Canada’s best beaches for water quality, safety

A family enjoys a late day swim at the main beach in Port Stanley, one of Canada's 24 Blue Flag designated beaches. The Canadian Press Images/ Kevan D. Ashworth

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.

Visitors enjoy the warm sun and sand of Wasaga beach. Charla Jones/Globe and Mail file
People read as they sunbathe on a warm summer day at Cherry Beach in Toronto on Thursday, August 23, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michelle Siu
Sailing vessels cruise past the harbourfront crowd durng the Parade of Sails event at the end of the five-day tall ship festival in Halifax on Monday, July 23, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan

Canada’s blue flag beaches

Canada’s blue flag marinas

The Blue Flag program is owned by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), an international non-profit organization that promotes sustainability through environmental education.

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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.

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