City of Toronto lifeguards are getting ready to return to nine City beaches on Saturday, June 3.
The start of the City’s seasonal supervised beach program will see lifeguards on duty to supervise designated swim areas seven days a week, 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., from Saturday, June 3 to Monday, September 4, at Bluffer’s Park, Cherry/Clarke, Centre Island, Hanlan’s Point, Kew-Balmy, Marie Curtis Park, Sunnyside, Ward’s Island and Woodbine Beaches. Gibraltar Point will be supervised beginning Saturday, July 1 to September 4.
Additional lifeguard stations will be supervised at individual beaches throughout June, as lifeguards complete their school year. Full supervision of the City’s 10 beaches will begin on July 1.
City lifeguards are identifiable by their red and yellow uniforms and are stationed either in white rowboats in the water, along the shore or at a lifeguard stand. Designated swim areas are marked between two red-over-yellow flags with a lifeguard stand marked “Lifeguard on Duty” nearby.
More information about the City’s 10 swimming beaches and beach safety is available on the City’s Beaches webpage or by calling 311.
Beach and water safety
The City is collaborating with Lifesaving Society Ontario on an annual public education campaign about beach and water safety, to help beach goers better understand safe beach practices. Social media posts will be shared on City channels throughout the 2023 swimming season, highlighting how residents and visitors can safely enjoy City beaches by:
Each lifesaving stand across the waterfront will be marked with a Parks Locate Point (an identification point used when contacting emergency services so the emergency vehicle knows where on the beach to respond to an emergency) and 911 signs to further support public safety this beach season, in addition to having lifesaving equipment. Residents should contact 311 if lifesaving equipment is missing or damaged.
When a green flag is flying on the back of a lifeguard stand, it is safe to swim. When a yellow flag is flying, swimming is permitted, but swimmers should exercise caution as waves, currents or other elements may be present. When a red flag is flying, there are high hazard conditions and all swimmers are discouraged from entering the water. If no flags are flying at a Toronto beach, lifeguards are not on duty and people should not swim. Residents should stay within the clearly marked swim zones to avoid the dangers of being struck by vessels. Undesignated areas can have dangerous water conditions, such as undertows and rip currents.
The Toronto Police Service Marine Unit reminds residents that all watercraft are restricted from designated swim areas along Toronto beaches. The swim zones are clearly marked with white information buoys. Signs are also posted in the areas for designated craft launch areas.
When spending time on the lake and/or beaches, residents should be aware of potential dangers and learn how to be safe in cold water. In case of an accident, cold water can severely impact a person’s ability to swim or stay afloat. No matter a person’s swimming ability, the best chance of surviving in cold water is to wear a lifejacket. In 2022, more than 90 per cent of Canadians who drowned while boating were either not wearing their lifejacket or not wearing it properly.
The Toronto Police Service reminds people to stay sober when boating or participating in water related activities on the lake. The use of alcohol and drugs can severely impact a person’s ability to swim and stay afloat. Using drugs and alcohol while operating a vessel is illegal. In Ontario, being convicted of impaired boat operation will also affect a person’s driver’s licence.
The City monitors beach water quality daily (weather permitting) between June and September. This includes daily water sample analysis by Toronto Public Health and City lifeguards, which helps ensure people can swim safely at Toronto beaches. City beaches that meet high standards for water quality, safety, environmental management and education fly The Blue Flag. More information about beach water quality testing is available on the City’s Beach Water Quality webpage.
City-designated Blue Flag swimming beaches are:
“Having lifeguards on City beaches means a safer and more relaxing time for people and families. While lifeguards provide confidence that there is someone watching out, the City’s important annual beach and water safety campaign will help keep everyone safer while swimming. We want residents and visitors to enjoy the lakeside atmosphere and to safely experience Toronto’s vast sandy and cobble beaches. Thank you to City staff for ensuring we can safely open Toronto’s incredible swimming beaches, so that residents and visitors can cool down and enjoy the outdoors on hot summer days.”
– Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rough Park), Chair of the Infrastructure and Environment Committee
“Summer is right around the corner and there’s no better way to spend a sunny Toronto day than at one of our City beaches! As you head to the beach, remember to only swim in designated areas, keep an eye on children, wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. Most importantly, remember to only swim when lifeguards are on duty. A big thanks to our dedicated lifeguard team for keeping our beaches safe and helping Toronto residents and families enjoy all our city has to offer.”
– Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North), Chair of the Economic and Community Development Committee
“Less than one per cent of drownings occur in lifeguard-supervised settings – the safest place to swim is where the lifeguards are. Residents can safely enjoy City beaches this summer by actively supervising children at all times, wearing lifejackets and learning to swim.”
– Stephanie Bakalar, Corporate Communications Manager, Lifesaving Society Ontario
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