Swim Guide began in Toronto when a team of staff and volunteers at Lake Ontario Waterkeeper set out to answer this simple question: Is it safe to swim in Lake Ontario?
We thought it would be easy to find the answer. We were wrong. As it turns out, reliable facts and figures about beach water quality are hard to come by.
We started compiling our own data and, we have been tracking beach water quality trends for more than a decade now.
In 2011, we decided we needed a tool that would tell you where the closest beaches are and which ones are safe for swimming right now.
Enter the Waterkeeper Swim Guide app for iPhone®, Android, or web.
Created by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, this free app helps you find your closest beaches, know at a glance which ones are safe for swimming, and share your love of beaches with friends and family.
This last part—sharing a love of beaches—is really important to Waterkeepers. Since 2011, dozens of nonprofit and public organizations have started contributing information to Swim Guide.
By the height of swimming season in 2013, Swim Guide included most official beaches in Canada and the USA. It draws on water quality information from government agencies or from Waterkeepers themselves so that you have access to up-to-date water quality as often as possible.
That one question - is it safe to swim? - led us on a journey connecting Waterkeeper organizations across Canada and the USA, as well as other affiliates with a shared desire for swimmable waterways.
Waterkeeper built Swim Guide for one reason: we want people to explore, enjoy, and fall in love with the beach so that our lake will be protected for generations to come.