Toronto beaches water quality app

City of Toronto releases beaches water quality app

Sometimes the most useful apps are also the most simple. Such is the case with Toronto Public Health's recently released iPhone app that provides water quality ratings for beaches around town. Presented as a list or in map form, Toronto's supervised beaches — i.e. those that are staffed by lifeguards — are given either a green or red label based on daily E. coli tests. For those who want more specific information than just the pass/fail rating, the actual levels of bacteria are also listed on both a daily and historical basis, the latter of which provides a good indication of the overall cleanliness of a given beach.

Although not as comprehensive as Swim Guide, a similarly-themed app that came out earlier this year, what Toronto Beaches Water Quality lacks in features it makes up for in speed and ease of use. Because Swim Guide lists hundreds of beaches around the Great Lakes, the addition of a brief description and directions to each location is welcome. Given, on the other hand, the greater familiarity I have with those beaches located in Toronto, I don't require this information. I just want to know if it's safe to swim — which is exactly what the app tells me.

If there's a gripe to made here, it's simply that it would have been nice to have this app at the beginning of the season. But, given that Lake Ontario doesn't really warm up until August anyway, I guess there's not much point in complaining. Toronto Beaches Water Quality is currently only available as an iPhone app, but those with other devices can source the same information from the City of Toronto website, albeit in a different format.

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