New citizen science water monitoring hubs open for the summer, announces Swim Drink Fish

Toronto, Ontario

July 4, 2019


Three citizen science water quality monitoring hubs are now testing the water and sharing water quality results with swimmers and boaters on the Great Lakes through Swim Guide, a free app and website. 


The water quality monitoring hubs were created by Swim Drink Fish with 1.8-million dollars in funding assistance from Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Great Lakes Protection Initiative. Volunteers help hub coordinators collect water samples in places where people swim, boat, and hold ceremonial activities. Swim Drink Fish analyzes the samples and tells the community if the water meets established standards for recreational water quality. The results are published in the Swim Guide ( or download the app from Apple and Android). 


These hubs are part of a four-year demonstration project meant to engage underserved communities on the Great Lakes in water quality monitoring, data-sharing, and stewardship. Swim Drink Fish’s goal is to invent a scalable, sustainable model for ongoing water quality monitoring in Great Lakes communities. The hubs are also supported in part by the Anishinabek Nation and IDEXX.    


Swim Drink Fish established the first monitoring hub in downtown Toronto through its Lake Ontario Waterkeeper initiative. The second hub launched in the fall of 2018 on Manitoulin Island and is hosted by  Zhiibaahaasing First Nation. The third hub was established in Spring 2019, on the north shore of Lake Erie in the Niagara region. The Lake Erie – Niagara hub is hosted by the Niagara Coastal Community Collaborative and Niagara College, and will be located at the college’s Niagara-on-the-Lake Campus. Samples will be collected weekly in Niagara and Zhiibaahaasing First Nation and twice a week in Toronto. Local residents can volunteer or donate to support the monitoring hubs by visiting www.swimdrinkfish/citizen-science


Swim Drink Fish is a Canadian charity connecting people with water. 



“Most people believe the Great Lakes should be protected, but they don’t know what to do. The new monitoring hubs give people the knowledge and tools they need to better understand the health of the places they love to swim and boat. By promoting transparency and public participation, we can ultimately ensure swimmable, drinkable, fishable water for everyone.”

– Mark Mattson, President & Waterkeeper, Swim Drink Fish


Quick Facts

  • The first of the six hubs was established in downtown Toronto and has been operating since 2016. 

  • In 2018, the Toronto Hub had 202 volunteer citizen scientists come out to help sample the waters in the Toronto Harbour.

  • Three additional hubs will be rolled out in 2020 and 2021. Two hubs will be established in First Nation communities in consultation with the Anishinabek Nation.

  • These hubs are supported by Water Rangers, utilizing the Water Rangers kits and app.

  • The Great Lakes are one of the world’s largest repositories of freshwater: They contain 20 percent of the world’s surface freshwater.

  • The Great Lakes contain one of the most diverse ecosystems on earth—sustaining 4000 species of plants and animals.

  • The Great Lakes Basin provides a source of drinking water for one in four Canadians and one in ten Americans.

  • The Great Lakes region represents the third-largest economy in the world, if measured as a country. It supplies 51 million jobs or nearly 30 percent of the combined American and Canadian workforce. 

  • Swim Drink Fish also operates a monitoring hub in Vancouver, as part of its Fraser Riverkeeper initiative.

  • Swim Drink Fish is a registered charity established in 2001 to restore swimmable, drinkable, fishable water. It is home to initiatives including Swim Guide, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, The W. Garfield Weston Foundation’s Great Lakes Challenge, Watermark Project, Fraser Riverkeeper, North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper, and Great Lakes Guide.

  • This project was undertaken with financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.

  • Ce projet a été realisé avec l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada agissant par l’entremise du ministère fédéral de l’Environnement et du Changement climatique.






Matt Brown

Communications Manager

Swim Drink Fish

(416) 861-1237 ext. 6288 


Jessica Gordon