Category Archives: Toronto Beaches

Toronto beaches unsafe to swim

City water tests reveal four city beaches temporarily contain too much E.coli
Sunnyside, Woodbine, Balmy, Bluffer’s beaches are risky for swims today: city
By Kris Scheuer

Swimmer dives in at Woodbine Beach. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

The good news is Cherry Beach is totally safe for a splashing in, according to the July 24 test results by the water department.
Unfortunately, that is the only Toronto beach with safe levels of E.coli posted today.
The city recommends against swimming at Sunnyside, Woodbine, Kew-Balmy and Bluffer’s due to high levels of E.coli detected in beach water.
So Torontonians and visitors, would you swim at any of the city’s beaches?
Have your say, are our beaches swim worthy or not? Continue reading

Toronto beach water tests during strike

City indicates five beaches safe for swims today
Water tests conducted at only 5 of 11 beaches due to labour unrest
By Kris Scheuer

It’s officially one month into summer and 31 days into a city-wide strike.
But all is not lost for residents and tourists looking for a dip, in a somewhat cool Toronto summer season. That’s because the city is testing the water quality Monday through Friday at the following five swimming beaches: Sunnyside, Cherry , Woodbine, Kew-Balmy and Bluffer’s Park.
The latest results, from tests yesterday, indicate these five beaches are safe for swimming.
However, since the strike began June 22 there’s been no E.coli water tests at six other beaches. So it’s swim at your own risk at those half a dozen locations: Rouge, Marie Curtis Park East, Hanlan’s Point, Gibraltar Point, Centre Island and Ward’s Islands.
For regular updates, check the city’s site. Continue reading

Strike suspends water tests for Toronto islands

City temporarily stops E.coli testing at four isle beaches

By Kris Scheuer
It’s swim at your own risk on the Toronto Islands at all four designated beaches at Hanlan’s Point, Gibraltar Point, Centre Island and Ward’s Island. Interestingly, Hanlan’s Point is a nude beach so for swimmers going without a bathing suit during the strike keep in mind there’s no city testing for E.coli levels in the water at this time.
Normally, the city does daily water tests at eleven designated city beaches including these four on the islands. But due to the strike that began June 22, water testing was suspended.
That is still the case on July 4, day 13 of the strike for the four island beaches plus two on the mainland at in the city’s east end at Rouge Beach, Marie Curtis Park East.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the beaches are polluted. In fact all four island beaches normally flap a Blue Flag, which is an international rating with 27 strict criteria. Continue reading

Sunnyside swimmable despite strike

Latest city water testing shows its safe for swim

By Kris Scheuer

The city was not doing daily water testing at the 11 designated swim spots during the strike. It has now resumed testing for E.coli levels, but twice a week only, at five beaches and Sunnyside is one of them. The city started a $1 million pilot project to install a “curtain” to make a section of this popular west end beach more swimmable. Pollution from the Humber River has made this beach one of the most polluted.
On July 4, the city’s most up-to-date posting of June 29 states it is safe for swimming. Check for updates on the city site.
Back on June 18, before the city strike began, I did a story for the Town Crier on local councillor Bill Saundercook jumping in the lake at Sunnyside with his wedding suit on. See the story here.

Woodbine water tests resume during strike

City conducts E.coli tests at five beaches
By Kris Scheuer
(July 22 update here)

Good news for beach dwellers in Toronto. The city has implemented modified water testing at five designated swim spots.
The city will test water for E.coli levels twice a week at the following beaches: Sunnyside, Cherry, Woodbine, Kew-Balmy and Bluffer’s Park.
This level of testing meets the protocol requirements for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, according to the city’s website.
Twice weekly, the site is updated so people can see where it’s safe for swimming.
Another six beaches  Rouge, Marie Curtis Park East, Hanlan’s Point, Gibraltar Point, Centre Island, and Ward’s Island have gotten no water testing at all since the strike began June 22. Here it is swim at your own risk, states the city, but there are lifeguards for safety reasons.
When I checked July 4, the latest city update was posted on June 30 and reflected E.coli levels for June 29.
For results see below.
Red means unsafe to swim, green safe to swim and yellow means no city water testing so swim at your own risk.
If you click on any of the beaches below, it will open a map of that swimming spot.

Not tested 1. Marie Curtis Park East Beach Don not swim 7. Cherry Beach
Swim 2. Sunnyside Beach Swim 8. Woodbine Beaches
Not tested 3. Hanlan’s Point Beach Swim 9. Kew – Balmy Beach
Not tested 4. Gibraltar Point Beach Swim 10. Bluffer’s Park Beach
Not tested 5. Centre Island Beach Not tested 11. Rouge Beach
Not tested 6. Ward’s Island Beach


Toronto strike impacts beach water

Blue flags taken down from city’s seven cleanest beaches
By Kris Scheuer

The city’s beaches are open to help beat the summer heat. But beware: water testing has been suspended as a result of the city strike. 
“We are not testing water at the beaches,” Lisa Tjoeng, a City of Toronto spokesperson, confirmed June 23. “They can swim at their own risk.”
There are lifeguards on duty at the beaches, she said. 
On June 10, the city officially opened 11 designated beaches for the season, including seven with international Blue Flag ratings.
The seven Blue Flag beaches are: Kew-Balmy, Cherry, Woodbine, Hanlan’s Point, Gibraltar, Centre Island, Ward’s Island.
But those flags will not be flapping during the strike because some key criteria is not being met, according to Environmental Defence, which monitors the Blue Flag program in Canada. 
“Blue Flag certification requires that, amongst other criteria, washroom facilities are available on beaches, garbage is picked up frequently and water quality tests are conducted at least weekly,” states a June 23 press release from Environmental Defence. “Currently, beach water quality testing is not being performed, public washrooms are locked and garbage removal is reduced.”
The labour disruption that began at midnight the morning of June 22 impacts not just water testing at beaches, but also daycare, summer camps, garbage pick-up and pools run by city workers. 
For more information on what is and is not open during the strike visit http://www.toronto.ca/labour-relations/index.htm.
(Originally published online June 24 at http://www.mytowncrier.ca)

Swimming at Sunnyside

By Kris Scheuer

The city’s diving head first into a pilot project to make Sunnyside Beach more swimmable.

Some Torontonians have no problem swimming at our beaches. File photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

In the past poor water quality has forced the city to issue warnings against swimming at Sunnyside, keeping the beach closed. Between 2005 and 2008, the local hot spot was only open for swimming between 31 and 65 percent of the season.
But it could soon be smoother sailing for the popular beach as the city has allocated $1 million to install a curtain to keep pollution from the Humber River away from a swimming section of the beach.
“The goal is to be swimming by mid to late June,” said Parkdale-High Park councillor Bill Saundercook. “So I intend to jump in that lake as soon as I get the green light to make a splash in more ways than one.
“This is a good expenditure to get citizens of Toronto to be swimming in front of Sunnyside Beach.” 
Sunnyside resident Mark Ellwood is cautiously willing to extend a toe to test the waters, but not quite committed to taking the plunge.   Continue reading