Canada is a country rich in waterfront property, boasting more coastline than any other country in the world (over 200,000 kilometres) and 60 per cent of the world’s lakes.
But what beaches are the cleanest and safest in the country?
Twenty-four beaches and four marinas in Canada carry the blue flag designation – a “voluntary eco-label” awarded to beaches and marinas in 48 countries.
Canada’s blue flag beaches
- Bayfield Main Beach (Bluewater, ON)
- Birch Cove Beach (Halifax, NS)
- Bluffer’s Park (Toronto, ON)
- Canatara Park Beach (Sarnia, ON)
- Centre Island Beach (Toronto, ON)
- Cherry Beach (Toronto, ON)
- Gibraltar Point (Toronto, ON)
- Grand Bend Beach (Lambton Shores, ON)
- Hanlan’s Point (Toronto, ON)
- Kew-Balmy Beach (Toronto, ON)
- Plage de l’Est (Magog, QC)
- Plage de l’Ouest (Magog, QC)
- Plage des Cantons (Magog, QC)
- Port Stanley Main Beach (Central Elgin, ON)
- Sauble Beach (South Bruce Peninsula, ON)
- Station Beach (Kincardine, ON)
- Ward’s Island Beach (Toronto, ON)
- Wasaga Beach, Area 1 (Wasaga Beach, ON)
- Wasaga Beach, Area 2 (Wasaga Beach, ON)
- Wasaga Beach, Area 5 (Wasaga Beach, ON)
- Waubuno Beach (Parry Sound, ON)
- West Grand Beach (Grand Beach Provincial Park, MB)
- Winnipeg Beach (Winnipeg Beach, MB)
- Woodbine Beach (Toronto, ON)
Canada’s blue flag marinas
- Bluewater Marina (Bluewater, ON)
- Grand Bend Marina (Lambton Shores, ON)
- Halifax Waterfront (Halifax, NS)
- Port Franks Marina (Lambton Shores, ON)
The Blue Flag program is owned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an international non-profit organization that promotes sustainability through environmental education.
And the FEE has strict criteria that must be met for a beach to fly the blue flag. Beaches must meet 32 criteria for water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, safety and services.
Blue Flags are awarded for one season at a time, and if criteria isn’t met, the designation can be pulled at any time.
The blue flag program began in 1987 and has become a sought-after international designation.