Toronto – Nine beaches have been certified to fly the Blue Flag, an international program for clean beaches, Environmental Defence announced today. To qualify for the Blue Flag, all nine beaches had to meet 27 strict standards based on water quality, environmental management, environmental education and safety and services.
“We’re so pleased to present these world-class beaches with the Blue Flag,” said Sarah Winterton, Programme Director of Environmental Defence, the Blue Flag coordinator in Canada. “Flying a Blue Flag shows Canadians and tourists that these are exceptional beaches and are clean for swimming.”

Six of the Blue Flag beaches are on Lake Ontario in the City of Toronto: Woodbine Beaches; Cherry Beach; Hanlan’s Point Beach; Ward’s Island Beach; Centre Island Beach; and, Gibraltar Point Beach. One beach is on Georgian Bay: Wasaga Beach at Wasaga Beach Provincial Park (the first Provincial Park beach to receive the Blue Flag). The other two beaches are on Lake Huron: Station Beach in Kincardine; and, Sauble Beach in South Bruce Peninsula.
 
An additional five beaches have been named Candidate Blue Flag beaches, which means they could be flying a Blue Flag beginning in the 2008 swimming season. Two of the Candidate Blue Flag beaches are on Lake Huron: Rotary Cove Beach in Goderich; and, Canatara Park Beach in Sarnia. Two are on Georgian Bay: Northwinds Beach Park and Little River Beach Park in the Town of the Blue Mountains. The remaining Candidate Blue Flag beach is on Lake Erie: Main Beach in Central Elgin.

“In cooperation with Wasaga Beach Provincial Park and the Friends of Nancy Island Historic Site and Wasaga Beach Park we have proven that we have one of the finest beaches in the world,” said Cal Patterson, Mayor of the Town of Wasaga Beach.  “We will continue to work together to maintain this prestigious honour.”
 
The nine Blue Flag beaches join more than 2,600 in 36 countries around the world. As part of the Blue Flag requirements, beaches in Canada must meet Ontario’s standards for recreational water quality (the most stringent in North America) at least 80% of the swimming season. Water quality test results for each Blue Flag beach are available on the Blue Flag Canada web site – www.BlueFlag.ca.

Beaches are certified by two independent juries – the Blue Flag Great Lakes Regional Jury and the International Blue Flag Jury. 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.

“We have a wealth of beaches and beautiful waterfronts right across Canada that we can all be proud of,” said Winterton. “The Blue Flag is a great way for communities to work together to protect and enjoy their beaches.”
 
About Blue Flag (www.blueflag.ca) 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 2,600 beaches in 36 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. Blue Flag Canada is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Ministry of Culture that receives annually $100 million of government funding generated through Ontario’s charity casino initiative.
 
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.
 
 
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For more information, or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Jennifer Foulds, Environmental Defence (416) 323-9521 ext. 232; (647) 280-9521 (cell)