Updated: Jan 8, 2021
Hi and welcome to the first blog post from Toronto Lakefront Community (TLC).
In summary, TLC members have a personal connection to the shores of Lake Ontario, within the city of Toronto. Our mission is for citizen stewardship of the lakefront. We pledge to keep the lakefront clean and safe for all to enjoy. We will work with our community partners and all levels of government to resolve issues related to the cleanliness and safety of the beach and the water.
Who we are and how we got started
First and foremost we are citizens of this wonderful city of Toronto. We are neighbours who love the beach and want to keep it clean. We are passive water users and we have a desire to be safe when we swim, paddle, sail, row or surf.
The TLC wheels were put in motion one day in November, when two like-minded individuals met on the beach and struck up a conversation. They discussed the presence of litter and garbage on the beach and what they, as citizens, could do about it. After brainstorming ideas, it didn’t take long to create a list of initiatives and assign priorities. In a very short time, Toronto Lakefront Community (TLC) was born.
I’m Jane, one of the founders of TLC, and by default, the main administrator of the group. I’ve lived in The Beach for over 20 years. I am an open-water swimmer and typically swim at Woodbine Beach, Kew Balmy Beach, or often east of the RC Harris Treatment Plant. Maybe you’ve seen my swim pals or me, with our bright fluorescent safety buoys trailing behind us. I love to kayak and my favourite route is from the Leuty Lifeguard Station, east towards the bluffs. Kayaking along the shoreline east of the treatment plant feels like you’ve left the city far behind. I have spotted deer coming to the shore to drink, early in the morning, around sunrise, when the lake is quiet and peaceful. The view from the water is stunning any time of year.
Through my love of open water swimming, I formed a connection to the lake, which in turn created a desire to be a steward of our precious resource. Since 2018 I have been part of a volunteer team that monitors the inner harbour. Through this work I developed a keen interest in water quality. My desire for clean water, naturally extended to the beach. Litter, garbage, cigarette butts, and plastics all contribute to poor water quality, because they can leach toxins and micro plastics into the water, not to mention that litter is unsightly. It’s safe to say that we would all prefer to live in a clean, safe environment.
No litter or garbage on the beach. No graffiti on rocks and concrete walls by the lake. No overnight camping, open fires, or loud parties that bother residents. Watercraft will operate far from shore, away from passive water users. There will be public access to the lake between the treatment plant and Bluffer’s park, for safety as much as anything else. No harmful chemicals or pesticides or too much salt will be used near the lake.
Our Initial Focus
Our focus is the lakefront from Woodbine Beach to Bluffer’s Park. The priority is the stretch of beach on the east side of the treatment plant, known informally to locals as ‘Secret Beach’. I was shocked to discover the frequency of overnight camping, fires, needles on the beach, noise, garbage and graffiti in what should be serene, pristine and natural. We want to change that and restore this stretch of beach to a natural state.
Where do we go from here
In the future, TLC plans to expand right across the city from the Humber to the Rouge.
Through various social media platforms and word of mouth, TLC is reaching out to you, our neighbours and friends, for support and commitment as active participants.
We hope you will be as energized as we are. We are just getting started, and remember, we all need TLC.
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