Friday, 15 July 2011

Swimming in the St. Lawrence: Not So Crazy as You Might Think

As I write this, at shortly after 7 a.m., some hardy souls are gathering on a pier in Montreal's Old Port, getting ready for the Grand Splash. For the seventh year in a row, the group Montreal Baignade will take the leap to demonstrate that the St. Lawrence River, once so polluted at that point that you could walk in it, is now safe enough to swim in. The members argue that several more access point could and should be developed for public swimming.

The fact that there are four swimming beaches on the island now is a grand step forward. One of my first political actions here was with an anti-pollution group called STOP in the early 1970s, and an early campaign was aimed at getting better sewer treatment. The slogan was "You Can't Swim in the Water You Drink," underscoring the fact that Montreal's water supply is purified river water, but that at that point no beach was deemed safe for swimming.

That's progress, a bit of progress. And certainly with heat and humidity in the forecast for the next several days, it would be great to have more places to swim.

All right: it's approaching 7:45 a.m., the time set for the collective swim. On your marks, get set, GO...

Photo: Last year's Grand Splash, from Radio Canada file

1 comment:

Muzition said...

There are 4 beaches? I thought there were only 3 (Ile Ste-Helene, Ile-Bizard and Cap-St-Jacques.)