Montreal area beaches – There is nothing like stretching out on a sandy beach and then cooling off with a swim on a hot summer day – unless of course you find yourself questioning whether the water quality is safe enough to allow yourself that pleasure. In just the past week, two beaches; Oka Beach, frequented by many Montrealers and the new Verdun Beach had to be closed due to concerns of water contamination – although both closures were only precautionary measures.
Water quality at Montreal area beaches
On Tuesday July 2nd, Oka beach had to be closed after a problem was found with a municipal sewage pipe. The pipe was repaired, the water quality was tested and by the following Saturday afternoon the beach was reopened – and swimming, as well as canoeing, kayaking and surfing were allowed. A welcome respite on a very hot, sunny day. On Canada Day Monday July 1st, the newly opened Verdun Beach was closed when heavy downpours of rain the morning before, prompted officials to close the swimming area – and it can be expected to happen again after any similar downpours. The waterways in and around Montreal are always being tested, but results can take up to 24 hours to determine whether it safe enough to swim.
Our once pristine lakes, rivers, streams and other bodies of water are now polluted due to human activity and development. From fecal coliform bacteria coming from human waste to agricultural runoff, pharmaceutical products, plastics and even the chemical compounds found in all types of fragrances being used. We just keep on contaminating our water – and yet still find ourselves swimming in it, when the conditions are deemed safe enough. The beaches around Montreal are located in areas where the water quality is more often than not considered good. Verdun beach is actually in a good location, due to the nearby Lachine Rapids that naturally filters the water. Oka beach is also considered to be located in a good area, but you will still find the beach closed several times in the summer.
Even though the information is not easy to find, it is always good to check out what the water quality is before heading out. Swim Guide has a website and a smartphone app for iPhone and Android that ‘delivers free real-time water quality information for over 7,000 beaches, lakes, rivers, and swimming holes in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the Bahamas, Ireland, France, New Zealand, and Australia – including beaches in Quebec from Oka Beach, Cap St. Jacques, Plage Doré, Jean-Drapeau Park, Plage du Beach Club (Pointe-Calumet) and even the beach at Bois-de-l’Île-Bizard, as well as the many beaches up north and in the Eastern Townships. They can be found at https://www.theswimguide.org/beaches/quebec. Have a safe and healthy summer!
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