The move comes amid consistently sweltering weather that has helped drive people to the city’s 10 beaches. With urban temperatures regularly topping 30 degrees, cooling off lakeside appears increasingly attractive to steaming Torontonians.
” Toronto ‘s are the first beaches [in Canada ] that are getting the Blue Flag,” said Jennifer Foulds, spokeswoman for a local group called Environmental Defence that will monitor water quality.
“They’re very popular beaches. The ones that are getting the Blue Flag on Thursday are some of the most popular beaches in Toronto .”
Local politicians from all three levels of government will gather Thursday at Woodbine Beach to officially announce the four successful applicants to the international system. They will raise a Blue Flag at that beach, which lies near the foot of Coxwell Avenue .
The city’s beaches have been operating for years under a local system which informed visitors about water quality. Having Blue Flag beaches adds Toronto to a growing list of nearly 3,000 spots worldwide that have successfully met the criteria for the designation.
“It shows Torontonians and people who are visiting the city which beaches are clean for swimming,” Ms. Foulds said. The Blue Flag system is overseen by the Foundation for Environmental Education. Awarded based on compliance with 27 standards of cleanliness, safety and environmental education, the system dates back nearly two decades.
Toronto will have to reapply annually for the right to fly the flag at these four beaches, Ms. Foulds said, and Environmental Defence will check the water quality through the swimming season to ensure that it remains consistently safe.
Ms. Foulds said that her group will keep on top of the situation at the beaches, including checking to make sure they are open for swimming at least 80 per cent of the summer season.
The Ontario government already monitors and regulates the amount of a dangerous E. coli strain that can be in water people swim or play in.