When Toronto's beaches were 'mainly' polluted and had 'no girl guards'

In the mid-1960s, Toronto's beaches were patrolled by an all-male lifeguard service. They were also polluted.

The lifeguard life was not as 'glamorous' as some thought in 1966

A look at lifeguard life in 1966

3 years ago
Duration 0:56
A CBC News reporter told viewers what it was like to work as a lifeguard in Toronto in 1966.

Life at the beach was different in Toronto back in the day.

For starters, all the lifeguards were male, as there were "no girl guards" being hired back when a CBC News reporter told viewers about their work in the summer of 1966.

And the job wasn't as "glamorous" as some believed, according to the same reporter.

"The summer lifeguard was always considered to have a glamorous position, because from up aloft the view is pretty good," viewers were told, as two women in swimsuits were shown on screen.

"And his well-built and virile tan were assumed to do the rest for him."

Some lifeguards worked the city's beaches, while others worked at city pools. (CBC News/CBC Archives)

Then there was the issue of placement. Some lifeguards worked at public swimming pools, while others were assigned to the beaches.

"Eighteen guards are stationed at the mainly polluted beaches in Toronto, where people are warned of the danger but cannot, by law, be forced out of the water," the reporter noted.

"Few go swimming here and instead of pretty girls, the lifeguards must be content to look at dead fish."

Ninety-four other guards were stationed at city pools.

Swimming was not recommended at some Toronto beaches back in 1966. (CBC News/CBC Archives)