beach in toronto

These Toronto beaches have the cleanest water for swimming this summer

Although it may not feel like it thanks to the ridiculously rainy and cold weather we've been seeing these past few weeks, summer is on its way — and that means Toronto's beaches will soon be open for swimming access.

But before heading out to one of the city's beautiful beaches in the coming months, it's important to know which locations have the cleanest water. 

Fortunately, Swim Drink Fish (the non-profit that's been operating the Blue Flag Canada awards since last year) just announced all the Canadian beaches and marinas that earned the prestigious Blue Flag certification this year, and eight Toronto beaches made the list.

"Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches and marinas that meet high environmental, safety, and cleanliness standards," reads the 2021 announcement. "This prestigious award is especially powerful this year as we go into our second summer during the COVID-19 pandemic when people again will be remaining close to home."

The eight Toronto beaches that have received Blue Flag certification are:

  1. Bluffer's Park Beach
  2. Centre Island Beach
  3. Cherry Beach
  4. Hanlan's Point Beach
  5. Kew-Balmy Beach
  6. Ward's Island Beach
  7. Woodbine Beach
  8. Gibraltar Point Beach

These beaches are among the 23 locations across Canada selected based on more than 35 different criteria, including but not limited to water quality, seaweed and vegetation, wildlife habitats and washrooms.

This year, in addition to the eight beaches, the first marina in Toronto has also been awarded the Blue Flag: the Royal Canadian Yacht Club.

"Our team at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club is very excited and proud to be part of the Blue Flag community, as contributors to the improvement and upkeep of one of our planet's most sacred resources, clean fresh water in our lakes and rivers," Jamie Keating, commodore for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, said in a statement.

Toronto beaches typically open to the public in June, and there's no word yet on whether Ontario's stay-at-home order will be extended past its current May 19 expiry date.

But even if the order does lift in time for beach season, it's safe to say residents will nonetheless be asked to visit locations close to home and to practice physical distancing while there.

Swim Drink Fish is also reminding swimmers that beach water quality is like the weather. It changes every day, so residents are always advised to check the city's water quality website, which will once again begin reporting daily water quality starting in June.

"A Blue Flag is recognized around the world as a symbol for accessible, sustainable beaches and marinas," Swim Drink Fish President Matt Mattson said in a statement. 

"With people staying close to home, people are looking for places to connect with the water. We are thrilled to highlight the best beaches and marinas Canada has to offer."

Lead photo by

Dominic Bugatto

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