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June 5, 2008
Toronto beaches officially open for 2008
Toronto’s 11 supervised 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 fourth 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 for the second year, at Centre Island Beach and Gibraltar Point Beach.

“With six internationally recognized Blue Flag Beaches, Torontonians are seeing the significant and measurable improvements we have made to our lake water quality,” said Mayor David Miller. “All of our beaches and surrounding parks are an extension of the City and are incredibly important to making Toronto a liveable city.”

To help improve beach water quality, the City has developed programs including a waterfowl and gull deterrent system, a public education campaign to encourage people to properly dispose of food scraps and not to feed the birds, enhanced in-water, land debris clean-up, and beach grooming. These initiatives will continue through the 2008 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 Beaches-East York). “Toronto Water, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, and Toronto Public Health will again be working together on water quality and beach parkland improvements at the City's 11 designated beaches.”

From June until Labour Day weekend, Toronto Water collects water samples daily from the 11 supervised beaches across the city. Water samples are taken daily and tested for E. Coli levels that 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 twenty-four 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 70 awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

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



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