This story is the second in a series about swimming in Lake Ontario. We hope you enjoyed this year’s swimming season!
Oshawa isn't typically associated as a place where you can go to "get away from it all." This summer, I took some time to visit Oshawa and to discover what people do for fun by the water.
When you think of Oshawa, images of industry often float into your mind. General Motors, scrap metal yards and a very industrialized port are all realities for this community.
After a day with a friend at the beach, it became clear that there is so much more than industry in Oshawa.
My trip to Oshawa brought me to Lakeview Park East. This park is an amazing multi-use area in south Oshawa, just west of the Second Marsh. At the end of Simcoe Street I found a gorgeous park, soccer field, waterfront trail, and sandy beach.
As I walked down to the beach with my friend, Kristy, and her two boys, it became clear that Oshawa's waterfront is much more than water hitting sand or the typical images of industrialized Oshawa. There were dozens of families playing in the lake, building sandcastles, having picnics, and enjoying their time outside.
One of my earliest memories of Lake Ontario is of my younger brother and me walking along the lakeshore but not being allowed to touch it. “That lake water is really, really dirty,” my mom used to say. But sitting on the beach watching Kristy’s oldest son play in the water was a little victory for me. In one generation the lake has gone from a place where touching the water was forbidden to a place where parents feel safe bringing their kids.
The Oshawa community has a strong voice when it comes to this beach. The boating community wants a place where they can take their sailboats and motorboats out on the water to fish or explore. Moms, dads and babysitters alike want a safe, clean, free place to bring kids. On a hot summer day, the community has a right to walk down to their beach with friends and family to cool off. They need this place.
As I built (then smashed) some of the world’s best sandcastles with the kids, it became crystal clear that Oshawa has a lot to offer. That day, it was easy to forget the image of an industrialized city. Instead, a beach in Oshawa became an easy getaway.
Allie Kosela is our outreach coordinator. You can follow Allie on Twitter @AllieKosela.