The success of last week's Mass Swim at Richardson's Beach in Kingston inspired many people to take a plunge in Lake Ontario.
For those of you wondering if it is safe to swim in Lake Ontario, Waterkeeper's answer is, "Yes!" It just depends where and when you want to swim.
First, the where. There are two kinds of beach on Lake Ontario. There is the "wild" beach that is accessible to the public and provides an entry point to the water but has no lifeguards and no regular water quality monitoring program. There is also the "official" beach, that is tested regularly by local health units or provincial park staff, and which has some kind of supervised swimming area.
Every summer, Waterkeeper tracks beach health at the official beaches on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario. We rely on government sampling data and daily reports to track which beaches are posted most often and which beaches offer the most pristine waters for swimming.
There are 104 official beaches in the Lake Ontario watershed, stretching from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Kingston and ranging north towards Peterborough. Despite record rainfalls, beach posting rates are roughly the same as previous years. Forty-one of these beaches are on track to meet the province's standard for a swimmable beach, which says beaches should be open at least 95% of the summer. Some of the lake's flagship beaches, such as Sandbanks, remain pollution-free and safe for swimming every day.
Our mid-summer beach report contains up-to-date information for the 104 beaches that Waterkeeper monitors. It also compares these beaches to the 2004-2007 swimming seasons.
The beaches that are always open are ...
- Charles Day West (Niagara)
- Christie Lake and Valens Conservation areas (Hamilton)
- Albion Hills and Heart Lake (Peel)
- Frenchman's Bay East (Durham)
- Gore's Landing, Hastings South, Lion's Park, Little Lake, Port Hope East, Seymour, and Trent River East (Northumberland)
- Centennial Park Deseronto, Centennial Park Northport, Roblin Lake (Hastings & Prince Edward County)
- Plus twelve beaches in the Kingston region and five of our six provincial parks.
Seven beaches have been posted more then 50% of the summer. They are ...
- Bayfront in Hamilton (78.9%)
- Rotary in Ajax (73.1%)
- Jones in St. Catharines (71.9%)
- Prospect Park's Fairy Lake in Halton (61.1%)
- Bronte in Halton (57.4%)
- Rotary in Kingston (54.4%)
- Marie Curtis in Toronto (50.9%)
To check up on your local beach, please look at our mid-summer report card. You can also check our dedicated beaches page, which includes a map to every one of these 104 beaches: www.waterkeeper.ca/beachreports
This week on the Living At the Barricades Podcast, Waterkeeper is on location for the Mass Swim at Richardson Beach. Hear from event organizers, enthusiastic swimmers, and Steven Black from K7Waterfront.org. Also on the show, hosts Mark Mattson and Krystyn Tully discuss Waterkeeper's beach monitoring program and highlight key features of Lake Ontario's beaches.
See photos from the Mass Swim at Watekreeper's new Flick webpage:
Make a donation to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper before August 3rd, 2008 and help us double your donation through the All At Once match...We need only $250 to meet our target! To help us fulfill the All At Once match, Waterkeeper is offering two tickets to Jack Johnson's concert on August 3rd, 2008 at Burl's Creek Park in Oro, ON to the next individual to donate $100 or more to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper!
From March 1st -September 14th , 2008 The Jack Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation has offered to match every dollar Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is able to raise through it's All At Once match for up to $2,500.00
With a membership donation to Lake Ontario Waterkeeper of $30.00 or more you could become eligible to win a pair of tickets to Jack Johnson's concert on August 3rd, 2008 at Burl's Creek Park in Oro, ON.
Remember to write "allatonce" in the memo line of your cheque or online donation, fill it in the comment box for online donations, or send us an email to confirm the match.
To securely donate online, click here.
Background on Jack Johnson's 2008 tour
Musician Jack Johnson's 2008 tour is committed to energy conservation and waste reduction. Trucks and coaches will operate on biodiesel helping to reduce potential CO2 emissions by 78%. All festival merchandise will focus on sustainable materials, reuseables and renewables. Lake Ontario Waterkeeper will be participating in "The Village Green" located on the concert grounds. The Village Green will represent local groups and a few national organizations at booths and will be a place to learn about local and national environmental issues, how to take immediate personal steps, and help to create long-term solutions.