Swim Guide Toronto App

New app locates clean beaches in the GTA (and beyond)

A recently released mobile app and website created by Toronto-based charity Lake Ontario Water Keeper is an excellent little resource for city-dwellers looking to get some beach time in this summer. Called Swim Guide, along with descriptions of the major public beaches in Toronto, it includes listings for an additional 800 beaches throughout the Great Lakes region (along with a few in B.C.).

While I'm unlikely to find myself scoping out the beach scene in Kakabeka Falls (near Thunder Bay), the app does a good job of helping to find swim-friendly locations for day-trips in or out of the city via its Google maps and directions integration and written descriptions of each beach (some also include unique photographs).

Perhaps the best part, at least from a local perspective, is the colour-coded system that reports on water quality. Although this information can be sourced elsewhere, having it all in once place on a map just makes sense — as does the ability to submit feedback about pollution levels via an email function that's built into the app. It also doesn't hurt that Swim Guide is free.

As far as areas for improvement are concerned, the app did once in a while struggle to find my location, but would always come around after I relaunched it. Although only released for Apple devices right now, an Android version is set to be released soon and a Blackberry version should come along later this summer. The website itself does share much of the app's functionality, however, so that's an option in the interim.

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