrusted in micro-ecosystems after seasons underwater. You never know what castoff remnants of civilizations past might materialize from the muddy depths until you scan a promising spot and haul up a surprise conversation piece from years gone by.

Historical Relics

While not pirate doubloons or ancient artifacts, magnet fishing occasionally turns up objects of personal historical significance in the waterways. Old padlocks, dog tags, military insignia, automotive items, and other vintage metallic pieces shed light on bygone eras of a location. Magnet-retrieved items often have historical associations for neighborhoods or cities. Through this lens, even weathered old horseshoes, stove pieces, and aged cutlery fished from the drink tell fading stories of times past.

Local Laws and Regulations 

While magnet fishing itself remains perfectly legal, various laws still apply surrounding activities adjacent to the hobby. Primarily, ensure you have permission and authorization before accessing any private lands abutting Toronto’s waterways. Certain public park closing hours also apply. And restrictions exist around interacting with retrieved weapons, environmental hazards requiring special disposal, and selling historic artifacts deemed to have cultural value. Always contact authorities if you find anything highly suspicious or dangerous during your magnet fishing forays. Otherwise, just remember reasonable etiquette when accessing public shorelines or bridges: be considerate, carry out all trash, don’t disturb wildlife habitats, and follow posted rules.

Magnet fishing opens up Toronto’s waters to thrilling possibilities. As a beginner, focus on safe setup, promising novice locations, and embracing the spirit of adventure as you scan the depths. Whether seeking treasures or simply an offbeat hobby, magnet fishing delivers surface surprises and submerged stories to create uniquely personal city exploration. Let the hunt begin!

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