E.coli risk doesn’t water down Canada Day fun

Two of Toronto’s public beaches remain unsafe for swimming

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“There’s poo in the water,” a lifeguard yelled out Thursday to stop two kids from wading into the E.coli contaminated water at Sunnyside Beach.

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It was the lifeguards’ clear warning for people standing close to the water, or about to launch standup paddle boards.

“As long as we don’t go swimming in it. They said not to go swimming in it,” said Cayden Luu, ankle-deep in the water after jumping out of an inflatable boat.

“It’s not safe, but I just went in that boat so I don’t really touch the water. I tried my best not to touch it,” said the teenager, who was just excited to be able to gather with friends – seven of them – at the beach.

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The group did not let the bacteria ruin their fun.

Sunnyside – at the foot of Parkside Dr., South of Lakeshore Blvd. – is one of two of Toronto’s 11 public beaches currently deemed unsafe for swimming because of high levels of E.coli.

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The warning about the bacteria – issued Wednesday morning – originally affected three beaches.

Along with Sunnyside, Marie Curtis Park East Beach at the foot of 42nd St. and south of Lakeshore Rd. W. remains unsafe for swimming.

Cherry Beach was back in the clear Thursday.

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Signs posted on lifeguard stations at Sunnyside warn of the bacterial risk, and also post the level of E.coli last measured by Public Health.

It still didn’t stop people from heading to that beach. But very few people ventured into the water.

“It’s been a long time since I went to this beach,” said Kyle Sieunarine, as he and a group of friends dragged their inflatable boat out of the lake. “The last time we all went to the beach was last year.”

Kyle Sieunarine and Felix Munn enjoy Canada Day in an inflatable boat at Sunnyside Beach despite high levels of E.coli. on Thursday, July 1, 2021.
Kyle Sieunarine (standing) and Felix Munn (in the boat) enjoy Canada Day in an inflatable boat at Sunnyside Beach despite high levels of E.coli. on Thursday, July 1, 2021. Photo by Scott Laurie /Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Now that Step 2 of the province’s reopening plan has begun, Sieunarine and his friends are taking advantage.

Outdoor social gatherings of up to 25 people are now allowed.

The more dangerous gathering was the E.coli lurking in the water some of them were in.

On its website where Toronto reveals E.coli readings, the city spells out that “cloudy water can be an indicator of high levels of bacteria that may pose a risk to human health.”

“As long as you don’t swim then you’re fine,” said Luu after walking out of the lake.  “But I got to wash my feet.”

slaurie@postmedia.com

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