swim guide toronto

Someone is placing water temperature sensors in Lake Ontario near Toronto's beaches

There are a few reasons why someone may not want to go swimming in Lake Ontario, but there's about to be one less.

To say Steve Hulford is an avid swimmer would be an understatement. Last year alone, he swam over 200km in Lake Ontario from Mimico to Bluffers. 

Knowing that the temperature of Lake Ontario could be extremely fickle due to how the lake rolls over, Hulford wanted to find a way to more accurately measure the lake's temperature than what was previously available online.

Typically the temperature of Lake Ontario was measured by lifeguards using thermometers on the edge of the water which doesn't reflect how cold it can be further in.

Together with the help of a team that spans three continents, and assistance from the City of Toronto, Hulford is putting sensors on buoys throughout the lake that measure the water temperature every 30 minutes.

The information can then be found via the Swim Guide mobile app which tracks water quality in over 3,000 beaches around the world with 10 City of Toronto beaches being added by early June.

"I have learned a lot about our lake, and the fact is it's complicated,"Hulford told blogTO. "It is better than it has been in decades (from a swimmers perspective)  and there is so many good things happening to improve our water."

While currently the sensors only measure temperature, Hulford says this is just the beginning with the system being built to handle other sensors that can measure PH, dissolved oxygen and even E. coli in the future.

While Lake Ontario may never be seen as the home of a top tier beach compared to the beaches that surround Lake Huron such as Wasaga or Sauble, it's refreshing to see that someone is working to bridge the gap.

Lead photo by

Steve Hulford


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