Published on June 17th, 2016 | by Guest Contributor
Where To Cool Off This Summer.
If you’re feeling the summer heat – they say it’s going to get scorching hot in the coming couple of months – and looking for a place to take a dip and cool off, fear not, Ontario has a wide array of places to swim.
Toronto alone boasts 11 beaches and myriad outdoor pools. And surrounding areas all have their own favourite places to splash around and beat the heat. Here are some of the best options for you and the kids, including splash pads, pools, beaches, and a quarry.
Note that the beaches we list are Blue Flag certified, meaning they meet the standards of the Environmental Defense for safety standards. So you can swim with confidence. But always double check the daily conditions if you’re not sure.
Wasaga Beach. A favourite tourist spot in Ontario, Wasaga was actually the first provincial park in Canada to be awarded the “Blue Flag” designation. Less than a two-hour drive from Toronto, you’ll find welcoming waters and14 kilometres of sand, making Wasaga is the longest freshwater beach in the world. If it’s too far for a day trip, the area is full of cabins for rent and there are also campsites in nearby parks. Activities besides swimming include hiking, boating, and fishing.
Ward’s Island. This sandy beach is quieter than the rest of the island, all of which is just minutes from downtown Toronto. How lucky are those of us who live there? You have to wear a bathing suit here. Not so at Hanlan’s Point, your nearby nude option. So, be forewarned, if you venture over there by accident.
Cherry Beach. Yes, it gets crazy crowded but this beach is located right in the city, a nice bike ride from the West End or a hop skip and a jump if you live closer by. And during the weekdays, if you’re able to make it, it’s not as busy. It’s a little rocky both in and out of the water, so wear shoes. The other end of town has Sunnyside, a lovely place, but not Blue Flag certified last time I checked, and every time I’ve been the water hasn’t been swimmable. There is the Gus Ryder pool however, which is another option right there on site.
Wild Wetland Splash at Heart Lake Conservation Area. Located in Brampton, Wild Wetland Splash and Pool offers cooling off options for all ages – including an 840 Square metre swimming pool (500-person capacity) for bigger kids, a splash pad for the wee ones, and more than 30 “wetland themed water features.” The attraction boasts “state-of-the-art water conservation technology” and, as a bonus, is located in natural wilderness surroundings.
Splash Island at the Toronto Zoo. Splash Island is a great place to take your kids for a cool down on a hot summer day. There is a full two acres of waterslides, water-spouting animals, waterfalls, and tipping buckets, in which the family can beat the heat and learn about the plants and animals that inhabit our bodies of water in Canada.
St Mary’s Quarry. Located in Perth, St. Mary’s Quarry is Canada’s largest freshwater, outdoor swimming pool. What started out as a quarry that just got naturally filled with water between 1930 and 1935 and became a de-facto swimming pool has become a favourite attraction for locals and visitors alike. The park now covers the adjoining Thames Quarry along with 50 acres of surrounding land. A review on Trip Advisor notes that there aren’t many shallow spots for swimming so perhaps not the best option for weaker swimmers.
Bronte Creek Provincial Park Pool. This is the home of one of the largest outdoor pools in Canada at 1.8 acres in size. The pool is surrounded by grassy knolls and the provincial park itself offers other activities such as walking/running trails and a nearby farm where kids can romp around a hayloft and hang out with barnyard animals.
(Main image: Courtesy of www.trca.ca)
Written by Elizabeth Bromstein
© 2017 CAA South Central Ontario
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