It’s been a long time since my last post and I could make excuses, but I wont, instead I’ll just share something that I’ve been wanting to for a long time. Toronto beaches are swimmable!!!! Not only that, but they are a great place to swim. We are lucky enough to have the world renowned Blue Flag program to have recognized 8 TO beaches. The local beaches include: Bluffer’s Beach, Kew-Balmy Beach, Woodbine Beach, Cherry Beach, Ward’s Island Beach, Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach and Hanlan’s Point Beach.
This program is a world recognized program that rates beaches based on safety (good lifegurards), water quality (E. Coli levels) and environmental stewardship. The E. coli levels are monitored daily and if the levels are ever deemed unsafe a red flag is put up, but most often a green flag is up which means E. coli levels are low. From my understanding the levels are usually high after a large rain storm that causes runoff from the city to flow into the lake. In the past lots of pollution causing runoff caused Toronto beaches to be unsafe, but in the last few decades Toronto has spent millions to reduce direct runoff to our beaches.
My favorite beach to swim at, Cherry Beach, has had only been designated unsafe 3 days this summer. Today the E. coli measured 13ppm, well below the unacceptable level of 100 ppm. The city life guards are great, they are friendly and polite and keep an eye out for you while swimming. There is usually one of them out there in a life boat making sure that other boaters are aware that swimmers are out there and stay clear of the swimming area. Ayesha runs a weekly open water swim clinic on Saturday’s at 2pm out of Cherry Beach. The beach is relatively quiet and there is almost always lots of parking. Free parking is available right by the beach and if that’s full there are huge lots off Commissioner St. near the new soccer fields, $3 for 6 hrs. Even if it looks tempting don’t park illegally you’ll get a ticket for sure and especially don’t park on the grass, it’s a $105 ticket. You can even take the TTC there or ride your bike to this beach, both great options to driving.
It’s really a beautiful thing to take a short drive or bike to the beach and go for an open water swim right in your own backyard, surrounded by a beautiful beach with the familiar Toronto Skyline in the background. Come out and enjoy the beaches and you’ll help show that they are import to Torontonians and help them to continue to get even better.