Even in winter the Gord Edgar Downie Pier remains a beacon

Photo by Shane Schofield Six months after its public opening, the Gord Edgar Downie Pier remains a beacon for swimmable, drinkable, fishable water across the Great Lakes. My recent trip to Kingston with Mark Mattson reminded me of this. This pier helps people reimagine their connection to Lake Ontario and is shaping a new generation of water leaders.While the summertime crowds hibernate, the swimming pier's magic remains. The breeze, the view, the pier’s connection to…

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Why you should spend more time by the water in 2019

What would you say if someone asked you, “How can I help Lake Ontario this year?”This is a common question for the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper team. Our suggestion? Make connecting to Lake Ontario a priority for 2019 and spend more time by the water. The first step to protecting Lake Ontario is connecting to the water. Connection before protectionYou can help Lake Ontario by spending time on the water. Here are some ideas to get…

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The price of salt: How road salts are affecting our Great Lakes

Around Lake Ontario, winter-weather forecasts bring out road salt. This means crunchy sidewalks, dog booties and salt-stained shoes. It also means severe impacts for Lake Ontario’s watershed and its aquatic life. When rain or snowmelt wash road salt (sodium chloride; Na-Cl) into storm sewers and water ways it causes a damaging spike in salinity. The image was taken by markgranitz. It illustrates the typical overuse of road salt on the sidewalks. Impact on Aquatic LifeIn…

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Reflecting on 2018: a letter from Mark Mattson, President & Waterkeeper

The Swim Drink Fish community punches above its weight. What it lacks in size, is made up for in heart. Your heart. Our heart. All our hearts. With your help and support, we conquered some of the biggest challenges to swimmable, drinkable, fishable water in 2018. We needed to make swimmable water a national priority. We did that. By working hard, staff and volunteers took thousands of water samples. Sharing these results we prevented many…

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Can sewers overflow in dry weather?

The conventional wisdom is that the combined sewers in the City of Toronto only overflow during storms. You may have heard this said so many times with so much conviction that you believe it’s true. But is it? Are storms the only reason for combined sewage spills? Looking at the results of the water samples from the inner harbour of Toronto, this “fact” might not be the whole truth. What is a “Combined Sewer”?Firstly, it…

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An Update on the Toronto Harbour Monitoring Report 3.0 and a Call to Action

Across the world, cities have embraced their waterfront and allowed the public to connect with the nearby water in their harbours and ports. The local connection to the ports and harbours in urban cities can be seen at the stunning swimming piers in the hearts of their urban centre. In Kingston, Ontario there is the Gord Edgar Downie Pier, in Oslo, Norway there is the Sørenga Seawater Pool and in Copenhagen, Denmark people can swim…

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Submission to Ontario government to protect integrity of Environmental Commissioner’s office

In November 2018, the Government of Ontario introduced Bill 57, Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018. The primary purpose of the bill is to implement the government’s fall economic statement. It is an omnibus bill that also amends other existing provincial laws, including the Environmental Bill of Rights. This submission, below, contains recommendations intended to protect the integrity and the purpose of the Environmental Commissioner’s office. Swim Drink Fish submission on Ontario's Bill 57…

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Are Sewage Spill Alerts and Real-Time Monitoring Coming to Ontario?

The Ontario government unveiled its Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Generations: A Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan this week. You can have your say through the Environmental Registry for public comment through to January 2019.Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a Swim Drink Fish Initiative, has yet to review the plan in its entirety, but understands through the summary on the registry that sewage spill alerts and real-time monitoring may be coming to Ontario communities. This action, is something…

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Are Sewage Spill Alerts and Real-Time Monitoring Coming to Ontario?

The Ontario government unveiled its Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Generations: A Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan this week. You can have your say through the Environmental Registry for public comment through to January 2019.Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a Swim Drink Fish Initiative, has yet to review the plan in its entirety, but understands through the summary on the registry that sewage spill alerts and real-time monitoring may be coming to Ontario communities. This action, is something…

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A letter to Mayor Tory about Waterkeeper’s Toronto Harbour Monitoring Report

On November 7, 2018, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper released its third annual Toronto Harbour Monitoring Report in front of Toronto’s vibrant waterfront community. At the launch event Waterkeeper presented its five recommendations for the City of Toronto as well as a letter to Mayor John Tory outlining the importance of those recommendations. Sixty five waterfront community members signed onto Waterkeeper’s letter to the mayor.The city is in a defining moment. It can embrace the harbour’s water…

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