Twenty-six Canadian beaches and six marinas were certified this year under the international designation administered in Canada by the organization Environmental Defence.
Gimli Beach in Gimli, Man., Bell Park Beach in Sudbury, Ont., Barrie Marina in Barrie, Ont., and LaSalle Park Marina in Burlington, Ont. are this year’s newest beaches and marinas to receive the Blue Flag.
To receive a Blue Flag, marinas and beaches must achieve high international standards in water quality, environmental management and education as well as safety and services, according to Brett Tyron, the Blue Flag program manager with Environmental Defence, which administers the foundation’s work in Canada.
“This award is the result of the great work done by the marina operators who recognize the importance of protecting the marina and local shoreline habitat,” Tyron said. “A Blue Flag symbolizes that a beach or marina is clean, swimmable, and meets high safety and environmental standards. When you see a Blue Flag flying, you know you are at a world-class beach or marina.”
The Barrie marina will be the first marina on Lake Simcoe allowed to fly the foundation’s coveted Blue Flag.
Barrie Marina supervisor Brad McConnell said boaters in the 326 seasonal slips are encouraged — through their written contracts — to be mindful of their responsibilities to the environment.
“We consider ourselves to be stewards of the lake,” McConnell said. “Marinas tend to be thought of as not very environmentally friendly places with all the boats and gasoline. We do everything we can to keep the water as clean as we possibly can. We do our very best to ensure none of the oil or gas ever gets into the water and watershed. We encourage them not to pour gas into their boat from a jerry can, but rather to bring their boat over to the gasoline station where we ensure there are no spills.”
More than 4,000 beaches and marinas in 49 countries around the world have received certification for the Blue Flag award.
Here is the full list of 26 beaches and six marinas that have received the Blue Flag in Canada this year:
· Gimli Beach (Town of Gimli)
· West Grand Beach (Grand Beach Provincial Park)
· Winnipeg Beach (Winnipeg Beach Provincial Park)
· Birch Cove Beach (Dartmouth)
· Halifax Waterfront (Halifax) 
· Bayfield Main Beach and Bluewater Marina (Municipality of Bluewater)
· Bell Park Beach (Sudbury)
· Bluffer’s Park Beach, Centre Island Beach, Cherry Beach, Gibraltar Point Beach, Hanlan’s Point Beach, Kew-Balmy Beach, Ward’s Island Beach and Woodbine Beach (Toronto)
· Canatara Park Beach (Sarnia)
· City of Barrie Marina (Barrie)
· Grand Bend Beach, Grand Bend Marina and Port Franks Marina (Municipality of Lambton Shores)
· LaSalle Park Marina (Burlington)
· Port Stanley Main Beach (Municipality of Central Elgin)
· Sauble Beach (Town of South Bruce Peninsula)
· Station Beach (Kincardine)
· Wasaga Beach areas 1, 2 and 5 (Wasaga Beach Provincial Park)
· Waubuno Beach (Parry Sound) 
· Plage de l’Est, plage de l’Ouest, and plage des Cantons (Ville de Magog)
– With files from Ian McInroy and Paul Morden, Postmedia Network