This Way to the Beach


Ah, the beach, our summertime reminder that kids are happiest with simple play of their own design.
Ottawa beaches have been under fire lately, and with just cause. That accidental sewage dump back in 2006 is currently under investigation, so it’s no surprise that “beach confidence” is at an all time low. When high levels of E. coli are detected, other disease-causing organisms are likely to be present, and an innocent little swim can actually cause gastrointestinal disease, skin rashes, throat and ear infections.


That’s why we’re glad to know that Ottawa Public Health tests the water for E. coli bacteria on a daily basis. An official no-swimming advisory is issued if bacteria levels are over 200 E. coli per 100 millimetres of water or if they are over 100 E. coli per 100 ml of water tested on two or more consecutive days.

Swimming advisories are updated late in the morning, so the City recommends beachgoers call the Beach Information Line at (613) 580-6744, ext. 13219 to receive the most up-to-date reports. (Website updates sometimes take a little longer.) But even if you forget, the City uses a red flag/green flag system and one of them will always be prominently displayed at every city beach. Look for these when you arrive.

Ottawa families often head out to Meech or Lac Phillipe for the day, but truth be told, both tend to be very busy in the heat of the summer and we don’t always feel up to a big drive. Sometimes all we want is to pack up (we know it’s hard to travel light!) and just get somewhere, fast, and be able to turn around and return home if the clouds start to roll in.


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