Blog

, Director of Swimmable Water Programs
Posted: May 28, 2020 at 3:54 pm

This post was first published on 28 May 2020, and last updated 30 June 2020.

Toronto beaches

There are 11 official city beaches in Toronto. As of 22 June 2020 lifeguards are on duty at 6 of Toronto’s beaches.

These include:

Recreational water quality data from Toronto Public Health was first shared on June 24th for all Toronto beaches.

You can access and enjoy all Toronto beaches. However, according to the city, “Rouge Valley Beach is currently inaccessible, and a supervised swim program will not operate there.” While you can access Toronto beaches, and have a great time by the water, washrooms, and other facilities and amenities, remain closed in certain locations. As the ferries aren’t running for non-Toronto Islanders, you cannot access to the Toronto Islands beaches until the public ferry service resumes on 27 June 2020.

The city announced that 4 additional beaches will have lifeguards on duty as of 1 July 2020: Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar, Hanlan’s, and Ward’s Island beaches. These 4 are all located on the Toronto Islands. Public access to Toronto Island Ferries resumed on 27 June 2020. Please note that ferry service to the Toronto Islands is modified this summer to accommodate social distancing requirements. The city announced on 24 June 2020 that ferry service will resume for non-island residents, but at 50% capacity. Toronto also capped the total number of tickets issued each day at 5,000, “in order to address concerns about crowding, both on the islands and on the boats themselves.”

Toronto 2020 Blue Flag beaches

On June 9th Swim Drink Fish announced that 8 of the 11 beaches in Toronto were awarded the Blue Flag eco-certification. A Blue Flag beach is one that meets strict water quality and safety criteria. These beaches are certified annually as being clean, accessible, eco-friendly, and having great water quality! Blue Flags will fly at Toronto beaches when normal operations have resumed.

Bluffer’s Park Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Centre Island Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Cherry Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Gibraltar Point Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Hanlan’s Point Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Kew-Balmy Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Ward’s Island Beach, Toronto, Ontario
Woodbine Beach, Toronto, Ontario

Swim Drink Fish is the National Operator for Blue Flag in Canada. For more information read the press release from June, 9th – Blue Flag Canada 2020 beaches and marinas announced 

What to know before visiting a Toronto Beach during COVID-19/coronavirus

If you do visit Toronto beaches, you are expected to take the Ontario Ministry of Health self-assessment for COVID-19 and pass the assessment. Beachgoers must practise physical distancing and avoid crowding. Toronto’s physical distancing bylaw states that “people who don’t live together and who fail to keep two metres apart in a city park or public square can face a $1,000 ticket.” Click here for the City of Toronto COVID-19: Orders, Directives and Bylaws.

Under the provincial order, amenities are closed at Toronto beaches. On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Government of Ontario enacted the Declaration of Emergency on 17 March 2020. The Declaration of Emergency has been extended several times. The latest extension is in place until 30 June 2020. Click here to access the orders, and all extensions. Ontario Extends Emergency Orders to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19.

Can I get sick at Toronto beaches?

Your greatest risk of contracting coronavirus at Toronto beaches is if you are exposed to the respiratory secretions (coughing and sneezing) of an infected person, you can get sick. Beaches, like any crowded public place, put you at risk of contracting the virus. If you are infected and head to the beach, you will further spread the virus.

The virus is transmitted primarily person to person, within about 6 feet (2 meters) through respiratory droplets produced when someone sick coughs or sneezes. In other words, at the beach, you’re most at risk of contracting the virus from being too close to other people. Swimming is not where the risk lies.

To date, scientific evidence and medical research indicate there is an extremely low risk of contracting COVID-19 by swimming or recreating in fresh or marine bodies of water.

Read more about recreational water quality and COVID-19 here.

 
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