Toronto beaches

These are the Toronto beaches you don't want to swim at

Environmental Defence Canada just announced that a record 27 beaches and nine marinas across the country have been awarded Blue Flag status for 2018.

The prestigious certification, which recognizes excellent water quality, safety, amenities and environmental management, is said to represent the "gold standard" for beaches worldwide.

More than 4,000 beaches across the globe can fly Blue Flags this year, including nine of Toronto's finest: Bluffer's Park Beach, Centre Island Beach, Cherry Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan's Point Beach, Kew-Balmy Beach, Ward's Island Beach and Woodbine Beach.

Swimmers and boaters should feel confident venturing out into the water at any of these beaches, according to the Foundation for Environmental Education.

But what about the other beaches in Toronto? Which ones didn't make the cut? And why?

According to The City of Toronto, 11 different beaches exist within our borders.

This includes the nine beaches listed above, as well as Sunnyside Beach, Marie Curtis Park East Beach, and Rouge Beach. (Sugar Beach doesn't count.)

Sunnyside is beautiful, easy to get to, rich in history and boasts great vibes all summer long, but there's a reason it has a huge pool next to it.

This west-end boardwalk volleyball paradise has a bad reputation for water quality thanks to many years of sewer pipe runoff and its proximity to the Humber River.

The situation is said to be improving, but Sunnyside was flagged for dangerously high E. coli levels at least 29 times last summer so... stick to canoeing, if you're iffy. 

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Rouge Beach is a hike from downtown, almost all the way to Pickering, but it's more natural than most of what you'll see around here.

While excellent for kayaking and exploring nature, Rouge does struggle with water quality at times, likely thanks to how close it is to the mouth of the Rouge River. This beach had 13 potential E. Coli days in 2017, but that's not terrible out of 92 days total. 

Marie Curtis Park Beach is on the Toronto-Mississauga border, at the bottom of a residential street in the Long Branch area. The nearby nature trails and babbling creeks are dreamy, but once again, the water is not.

A sewage plant operates right next door to this one, so the smell could be enough to deter you outright. If not, check out the city's own swim safe website before you head out.

Marie Curtis Park Beach had 25 "swim at your own risk" days due to E. Coli in 2017 — too many for the coveted Blue Flag, I'm afraid.

Lead photo by

Metrix X


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