The Hanlan family was among the first year-round inhabitants on Toronto Islands, settling at Gibraltar Point in 1862. After the islands were transferred from the federal government to the City of Toronto in 1867, Plan D-141 divided the land into lots and allowed cottages, amusement areas and resort hotels to be built. The west side of the island, commonly known as West Point, rapidly became a resort destination for the citizens of Toronto. The first summer cottage community was founded here. In 1878, a hotel was built by John Hanlan at the north-west tip of the island and soon after the area became known as Hanlan's Point.
There are 2.48 km from Hanlan's Point Ferry Dock to the Island Filtration Plant.