Gord Edgar Downie Pier featured in water safety video

The Gord Edgar Downie Pier at Breakwater Park is featured in a new water safety video from Swim Drink Fish. Rob Baker, guitarist with The Tragically Hip, narrates the video while sharing six tips for enjoying the swimming pier in Kingston, Ontario.

Rob Baker’s six water safety tips:

  1. Check the water quality before you swim.

  2. Scan your surroundings.

  3. Make a plan for getting in and out of the water.

  4. Never swim alone.

  5. Be considerate to make the experience better for everyone.

  6. Share your experience.

The creation of the Gord Edgar Downie swimming pier was part of the inaugural year of Great Lakes Challenge restoration projects. Swim Drink Fish, parent organization of Great Lakes Challenge, worked with The W. Garfield Weston Foundation to secure funds to create the pier and restore the surrounding Lake Ontario shoreline. The project was part of a multi-million dollar restoration effort at Breakwater Park led by the City of Kingston.

The Gord Edgar Downie Pier opened to the public in July 2018.

To watch the full video on Great Lakes Guide, click here.

Join Waterkeeper for water sampling at Breakwater Park

By: Hannah McDonald, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Summer Student

This summer I am working for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper as the Water Literacy Assistant in Kingston. Part of my job is to test water quality in popular swimming areas along the waterfront.

Each week, I sample water from points along Breakwater Park and the Wolfe Island Boat Club. Then I take the samples to the lab where it is tested. I take those results and post them on Swim Guide so that recreational water users can make informed decisions about using the water.

PRESS RELEASE: Swim Drink Fish Canada Celebrates the Groundbreaking of the Breakwater Park redevelopment

KINGSTON — Today the City of Kingston along with their project partners officially broke ground on the redevelopment of Breakwater Park, a part of the Kingston Waterfront Master Plan.

The W. Garfield Weston Foundation generously provided a $500,000 donation to Swim Drink Fish Canada to support renovations, that will include: a new park promenade, a pedestrian bridge, pier upgrades, steps and seating, shoreline works – including water access – landscaping and tree planting.

With another $1 million in financial support from the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, work on the project is beginning a year earlier than projected.

A key feature of the new Breakwater Park will be Lake Ontario’s only deep-water swimming pier. The pier will be named the “Gord Edgar Downie Pier” in honour of the musician, Kingston native, Swim Drink Fish Canada board member, and long-time champion for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable Lake Ontario. A naming ceremony will be held later this year.



“Breakwater Park represents the future of the Great Lakes. Sewage and industrial pollution should be things of the past. The Breakwater Park project shows how government, residents, charities, and businesses can come together and find creative ways to reconnect people to the water. Together, we will inspire a new generation of residents and visitors to know and care for their piece of Lake Ontario.”

– Mark Mattson, President & Waterkeeper, Swim Drink Fish Canada


“The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is proud to support projects that will improve the health and accessibility of the Great Lakes. Our Committee Chair, Mrs. Hilary Weston, is passionate and committed to supporting this cause. The City of Kingston’s Breakwater Park restoration project is a wonderful example of how community leadership and planning can lead to a vibrant urban waterfront.”

– Geordie Dalglish of the W. Garfield Weston Foundation


Media Contact:
Rebecca Harrison

Gord Edgar Downie Pier: Just Perfect

By Mark Mattson, President, Swim Drink Fish Canada

Last night the City of Kingston unanimously approved a resolution to honour Gord Downie by naming the deep water swimming pier in the new Breakwater Park redevelopment The Gord Edgar Downie Pier.

Most know Gord as a musician and member of The Tragically Hip, the Kingston band that created the quintessential Canadian soundtrack. However, Gord has also been a tireless champion and dedicated steward of Lake Ontario as a supporter and Board member of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper. Gord always considered himself a citizen of Lake Ontario. It was his experiences in the waters surrounding Kingston that have fueled his powerful sense of belonging and inspired him creatively for decades.

MEDIA COVERAGE: Breakwater Park Project Coming to Life in Kingston