cobourg beach

A popular beach in Ontario is reopening but visitors from Toronto are not welcome

A popular beach near Toronto will finally open this month but don’t plan a day trip just yet.

The town of Cobourg has decided open the beach but only on weekdays in an effort to prevent “mass tourism” from destroying COVID-19 social distancing protocols.

Like other beach towns near Toronto such as Sauble Beach and Wasaga Beach, Cobourg has struggled with the decision to keep the beach closed out of fear of overcrowding during the pandemic.

Sauble Beach closed before Canada Day after handing out more than 250 bylaw infractions to June beach-goers. The beach reopened in July with strict rules. Wasaga Beach also struggled with rule-breakers this summer. The beach later reopened with pods to control crowds.

Cobourg toyed with the idea of opening in July with an online booking system, but the town scrapped that idea.

With summer coming to a close and the beach still fenced in, the issue was once again debated at Cobourg council.

The popularity of the beach to visitors — yes that includes Torontonians — had some Cobourg residents opting for a continued closure.

"I do understand how everybody loves our beach…I mean we wouldn’t be debating this again and again all summer if it wasn’t such an important issue," Cobourg Councillor Adam Bureau said at the meeting.

He argued kids won’t be returning to school like other years and many people are unemployed so opening on weekdays could still bring huge numbers of visitors.

"It would be nothing to have a beach day on a Tuesday or Wednesday especially if it is 30 plus degrees outside," Bureau said. "It will bring mass tourism in my opinion."

Cobourg residents have expressed similar fears. Dilys Robertson said she is worried about unsafe overcrowding and visitors shopping and eating at local businesses.

"Unlike provincial parks, we have no fee for entry for use of the park and beach therefore our facility has a greater tourist attraction," Robertson said.

In light of the fact many Cobourg residents want to visit the beach, council decided to go ahead with the weekday reopening. Fencing will remain in place to close the beach on weekends.

The beach is slated to reopen after Labour Day on Sept. 8

Lead photo by

Agatha Barc


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