While Ontario is known for having some beautiful beaches, it turns out you don't have to drive very far to find great spots to swim and sunbathe.

According to the Swim Drink Fish's Blue Flag rating, Toronto is actually home to some of the best beaches in the world. Currently, Toronto flies blue flags at eight of its ten swimming beaches, which means the beach has met 33 criteria with respect to water quality, environmental management, environmental education, and safety and services.

A visit to one of the beaches with a blue flag is the perfect way to cool off when temperatures get too hot and sticky and ensures that you can make the most of your day without worrying about pollution and bacteria.

To further ensure the safety of residents, the City collects water samples at each of Toronto's 10 swimming beaches every day during beach season, which runs from June to Labour Day.

READ: Toronto Could Have a New Ferry on the Water by 2024

These samples are analyzed by Toronto Public Health (TPH), determining whether each beach is safe for swimming. The results are posted online approximately 24 hours after the samples are collected.

The designation of a swimming beach as a Blue Flag beach means that a beach is open 80% of the time during the beach season. The City says Toronto has one of the toughest quality standards for determining whether beaches are safe for swimming.

Toronto follows Ontario's criteria and will close a beach when E.coli levels exceed 100 E.coli per 100 millilitres of water, while the rest of Canada has a limit of 200 E.coli. for 100 millilitres of water. 

According to the City, these are the beaches that have most recently been tested for E.coli:

  • Marie Curtis Park East Beach: Safe to swim
  • Sunnyside Beach: Safe to swim
  • Hanlan’s Point Beach: Safe to swim
  • Gibraltar Point Beach: Safe to swim
  • Centre Island Beach: Data not available (swim at your own risk)
  • Ward’s Island Beach: Safe to swim
  • Cherry Beach: Safe to swim
  • Woodbine Beaches: Safe to swim
  • Kew – Balmy Beach: Not safe to swim
  • Bluffer’s Park Beach: Safe to swim

With Ontario currently in Step 1 of its reopening plan, outdoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, except if you live in the same household. Beachgoers are reminded to practice physical distancing and avoid crowding.

If the beaches are full when you arrive, the City recommends that you return at another time when the beach is less crowded.