View Full Version : Swimming in Ontario

SeaGlass Siren
11-27-2012, 09:24 AM
Will anybody be heading to the beach this upcoming July/August?

Does anybody actually swim in the cold water? And where do you guys usually swim?

Mermaid Allie
11-27-2012, 04:18 PM
Swimming in lake ontario? Its not cold... lolol

SeaGlass Siren
11-27-2012, 11:10 PM
Wel now it is :winter: but if it ain't cold for you.... Then .. :teach me master!!:

12-03-2012, 07:05 PM
I've swum (swam? Swimmed?- what is the past tense of swim anyways?) in Lake Ontario in Toronto, in July & August. It was actually pretty good!
Lots of people still think Lake Ontario is polluted, but a few years ago I read an article in the Toronto Star about how they've cleaned up pollution in Lake Ontario, and Toronto's beaches now have some kind of international cleanness & saftey certification. It also said city staff sample the water and test for contamination every day at the public beaches, and they put up a sign if contamination happens.

Anyheews- here's my review of the beaches I've been to in Toronto.

1. Sunnyside Beach. In the west part of Toronto.

Kind of narrow,
the sand is OK, but not great,
getting there on transit is not very easy, the only way I know how is to take either the Queen or King streetcars to the intersection where Roncesvalles Ave. meets both Queen & King streets. You get off there and then there's a big walkway bridge you can walk over and then down to get across the highway and Lakeshore Blvd.
I've only been there twice, but the water was really cold both times. Not unbearable, but you didn't want to stay in very long.

2. Cherry Beach, East Toronto.

Very uncrowded
Sand quality is poor, kind of hard and coarse, and there are even some stretches of gravel on the beach
Transit is pretty easy, you can get on the Comissioners/Pape bus at either Union subway station or Pape, and it takes you right into the park and has a stop right at the beachside
Water has always been warm, it's on a big shallow bay that I think gets heated up by the sun

3. Woodbine/Ashbridges Bay Beach, Further East.

Packed all through the summer, definitely the most crowded beach
Easiest beach to get to in Toronto, you go to Woodbine subway station and the Woodbine South bus has a short run straight down to the park where it drives in and lets you out about 30 metres from the beach
Gorgeous sand
Sometimes the water's warm and sometimes it's cold, I think now, after having been there many times, that it's related to which way the wind is blowing
The city has installed a forest of volleyball net posts at one end of the beach, near where you get off the bus, so all you have to do is bring a net & ball and you can play volleyball, although it pays to go early if you don't want to have to wait to get a spot, if you don't have four people you can always find somebody who will join in (don't play in a tail, though :cool: )
If you're a car person, don't even think about trying to drive there. The parking lots fill up in the early hours of the morning, people start to park illegally all over the place, and the cops are going around handing out tickets and towing cars away, and sometimes huge traffic jams develop so the cars can't get out even if they want to
Biking is a good way to go. There's a cycle path that goes all the way from Yonge Street downtown out to Cherry Beach, then on to Woodbine, at most bicycle stores you can get a city cycling map that shows you the trail

4. Toronto Island Beaches

A longer trip to get there, but worth it, you go to Union subway station, then get on a streetcar that lets you get off at the ferry docks, then you get on the ferry to go over to the islands (costs $7 return)
The ferry ride is wonderful. it's so refresing to sail across the water, you seem to let go of all your stress
There are three beaches on the south side ofthe islands, and they all have nice, but not spectacular sand
At the southern beaches the water is sometimes warm, sometimes cold, just like Woodbine
IMHO, the absolue best beach in Toronto is on the West end of the islands, at Hanlans Point
Everything comes together there, beautiful sand, warm water, never too crowded
Very uncommercial. There are no restaurants, hot dogs stands, ice cream trucks, boardwalks, parking lots, just unspoiled nature. It's actually located within a sand dune environmental conservation area.
Of course, at all the other beaches, you can get food if you want. At Hanlans Point you have to bring any food or drinks along with you.
Half the beach is clothing optional, the other half is clothing required. Since toplessness is OK in Ontario, in practice that means on one half of the beach you have to wear a bottom, on the other half you don't. IMO the clothing optional half of the beach is a little nicer (water's a little warmer and fewer seagulls) and some swimsuit-wearers go to the optional half anyway
Maybe it's because of the nature surroundings and laid-back atmosphere, but people are really friendly at the Hanlans Point beach, more so IMO that the other beaches, which have a more City vibe. I remember chatting with a nudist lady out in the shallow water while she enjoyed a cigar and a beer (totally illegal, but she said the lifeguards don't bother enforcing the city bylaws about smoking or drinking alcohol in parks) cooling off from the heat- she said "isn't it great that the city gave us nudists the best beach in Toronto" Kind of sums it all up ;)

Comments, questions?

12-06-2012, 12:58 AM
Thought I would add another review of an Ontario lake, maybe we can have a kind of database people can refer to if they're thinking of going somewhere in the summer?

Anyhow, I did go north to a place called Mary Lake, and while the water was warm, I don't think it would be that great as a merswimming spot.

To get there you drive north on Hwy 400, take the Hwy 11 turnoff at Barrie, then after you pass Bracebridge you look for the South Mary Lake Road, which goes through a little town called Sydney, then arrives at the lake.

Visited a friend's cottage on the south side of the lake, then went to a public beach on the middle part of the lake, and to the swimming beach at a camp on the north east end.

It seems to be a very popular spot. Unfortunately the lake has a lot of cottages, and the summer camp, and all the time I was there there were boats driving around everywhere, some too close to shore IMO.

The water was nice and warm, and felt great, but it was a bit brownish, and murky with a lot of particles or mud, and even with a dive mask you couldn't see very much (I did see a few fish, one big one, up close though.) The issue was the boats. I didn't feel safe going out any distance in the water, there were so many boats going all over the place, and you weren't even up to your waist by the time you were 10 metres from shore.

So if you get a chance to go to Mary Lake, expect to be able to cool off in some nice shallow water, but getting out and diving or merswimming, probably not, unless someone knows a special spot in the lake you could go to that I didn't see.

I've been to a few other spots, could keep reviewing them if people think this is a good idea.

SeaGlass Siren
12-06-2012, 06:37 PM
cool :) I've been to a beach near lake simcoe but i cant recall the name.. barrie beach, wasaga, and woodbine are the ones i've been to as of late.

I wanted to do some sort of meet up when the weather is warmer...hotter preferably.
I might actually go to cherry beach!

SeaGlass Siren
02-05-2013, 01:28 PM
Shall we have a meet up soon?
no swimming or anything, just to get to know everyone.. unless its just you and me in toronto?

02-13-2013, 12:29 PM
Hi mermaidandrea,

Toronto just isn't a very mer-friendly place in winter, with the freezing water outdoors and pools not letting you wear tails. I was wondering though. With the new Ripley's Aquarium opening up this summer, I wonder if a get-together to see the new aquarium might be nice. Maybe mers from the area (if there are any) would find it worth the trip to come and check out the new attraction? Maybe even some mers form the pod of the great lakes could make it.

SeaGlass Siren
02-13-2013, 12:55 PM
Sounds like a plan, I dig it. I've been keeping tabs on them and ATM they're hiring managers and directors, so it should be open soon. What about just hanging around the Lakeshore area?

08-24-2015, 02:18 PM
I grew up in Florida, so I've never been into a body of natural water in Canada that I've been comfortable in, temperature-wise. :( I keep telling myself that since I've lived here for 16 years now, that I'd be able to take the colder water temps. Nope.

Went to the beaches last weekend, hoping because it was closer to the end of summer, the water would be better. I couldn't make it in past my hips, lol! But as soon as my tail gets here, I want to go down there to get some pics, and I'll just have to suck it up then.

Good thing I'm planning on re-arranging my life so that I can winter in Costa Rica starting in 2017! Perfect water there!

SeaGlass Siren
08-27-2015, 10:31 PM
I went to the Humber bay east. The water was actually quite pleasant there.

Mer Maid Lexi
03-16-2016, 01:32 AM
I usually go in after a few very hot days lol ;)

Mer Maid Lexi
03-16-2016, 01:35 AM
Also been dying to check out Bruce Peninsula where there are funky rocks and caves- perfect for mers. Or the wreck in Tobermory. My underwater photographer may be doing a shoot there come summer- if we all pitch we could really make it happen!! near Whitby

Princess Pearl
03-16-2016, 04:53 AM
Ooh, this is an old post, but I'm in for a beach meetup once it's warm!

SeaGlass Siren
03-16-2016, 07:31 AM
Yes please ;-; I need to be where my fish ppl are.

07-07-2016, 08:03 PM
I am out by Conostogo beach near Listowel. Weather is perfect, we should meet up!!

SeaGlass Siren
07-08-2016, 09:14 PM
stouffville for me! can easily get to downtown toronto