Four beaches measure up to world-class Blue Flag standards
Toronto , Ontario – Four Toronto beaches measure up to world-class standards to fly the Blue Flag, an international award for clean beaches, Environmental Defence announced today. Woodbine Beaches (formerly Woodbine Beach and Beaches Park ), Cherry, Wards Island and Hanlan’s Point will all fly the Blue Flag this summer. Toronto is the first municipality in Canada to receive Blue Flag designation for its beaches.
Environmental Defence – the Blue Flag coordinator in Canada – presented the City of Toronto with its four Blue Flags at a special ceremony at Woodbine Beaches this morning. Deputy Mayor Sandra Bussin, Ward 30 (Toronto-Danforth) Councillor Paula Fletcher , Beaches-East York MP Maria Minna and MPP Michael Prue , Toronto-Danforth MPP Marilyn Churley , and Toronto Water General Manager Mike Price joined together to raise the Blue Flag at Woodbine Beaches.
“Environmental Defence is delighted to present the first Blue Flags in Canada to Toronto ‘s cleanest beaches. Blue Flags flapping in the breeze will tell Torontonians and visitors alike which beaches are the best for swimming,” said Dr. Rick Smith, Executive Director, Environmental Defence.
“The City of Toronto is proud to fly the Blue Flag at four of our beaches. The waterfront is a vital part of city life, and we are committed to ensuring our beaches are clean,” said Deputy Mayor Sandra Bussin, who added that the Blue Flag designation is another step by the City toward realizing the goals of the Clean and Beautiful City Initiative.
To qualify to fly the Blue Flag, beaches must meet 27 specific criteria based on water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety and services. Water quality at Blue Flag beaches must meet Ontario ‘s standards for recreational water quality (the most stringent in North America ) at least 80% of the swimming season. Blue Flags are awarded at the beginning of each swimming season. Beaches can lose their Blue Flags during the season if they fail to meet the required criteria. Last year, Toronto ‘s Blue Flag beaches were clean for swimming on average 94% of the season.
“The City of Toronto has devoted considerable resources to addressing the quality of the near shore water of Lake Ontario ,” said Mike Price, General Manager, Toronto Water. “And, with Council’s support, the City is committed to further improvements in water quality so that all beaches will receive Blue Flag designation through the implementation of the Water Pollution Solution.”
” Toronto ‘s Blue Flag beaches are a great way for Torontonians to cool off on hot summer days,” said Ward 30 (Toronto-Danforth) Councillor Paula Fletcher, whose ward includes Cherry Beach . “I’m proud of the work being done to make Cherry Beach a world-class beach.”
Environmental Defence monitored Toronto ‘s 10 beaches over the past two swimming seasons to determine which beaches were eligible to receive the Blue Flag. The final candidates were reviewed and approved by two independent juries – the Blue Flag Great Lakes Regional Jury and the International Blue Flag Jury.
Environmental Defence continues to monitor the City’s compliance with the Blue Flag criteria, including the daily water quality tests taken by the City of Toronto . Water test results for each beach are available on Environmental Defence’s new Blue Flag Canada web site, www.BlueFlag.ca . Toronto Public Health uses water quality test results to determine if a beach is safe for swimming. Toronto Public Health will post a beach as unsafe for swimming if E. coli levels exceed the provincial standard of 100 E. coli per 100ml of water. Before heading to the beach, check the latest beach postings at www.toronto.ca/beaches or call the beach hotline at 416-392-7161.
“Blue Flags are Toronto ‘s reward for taking action to reduce pollution and protect water quality,” said Shelley Petrie, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, a Blue Flag local partner. “Beachgoers, sailors and local businesses are natural partners in ensuring the Blue Flags keep flying and can get involved by organizing beach clean-ups and educating others on how to prevent water pollution.”
About Blue Flag
The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), based in Denmark , owns and operates the Blue Flag Program. Since 1987, Blue Flag has grown to include more than 2,400 beaches in 33 countries. Environmental Defence is the Canadian National Operator of Blue Flag. Our goal is for beaches across Canada to meet national Blue Flag standards, ensuring that Canadians enjoy clean beaches.
About Environmental Defence (www.environmentaldefence.ca)
Environmental Defence protects the environment and human health. We research. We educate. We go to court when we have to. All in order to ensure clean air, safe food and thriving ecosystems. Nationwide.