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June 6, 2007
Toronto beaches officially open for 2007
Toronto’s 11 lifeguarded beaches are open for business today as the City of Toronto begins daily water quality sampling. In conjunction with today’s beach launch, Environmental Defence, for the third year in a row, is presenting the City with the international Blue Flag at four beaches (Cherry Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach, Ward’s Island Beach and Woodbine Beaches) and new this year, Centre Island Beach and the newly created Gibraltar Point Beach received the honour.

“The awarding of two more Blue Flags to Centre Island Beach and Gibraltar Point Beach shows the significant and measurable improvements we've made to our lake water quality and serves as another example of our commitment to making Toronto the cleanest, greenest and most liveable city in North America,” said Mayor David Miller.

To help further improve beach water quality, the City has developed programs including a waterfowl and gull deterrent system; a public education campaign to encourage people to dispose of food scraps and to not feed the birds; in-water and land debris clean-up; and enhanced beach grooming. These initiatives will continue during the 2007 beach season.

“The City of Toronto is committed to improving beach water quality and is devoting resources for further improvements," said Councillor Sandra Bussin, Ward 32. “Our beach management strategy includes projects from Toronto Water; Parks, Forestry and Recreation; and Toronto Public Health working together on water quality and beach parkland improvements at the City’s 11 designated beaches.”

From June until the end of August, Toronto Water collects water samples from the 10 supervised beaches across the city. Water samples are taken daily and tested for E. Coli levels and must not exceed the Provincial guidelines of 100 E. Coli per 100 ml of water. When water tests show high amounts of E. Coli bacteria, Toronto Public Health warns against swimming, and signs are posted at affected beaches. Testing the samples usually takes 24 hours.

“Environmental Defence is delighted to once again present the Blue Flags to the City of Toronto,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence. “Awarding Blue Flags to six of the City’s beaches tells residents and visitors the City is working to improve beach water quality, and we look forward to awarding more Blue Flags as the City continues to implement new initiatives.”

Environmental Defence coordinates the Blue Flag program in Canada and is responsible for monitoring the 27 criteria including water quality, environmental management and education, and safety and service.

For more information call the City’s Beach Water Quality Hotline at 416-392-7161, or visit

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Lisa Boynton, Senior Communications Co-ordinator, 416-338-6590



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