Cherry Beach looking west

A reminder to Torontonians – you don’t need to leave the city to enjoy a day at the beach. Any time of year. Not only are the City’s 11 supervised beaches extremely accessible (and free), they are even summertime swim-able. Most of the time. One of our favourites is Cherry Beach at the foot of Cherry St. (south of the DVP exit) in what is known as the Portlands.

Cherry Beach offers a quieter experience (in comparison to other east-side beaches and Centre Island). We love it for rock collecting, stone skipping and its beautiful views of downtown. And if you’re a dog-owner, there is no excuse. We’re told this is one of the City’s best off-leash dog parks. In the summer months, its a go-to spot for kayakers and kite boarders.

Here are some views from a Fall visit:


Getting there: Driving, due south along Cherry St. Loads of free parking. On TTC, take the southbound bus 72B from Pape station. On bike, follow the Martin Goodman Trail, a 56-km trail that goes from the Humber Bridge in the west to the Rouge River in the east.

Bring your own snack: You won’t find any coffee shops or stores in close distance (unless you want to stop off at T&T Supermarket on Cherry St.)

Go Swimming: Really. Lake Ontario may have a dirty reputation but the City’s commitment to water quality standards certifies its beaches under the internationally-regonized Blue Flag Program. (To score a blue flag a beach must be safe for swimming at least 80 per cent of the time and they are reassessed each season. From June to August, the City takes daily water samples from its supervised beaches and tests of E. coli. Check out how Cherry Beach measures up.)

Potty time: The Cherry Beach washrooms are closed (re-opening on April 15, 2014). The Cherry Beach Sports Fields washrooms are open until November 30th.

More play: The playground (or pirate ship) next to the Cherry Beach Sports Fields is sure to entertain. We’ve stopped by the turfed fields (when there isn’t a game on) to kick a ball around and do some kite flying. Paid parking only.

More beach time: Here is a map of all the City’s beaches and designated swimming areas. Get exploring!