Tag Archives: Swimming

How swimmable are Toronto beaches?

The city tested eleven beaches daily in swim season
Here is a wrap up of how clean the water was summer ’09
Some beaches safe daily, others posted high levels of E.coli
By Kris Scheuer

BW Saundercook2.jpg

Councillor Bill Saundercook swims at Sunnyside in mid-June with his wedding suit on to promote how safe it is. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

It’s a little chilly for a dive in the lake at any of Toronto’s beaches now, but these hot spots are packed all summer.
Interestingly, most people go down for a stroll on the boardwalk or walk their dog, but not for a swim in the water.
But our beaches are top notch, in most cases. In fact seven of them fly a Blue Flag, which is an international rating.
And the city tests beach water daily from June 1 to the first week of September.
So just how well did Toronto’s 11 beaches stack up this season?
Take a look for yourself.
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.

Would you swim at Sunnyside Beach?

Councillor Bill Saundercook dives in at Sunnyside Beach
Will a pilot project to clean up the water tempt you to swim?
By Kris Scheuer

Councillor Bill Saundercook swims at Sunnyside with his wedding suit on in mid-June. Photo by Francis Crescia/Town Crier.

Following through on a promise made to me, Parkdale-High Park councillor Bill Saundercook took a dive into Lake Ontario off Sunnyside Beach.
As for his choice of swimming attire, the ward 13 rep decided to wear the same suit he wore at his wedding almost 30 years ago.
He dove in June 18 to promote the fact the city’s spending $1 million on a pilot project to make a section of the beach more swimmable and ward off pollution from the Humber River.

(Written June 18/09 BEFORE the city strike that started June 22, which suspended daily beach water testing. This story was originally posted June 29 at http://www.mytowncrier.ca)

Toronto strike impact

How is the strike affecting you?
By Kris Scheuer
It’s day six of the strike and garbage is piling up in the streets, city waste transfer stations and 19 temporary dumps located near parks such as Christie Pits and beaches like Sunnyside.
Parents are having to find alternative arrangements as all city-run daycare is shut down.
City-run camps and recreation programs and community centres are a not open. And there’s no water testing at Toronto’s 11-designated beaches.
Check out the city’s website to see a full list of services affected by this labour disruption. Then tell me what service has impacted you the most since the strike began June 22?
As well, for articles on how this situation is playing out in TO’s communities please check out online coverage at the paper I work for the Town Crier.

Seven school pools saved

Trustee Josh Matlow.Town Crier file photo.
But seven more go down the drain

By Kris Scheuer
Seven pools have been taken off the critical list, while another seven will be drained for good.
The Toronto District School Board voted June 24 to save pools at George S. Henry Academy, Forest Hill, Rosedale Heights SS, Humberside, North Toronto, Malvern and West Toronto CIs.
Board staff had recommended saving four on that list but trustees added an additional three in a vote around 11:20 p.m. 
“It was literally an eleventh hour decision,” said St. Paul’s trustee Josh Matlow the following morning. 
However, Danfoth, Oakwood, Parkdale CIs, Bickford Centre, Central Commerce, Bloor CI and Western Tech (Ursula Franklin site) weren’t so lucky as their pools got the axe. Continue reading

Fate of school pools in limbo

Closures to come after June 24 school board meeting
By Kris Scheuer
Four school pools have been thrown a lifeline. And 13 are safe. Sixteen others are on the critical list. Another seven have been pronounced dead. 
That’s the picture being painted by a Toronto District School Board report released today. School trustees will decide the fate of the 40 pools tonight at a board meeting.

LIFELINE
Four pools recommended to be added to safe list:
North Toronto CI
Malvern CI
West Toronto CI
George S. Henry Academy
SAFE
13 pools the board voted to save back in April:
Allenby PS
AY Jackson SS
Deer Park PS
Glenview PS
Harbord CI
Keele PS
Lawrence Park CI
Newtonbrook SS
Northern SS
RH King Academy
Riverdale CI
Stephen Leacock CI and 
Westview Centennial SS
Continue reading

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