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Unfortunately for those city-dwellers excited to get out and enjoy the weather at one of Toronto’s eleven beaches this weekend, officials are warning about high levels of E. coli at some of the most popular ones.

The City has a standard of a maximum of 100 Escherichia coli cells per 100 ml for water to be deemed safe to swim in — and tests show that Woodbine, Sunnyside and Kew Balmy Beaches are currently exceeding these ratios, and quite significantly so.


The E. Coli in Lake Ontario are pissed that they’ve been usurped by a bigger and badder microorganism this summer. No longer are they the infection conversation of Toronto patio parties.
— Amy (@calvertam) June 19, 2020

Kew Balmy is the worst culprit of the three, with E. coli levels measured to be more than six times the safe amount in recent days (the number now sits at 175, down from 611 on Thursday and 564 on Friday).

At Woodbine, levels reached as high as 473 per 100 ml on Thursday, and have since fallen to 129 — still not quite safe for swimming.

Sunnyside waters are registering 187 E. coli parts per 100 ml as of Saturday, which is high, but thankfully lower than a count of 578 the day prior.

Rouge Beach was also found to have unusually high levels of the bacterium on Thursday and Friday, though it was pronounced safe again on Saturday, with a count of 30, down from a high of 367.

Incidents of high E. coli levels are not actually all that uncommon on the shores of Lake Ontario, with beaches sometimes having to close multiple times each summer because of the risk, which increases after rainfall and flooding.

The main transmission route of the anaerobe is fecal-oral, so swimmers can make their own deductions about what E. coli in the water means about its cleanliness.

Infection with a bad strain of the stuff can leave you with some pretty unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms and can even trigger Crohn’s disease.


baby that’s not a beach that’s dirty Lake Ontario
— blm (@ladan_sometimes) July 19, 2020

Just earlier this month, Sunnyside logged a staggering 1,000 parts E. coli per 100 ml of water on its shoreline, while Cherry, Hanlan’s Point, Kew Balmy and Rouge have likewise seen high E. coli levels at least one other time in the past month and a half.



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