cherry beach toronto

Locals worry Cherry Beach will be ruined if Toronto brings in water taxis

Waterfront Toronto is currently working on a massive updated strategy to improve the city's bustling waterfront, including by expanding the use of water taxis, installing way more mooring locations, and potentially introducing a sea bus system

In order to accommodate more people and address transportation needs as Toronto's population continues to grow bigger and bigger, the 2020 Marine Use Strategy report focuses on three key areas of concern which will eventually guide the final design of the plan: Management (who does what?), Mooring (where do the boats go?) and Movement (how do we get around on and over the water?). 

But some residents are expressing concerns that introducing too many motorized vehicles and mooring locations could put the city's favourite swimming spot in jeopardy of becoming unsafe and unswimmable: Cherry Beach.

"It's a very small area that's been demarcated for swimming as it is and the hope was that we'd actually expand that area, particularly since the pandemic and the popularity of swimming at Cherry Beach has exploded," Silvie Kuppek, an avid Cherry Beach swimmer, told blogTO.

"All the non-motorized sports are really concerned too because we can all share the beach easily, but if you start bringing in motorized crafts, that's a very different thing."

Kuppek said she's particularly concerned about three proposed mooring sites that would bring water taxis directly into Cherry Beach and make swimming, paddle-boarding, kayaking and more significantly less safe. 

Rather than be diminshed and restricted, Kuppek said she instead wants to see the swimming area at Cherry Beach expanded since it's incredibly clean, safe and rarely exceeds E. coli levels. 

This summer in particular has seen an increase of swimmers at the beach as a result of the pandemic, and Kuppek said she and other fellow experienced swimmers have been so glad to see more people appreciate and make use of it. 

Kuppek even went for a swim earlier today (in 7.5 C water), and she wasn't the only one. 

"We're in awe of the work that Waterfront Toronto has done and the proposal they've put together, we just want to ensure that the many many stakeholders at Cherry Beach are included in the process," she said.

And Waterfront Toronto does say this is one of their main priorities.

"The Marine Use Strategy Update is a multi-faceted document. It is meant to be aspirational — to provide a roadmap to creating a more animated and accessible waterfront city — but also practical, and remind us of the need to maintain what we have today," reads a presentation from a recent Public Information Centre (PIC) session on the strategy.

"And whether dealing with our past, present, or future, the Marine Use Strategy is meant to improve the ways in which we make decisions — big and small — that shape and improve our relationship to Lake Ontario, and to include diverse and representative stakeholder voices in that decision-making process."

But Kuppek said a survey that has been open to the public since Oct. 26 (and closes today) is far from accessible, as it requires anyone that takes it to read through the extremely complex report. 

That's why she and a number of other frequent Cherry Beach swimmers have formed a group, along with some of the non-motorized sports fans, to ask that the survey be extended and altered, and that the plan for motorized vehicles near Cherry Beach be modified. 

She said they've reached out to all three levels of government as well as Waterfront TO, and they're now waiting for a response.

"We're hopeful. We don't think that they don't want to hear from us," she said. "We're quite confident that if we can get in front of them and show them all the ways this area is being used and what the impact of the proposal would be, they would understand."

In the meantime, Kuppek wants anyone in Toronto who may not be familiar with the spot to know just how special Cherry Beach truly is.

"In this multi-million-person city, there is a place downtown, easily accessible, where you can feel like you're in the midst of nature," she said. 

"There's a beautiful vibe to it. The beach is used by the beautiful rainbow that is Toronto — people from every walk of life doing all kinds of activities. And we really need to treasure that and protect that and build on it, not diminish it."

Lead photo by

George Hornaday

Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in City

Enormous bridge will carry new subway line across Toronto's most scenic valley

Ontario's record-breaking $6.4B border bridge just feet away from huge milestone

Toronto will soon open a cool new bridge with an industrial-chic look

50 essential buildings in Toronto you need to know

An invasive moth is turning trees in Toronto brown

Work has started on 'missing link' tunnel connecting two Toronto transit stations

Here's why a fancy new Toronto bridge leads literally nowhere

People keep thinking they've seen deadly 'murder hornets' in Ontario