Beach season hits Ottawa, Gatineau with a splash

All five beaches in Ottawa and six of seven in Gatineau are open Saturday for the first weekend of swimming. Here is a list of the beaches, as well as an explanation as to what decided if they close.

11 of 12 beaches in National Capital Region ready for opening weekend

Eleven of 12 beaches in the Ottawa-Gatineau region are open, including Petrie Island in Orleans, for the inaugural weekend of the 2013 summer season. This beach also hosted the CARIVIBE festival. (Photo courtesy of Orleans Chamber of Commerce)

All five beaches run by the City of Ottawa are open today for the first time this season, plus six of the seven beaches in Gatineau are ready for swimming.

In Ottawa, lifeguards will monitor the beaches from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Saturday until Aug. 18.

Here's a quick rundown of the beaches along the south shore of the Ottawa River and how they tested Friday (for Saturday's opening):

  • Britannia Beach: 19 E. coli per 100 millilitres of water.
  • Mooney's Bay: 35 E. coli per 100 ml of water.
  • Westboro Beach: 11 E. coli per 100 ml of water.
  • Petrie Island East Bay Beach: 41 E. coli per 100 ml of water.
  • Petrie Island River Beaches: 43 E. coli per 100 ml of water.

Ottawa Public Health collects beach samples every day and they take between 18 and 24 hours to process at the lab. That means beach closures are decided based on the previous day's test results.

A no-swimming advisory is issued in Ottawa when:

  • Bacteria levels are higher than 200 E. coli per 100 milliltres of water tested for one day.
  • Bacteria levels are higher than 100 E. coli for two or more consecutive days.
  • After significant rainfall (24-hour advisory).

Leamy Lake beach closed due to high water levels

Six of the seven beaches in Gatineau Park also opened on Friday. 

The only exception is Lac Leamy, which currently has high water levels "that could put lifeguards and swimmers at risk." The opening of that beach is delayed.

Here's a list of the beaches open to the public, which lifeguards will monitor from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Labour Day weekend:

  • O'Brien beach at Meech Lake.
  • Blanchet beach at Meech Lake.
  • Breton beach at Phillippe Lake.
  • Parent beach at Philippe Lake.
  • Smith beach at Phillipe Lake.
  • La Pêche beach at La Pêche Lake.

All the Gatineau beaches tested "excellent" on June 2, according to the National Capital Commission. These beaches are closed if bacteria levels are 500 E. coli per 100 ml.

Take our poll