Tourists, businesses excited Cabot Beach is now open to swimmers

The beach had been closed to swimmers since June 2020.

'Everybody is very excited, and when I say everybody, not just in Prince Edward Island'

Cabot Beach had been closed to swimmers since last summer. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

Tourists and businesses around Cabot Beach Provincial Park are celebrating the reopening of their local beach.

The province closed the beach to swimming in June 2020 because dredging had created currents that could pull swimmers into the path of fishing boats.

This year, dredging took place farther away from the beach, but the province said the water still wasn't safe. That's until a couple of storms moved the sandbars, slowing the current and making it safe for people to swim. 

The beach officially opened to swimmers again at 10 a.m. on July 30. Now, the local campground is seeing an increase in business.

"The phone has been ringing off the hook," said park officer Deborah Kerr. 

"Everybody is very excited, and when I say everybody, not just in Prince Edward Island — New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario. The calls have been phenomenal." 

Kerr said some people cancelled their trips over the past year because the beach was closed to swimmers. She hopes the reopening will bring those visitors back to the park. 

'The perfect spot'

Zac Medeiros from Montreal was there with his family on Tuesday. He said it's tradition for his family to visit the beach.

Children play in the sand at Cabot Beach Provincial Park, which reopened to swimmers on July 30. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

"Every summer we drive from Montreal to here. It's our favourite beach," he said.

Medeiros said his family was "really happy" when they found out the beach was open to swimmers again. He said the presence of a lifeguard at the beach also makes it a safe area for his children to play.

"It's the perfect spot."

Benefit to local business

Local businesses are also happy about the beach reopening to swimmers. Jeff Caseley opened Malpeque Bay Kayak Tours last year. He said business was "really quiet" while the beach was closed for swimmers, but that changed at the end of July. 

Jeff Caseley, owner of Malpeque Bay Kayak Tours, says business picked up as soon as the beach reopened to swimmers. (Wayne Thibodeau/CBC)

"The first really nice day after they announced that the park would be opening, the parking lot was packed. I came back from tour and there was probably 200 people down on the beach," said Caseley. 

"That was probably more than we had all of last year." 

Because severe storms can cause sands to shift, provincial park staff said they will continue to monitor the swimming conditions at the beach.

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With files from Wayne Thibodeau