TORONTO, ON – As Toronto residents get ready for summer fun, the city raised Blue Flags for a record 10th year at some of its beaches today, marking a major milestone in Canada.
The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized and respected eco-label awarded to beaches and marinas that have achieved international standards in four categories: water quality, environmental management, environmental education, and safety and services.
“Ten years ago, the City of Toronto raised the first four Blue Flags in Canada,” said Brett Tryon, Blue Flag Canada Program Manager. “Toronto now boasts eight Blue Flag beaches. This is a huge accomplishment and demonstrates the strong commitment by the city to have clean, safe beaches with excellent water quality.”
Canada’s first Blue Flags were flown in 2005 at Cherry Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach, Ward’s Island Beach and Woodbine Beach. Since then, more Toronto beaches have received the designation with flags also flying now at Bluffer’s Park Beach, Centre Island Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, and Kew-Balmy Beach.
Ten years after receiving their first Blue Flags, Toronto’s beaches are major destinations for residents and tourists alike. For beaches to keep their Blue Flag annually, they have to meet 33 strict criteria, including meeting provincial water quality standards at least 80 per cent of the time. Toronto continues to surpass this requirement. Last year, the average water quality compliance at Toronto’s Blue Flag beaches was 92 per cent.
“The Blue Flag award gives people the reassurance that Toronto’s beaches are great for swimming,” said Tryon. “You don’t have to travel hours to a cottage to enjoy a day at the beach – there are plenty of fabulous beaches here in your own backyard.”
The Blue Flag award is administered in Canada by Environmental Defence and is managed internationally by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE).  Around the world, more than 4,000 beaches and marinas have been certified in 48 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, Tunisia, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and the Caribbean.
More details about the Blue Flag program and the certified marinas and beaches can be found at BlueFlag.ca.
About Environmental Defence (environmentaldefence.ca):  Environmental Defence is the Canadian Operator of the Blue Flag Program. Environmental Defence is Canada’s most effective environmental action organization. We challenge, and inspire change in government, business and people to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all.
About The Foundation for Environmental Education (fee-international.org): The Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization consisting of member organizations representing 68 countries worldwide. FEE actively promotes and delivers education about the environment and sustainable development through international programs such as the Blue Flag Program.
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For more information, images or interview requests please contact:
Jen Mayville, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext. 228; 905-330-0172 (cell); jmayville@environmentaldefence.ca
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 258; 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca