As we enter a hot summer, swimming in a beach is one the ways to relax and cool off. Fortunately, 8 of Toronto’s 11 swimming beaches and 2 of Ward 32 beaches have earned Blue Flags, making them a great choice for family fun and cooling down during the hot summer.
The Blue Flag program is a highly respected and internationally recognized eco-label for swimming beaches. An independent agency, Environmental Defence, operates the program in Canada and is responsible for monitoring 31 factors, including water quality, environmental management and education, safety and services. Blue Flags fly across the world, identifying beaches that meet the highest criteria for excellence.
Toronto’s swimming beaches are:
• Bluffer’s Beach (Blue Flag)
• Centre Island Beach (Blue Flag)
• Cherry Beach (Blue Flag)
• Gibraltar Point Beach (Blue Flag)
• Hanlan’s Point Beach (Blue Flag)
• Kew-Balmy Beach (Blue Flag)
• Marie Curtis Park Beach
• Rouge Beach
• Sunnyside Beach
• Ward’s Island Beach (Blue Flag)
• Woodbine Beaches (Blue Flag)
Toronto tests beach water quality daily at its 11 swimming beaches from June through to Labour Day. These samples are analyzed, using the most stringent testing standards in the world, to ensure Toronto’s beaches meet the highest water quality standards for swimming. If water tests show E. coli levels exceed the provincial guidelines of 100 E. coli per 100 ml of water, Toronto Public Health warns against swimming at the affected beach. Toronto’s Blue Flag beaches met the criteria for swimming, on average, 96 per cent of the time last summer.
- Daily water quality postings are available on the Beaches Hot line (416-392-7161), the web or via an iPhone App available at http://www.toronto.ca/beach.
- Visit http://app.toronto.ca/tpha/beaches.html for a map and additional information about the specific beaches.
The City’s Parks, Forestry and Recreation division operates and maintains all recreation-related beach facilities and amenities. This service includes regular beach grooming and care of washrooms and change rooms. Toronto Police Marine Unit provides lifeguard services and takes daily water samples. Beginning on June 16, lifeguards will be on duty at all beaches from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.