The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup looks back on cleaning the country, from top to bottom, left to right.

Canada is a country molded by shoreline; we have more of it than any other nation in the world. Thousands of lakes, rivers, and streams carry litter to over 243,000 kilometres of saltwater shoreline across Canada. That’s a lot of ground to clean, but the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup volunteers were up to the task.

Volunteers conducted 1,849 shoreline cleanups so far this year, or five cleanups per day.

Cleanups took place in every province and territory, in all seasons, and on all types of shorelines. Site Coordinators (community members who sign up to help their shoreline) led cleanups in every corner of the country. Here are the most northern, eastern, southern, and western cleanups conducted in 2017:

                Geographic   Extreme


Location Group Name  Number of Participants Weight of litter (kg)
Northern Stanner’s Harbour, Nunavut Netsilik School 350 2500
Eastern Quidi Vidi Lake, Newfoundland and Labrador


28 10
Southern Pelee Island, Ontario Pelee Island Volunteers 29 300
Western Yukon River, Yukon Friends of McIntyre Creek 20 75

No two shorelines are the same, and yet they are all connected. Litter can travel hundreds of kilometres through interconnected waterways. That trash from Canada’s interior can make its way to the ocean and wash up on the most remote coasts, like the northern BC island of Haida Gwaii or Sable Island off Nova Scotia where wild horses roam.

Here’s a recap of the types of shorelines we cleaned this year:

  • 508 ocean, inlet, or bay shorelines (27%)
  • 572 lake or pond shorelines (31%)
  • 114 areas with no water body present (storm drains are shorelines too!) (6%)
  • 622 river, stream or creek shorelines (33%)
  • 33 wetland, marsh or swamp shorelines (2%)

One of the most southern beaches cleaned in Canada was on Pelee Island, Ontario.

Volunteers conducted 1,849 shoreline cleanups so far this year, or five cleanups per day! And if that isn’t impressive enough, they cleaned over 2,710 km of shorelines — that’s equivalent to circling Prince Edward Island more than two times!

The final litter data of the year is still rolling in, so stay tuned as we announce the 2017 Dirty Dozen List in 2018.  Will cigarette butts, food wrappers, and plastic bottle caps top the list again?

A huge thank-you to the nearly 60,000 volunteers who participated in a shoreline cleanup this year. Your efforts made our waterways healthier for the wildlife and communities that call them home.

Registration for 2018 cleanups is already open. Litter is just as likely to be tossed away in January as it is in July, so it’s always a good time to clean your shoreline. You can register your next cleanup at See you on the shorelines next year!



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3 Responses

  1. Jay Trotter

    Yes, I would so deeply wish to be active in a shoreline cleanup in eastern Canada near Mississauga ON. This may involve as a Volunteer -Educating people as well as any Volunteering work needed for all areas where Water meets shoreline . Please put me to good use.


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