Last Summer, amidst the uncomfortable heat and our continued resolve not to get air conditioning, Danielle and I took to lake swimming. We primarily enjoyed dips at Richardson Beach and participated in Mass Swimm II at Breakwater Park, while both of these areas have seen minor swim-friendly upgrades in recent years, but remain largely ill-equipped and thus vastly underutilized. My recent exposure to swimming along Kingston’s waterfront has given me a better understanding of the infrastructure that’s in place, and it has led to some offline discussions pertaining to how and where local open water swimming areas should be improved. Why shouldn’t Kingstonians expect a return to our former swim-friendly heyday, where residents and visitors can safely flock to enjoy a dip and beat the heat a hot day? Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:
How would you improve Kingston's waterfront for swimmers?
- All of the Above (53%, 71 Votes)
- More Accessible Shoreline (35%, 46 Votes)
- Marked Swimming Zones (5%, 7 Votes)
- More Cleanup Efforts (4%, 5 Votes)
- More/Better Change Facilities (2%, 2 Votes)
- Supervised Swimming Areas (2%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 133
When it comes to getting new swimmers into Lake Ontario, the most common concern I’ve heard pertains to personal safety. This is a real concern for me as well, which is why I always swim with a buddy or two, wear water shoes to protect my feet and check water quality via the Waterkeeper Swim Guide before taking the plunge (get the app here). The latter is a relatively new resource, which crowd sources the reporting of pollution, as well as areas that are not recommended nor safe for swimming. Of course, personal safety extends far beyond water quality, as Kingston’s beaches, unlike municipal pools, are unsupervised and with minimal lifesaving equipment nearby.
On any given sunny Summer day, the potential of our waterfront is evidenced by the throngs of people found picnicking, kite surfing, and splashing around in the water and along the shoreline. I would love to see these sorts of activities grow as a result of real investments in infrastructure making our waterfront safer and more alluring to prospective swimmers. I see it as one of those ‘if you build it, they will come’ type of scenarios, with the possible addition of food trucks, buskers and everything you could hope for on a busy shoreline. Is it too much to ask that more resources be devoted to making the most out of Kingston’s most cherished resources? How would you improve Kingston’s waterfront for swimmers? Drop off you refreshing ideas below.
Thanks to squiddity of toronto for today’s photo, which has me dreaming about what Kingston’s waterfront could be.