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Best of Toronto

The Best Public Swimming Pools in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / June 10, 2011

Swimming Pools TorontoThe best public swimming pools in Toronto are havens on those deliriously hot summer days. Not that I'm complaining about those deliriously hot summer days (well, not yet). These pools are easily accessible by car or transit, often have designated kid-friendly areas, and are generally cool, clean, and decent to look at. Best of all, unlike other Toronto cooling-off options such as hotel pools open to the general public, these pools of relief are absolutely free. Just bring along a quarter or two for a locker and perhaps some flip flops for the shower (because you never know just how clean "clean" actually is).

Here are the best public swimming pools in Toronto, as voted by the readers of this site.

Sunnyside Gus Ryder

Sunnyside Gus Ryder is a great summer pool because if you squint your eyes and pretend moderately hard, it can feel as though you're on some sort of tropical resort. Yes, some suspension of belief is required, but with views of the lake, sand, beach, and park nearby, you almost feel as though you've left Toronto when spending a day at Gus Ryder.

Alex Duff Christie Pits

Water slide! Which is, of course, observed nonchalantly through endless pairs of vintage Ray-Bans. Alex Duff Christie Pits pool draws both families and hip weekenders to its 25m lap pool, kiddie pool, and massive hot tub, which is officially dubbed a "warm conversation pool."

High Park

The question at High Park's outdoor pool each year is always whether its curvy yellow slide will be open to satiate the yearnings of child (and child-like adult) swimmers. Nevertheless, High Park boasts both regular and kiddie-sized pools, and free parking nearby if you can snag a spot.

Riverdale

Riverdale pool on Broadview, much like Sunnyside, is great for its phenomenal view (and no, I'm not talking about the bathing suit-clad patrons...sickos). The fairly large-sized pool has a wate rslide, and is also close to fields and tennis courts for when you want to switch up the activity.

Trinity Community Recreation Centre

This one is for those rainy days. The Trinity Community Recreation Centre boasts an indoor pool, along with a gym, track, and weight room. The pool space is drenched in lots of natural light and offers lane, leisure, and preschool swim.

Douglas Snow

Douglas Snow is another indoor pool located up at Yonge north of Sheppard. In my experience, the Douglas Snow pool is usually a bit warmer than most other Toronto pools, which is something a toe-dipper such as myself always appreciates. Great for both laps (50-metre lanes) and leisure.

Jimmie Simpson

There are two pools in Jimmie Simpson park at Queen and Logan; a full-sized pool for laps, aquafit, free swim and more, and a kiddie pool. Both are indoors and boast many improvements since the park received $1 million in renovations last year.

Eglinton Park/North Toronto Community Memorial Centre

I remember many a summer loathing the closed status of the Eglinton Park outdoor water slide. Thankfully, there was still the choice of outdoor or indoor pool to (somewhat) placate my distress. The pools here host instruction, aquafit, and bustling free swim programs.

DD Summerville

The Donald D. Summerville outdoor pool at Woodbine Park is great for diving. While some Toronto pools prohibit jumping in headfirst, this one begs a little adventure with its 5m and 10m diving boards. Offers a great view of the lake from up there, too.

Monarch Park

Monarch Park hosts outdoor swimming at its 25m pool southwest of Danforth and Coxwell. With a separate wading pool for kids, the Monarch Park pool offers leisure and adult sessions, instruction, plus a two-storey high waterslide.

Olympium

Etobicoke Olympium is another indoor pool, but this one can be divided into two pools using a moveable bulkhead. Beyond the regular free and instructional swim, this pool hosts waterpolo, diving, synchronized swimming and more, which offers something to watch if you don't feel like taking a dip.

Joseph Piccininni Community Recreation Centre

One of the few public indoor pools in Toronto offering female-only swims. The pool at the Joseph Piccininni Community Recreation Centre at St. Clair and Lansdowne has a schedule that also includes lane, leisure, fitness, and instructional swim.

Kiwanis/Stan Wadlow

The Kiwanis pool at Stan Wadlow Park has had its fair share of renovations over the past few years, but $1.1 million later, it now boasts a resurfaced pool, new deck, upgraded change rooms, a water slide, and a new splash pad. Located at O'Connor Drive and Woodbine.

Leaside Memorial

Leaside Memorial Pool is fully accessible with wheelchair lift, elevator to the pool, and accessibly change rooms, which means it can offer respite for anyone and everyone needing a break from the heat. The 25m pool has three wide lanes, and is known for rarely being overcrowded.

Mary McCormick

The Mary McCormick indoor pool is part of a fitness facility at Dufferin and Dundas that has a gym, studios, free weights, and more. The 25yrd pool hosts leisure and instructional swims, visible from its large (sort of creepy-sounding) viewing gallery.

Top photo by DdotG in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

76 Comments

oh hai / June 10, 2011 at 09:57 am
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That picture is le awkward.
Betty / June 10, 2011 at 10:00 am
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The kids at Christie Pitts are the biggest bunch of spoilt brats I've ever seen. I feel for the poor lifeguards who are constantly yelling at them for generally making things unpleasant for everyone else. For a more enjoyable day by the pool head to Alexandra Park (Bathurst/Dundas) instead, it's like night and day.
Margot / June 10, 2011 at 10:00 am
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Any non-chlorine options?
hokay / June 10, 2011 at 10:01 am
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I agree with you!
Erin / June 10, 2011 at 10:13 am
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My fave is Scadding Court at Bathurst/Dundas - 'cept it's closed this month for the annual 'go fishing' event (they fill the pool with fresh water and trout and bring kids in to fish!) and maintenance. Beautiful wooden ceiling in the shape of rolling waves...plus it's one of the city's few free pools.
Ali / June 10, 2011 at 10:29 am
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Would be great to show these on a map like other 'Best of Toronto' posts.
cultureshot / June 10, 2011 at 10:32 am
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Wow - that picture kind of caught me off guard. Bam! Underwater vag.
dee / June 10, 2011 at 11:04 am
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Seriously, there's no better photo than a close up of someone's crotch?

Also - it would have been helpful to categorise these by region (north/east/west/south) and by whether they are an indoor pool or an outdoor pool.
Meneses / June 10, 2011 at 11:12 am
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Anybody notice that Mickey Mouse's feet are in this picture? LOL!!!
Elle Em replying to a comment from Margot / June 10, 2011 at 11:19 am
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Not sure if this helps, but the pool at the JCC is a saltwater pool. You may want to check about the chlorine there.
uncannyrt / June 10, 2011 at 12:31 pm
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Odd picture. I wouldn't want Mickey standing on my crotch even if it was in a cool pool on a hot day, word. Also is Gus Ryder gonna be open this summer?
mo replying to a comment from oh hai / June 10, 2011 at 12:32 pm
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agreed!
Bubba replying to a comment from oh hai / June 10, 2011 at 01:22 pm
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it's just a bit disturbing, and why is she kneeling?
mike in parkdale / June 10, 2011 at 02:18 pm
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disturbing?

it's a person's legs in a pool, and a decent bit of framing / composition at that.

sometimes a cigar is just a cigar
Anya / June 10, 2011 at 03:57 pm
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Picture is a little lewd. I get the artistic feature, but sometimes a crotch shot is just that. puke
akswun / June 10, 2011 at 05:48 pm
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tell me its the water refracting that light and causing the groin area to look a bit engorged... weed wacker anyone?

Oh yeah and pools in Toronto... :/
realc / June 10, 2011 at 06:30 pm
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Do you prudes not wear bathing suits? The pic is fine. also, its kinda hot.
Morontonian / June 10, 2011 at 07:04 pm
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"Where's your bathing burka, whore?"

People are silly.
P / June 10, 2011 at 07:21 pm
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Pic needs moar cameltoe
Dev / June 10, 2011 at 09:22 pm
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Map please!
Fantomex / June 11, 2011 at 12:19 am
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I love this picture for the bare feet...
m / June 11, 2011 at 10:09 am
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and if they could keep the chlorine down it would be even better! too bad you have to pay for the jcc.
also in the summer time these pools are so often closed for:

1) maintenance - they keep having to shock the pool. seriously, this happened to me 5 times last summer (out of 8 times i tried to go swimming).
2) shift change for staff (2 times out of 8)
3) pool is at capacity (1 time - it was a seriously hot day)
4) winter pool hours are ridiculous - short windows of opportunity for use and water temperature that equals arctic conditions.

i have lived in several cities and countries in my life and i have never experienced more pool closures for more ridiculous reasons. i understand funding is a problem but there is just something about toronto that precludes any kind of meaningful service that people can use..
Broken Record / June 12, 2011 at 01:04 am
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Must repeat: weird choice for a picture. It would be great to see pictures of the pools.
Josh / June 12, 2011 at 04:43 pm
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Swimming pools, brought to you by American Apparel.
whitney / June 12, 2011 at 10:29 pm
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I like the photo, and the bathing suit. However, I cant tell if its a child or not...and that kind of creeps me out. I hope it isnt.
agentsmith replying to a comment from Meneses / June 13, 2011 at 10:26 am
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Mouse-toe!
snckson / June 14, 2011 at 10:01 am
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Photo by mike feswick

www.flickr.com/photos/feswick

baithing suit is a mickey mouse original from the land of israel

model is a grown woman of the world (me) I cant believe this blogger stole dis photo
notice the comments on the photo not the blog itself cause feswick is SOOO talented. :D
larry / June 14, 2011 at 10:33 pm
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this picture is STUNNING, Mike Feswick is very talented. and so is the tumbok beesong.

i can't believe the photo was taken with out credits or permissions. INSANE.

i also can't believe there is nobody moderating these comments.
TimFr / June 15, 2011 at 01:26 pm
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I used to like Douglas Snow when I was a kid, but the temperature of the water makes it almost impossible to do laps there. After a while, the warm temperature makes me want to throw up.

Gabe / June 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm
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its all about alexandra park. Probably one of the best places in the world.
Pioneer Pools / June 23, 2011 at 09:45 pm
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Wow nice photo.. Pretty direct to the girl hahahaha .. Well seems nice pool. Love public pools but as what one comment here Spoiled kids pissed me of so better have a private pool. Had mine made by Pioneer Pools and its great.
Juan Tomas / July 3, 2011 at 07:31 pm
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I just do not understand what you meen with dis "tambok beesong"

Is it some type of honey donut? You say. I dont get dis blog either, but i like picture very much and the pools in Toronto are vary clean. Mike Feswick blog too is nice, i like vacationing in Toronto World Class city!!!!
KP / July 7, 2011 at 04:22 pm
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nice crotch-shot!
bongo / March 5, 2012 at 05:46 pm
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Christie Pitts is horrible for anyone who actually wants to swim. In the main pool (which has at least some meaningful amount of length) the deepest part only seems to be about 3 feet. Doing a front crawl, my hands hit the bottom of the pool the entire length. And they told me the whole place was re-done a few years ago and it used to be a proper large lap pool. It's definitely a wading situation for kids, more summer lounging than anything. Overall Toronto's swimming situation is pretty bad... so many people are being stuffed into downtown but there's no talk about expanding or building more community centres. Every evening the indoor pools are jam packed head-to-toe with lap swimmers. Increase the fee's, please! Or how bout let's finally clean up the lake?
Rick / May 25, 2012 at 01:28 pm
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Does anyone know if wearing a thong swimsuit is acceptable in Toronto pools?
hi, i'm stereo mike replying to a comment from Rick / May 25, 2012 at 02:14 pm
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Only if you've got a bushy box.
Bob Caygeon / June 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm
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Interesting photo choice.
MC / June 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm
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Joseph Piccininni Community Recreation Centre also has an awesome outdoor pool. Huge!
_n / August 3, 2012 at 09:20 am
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I do wish Toronto pools didn't cater so much to children and the school schedule.
Kaija / August 7, 2012 at 08:10 am
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Thanks to those who mentioned the Alexandra Park pool...hands down the best TO pool I've found so far :)
Westender / August 7, 2012 at 09:10 am
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OK.. I'm in total shock but I don't know how Giovanni Caboto outdoor pool near the Joseph Piccinini pool was missed. I mean hey.. the thing is Olympic sized and it has a monster slide (when it is working). Egregious mistake... blogto!
hollar / August 21, 2012 at 04:10 pm
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on a scale of one to Vancouver, these pools are a 2.
COSPLAY / September 26, 2012 at 11:37 pm
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Would be great to show these on a map like other 'Best of Toronto' posts.
Bongo / November 2, 2012 at 11:56 am
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Toronto Underwater Hockey Club
http://www.meetup.com/Toronto-Underwater-Hockey-Club
Superdifficult / May 3, 2013 at 06:34 pm
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What's with the vagina picture? Seriously that's perverted.
Lyle / May 8, 2013 at 08:55 am
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Wtf is with the image? i thought blogTO was above this, is the editor or photographer a closet pervert?
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wonderful paragraph at at this place.
Jenn / August 21, 2013 at 06:45 pm
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List of warm water pools in Toronto here: http://www.toronto.ca/311/knowledgebase/90/101000050790.html
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Chantelle / May 14, 2014 at 11:19 am
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This article was written before Regent Park Aquatic Centre opened. Regent Park Aquatic Centre is an indoor pool with sliding glass walls that open in warmer months. There is also a kiddy pool, water slide and co-ed change rooms. They offer leisure and lane swim.
wafa / May 24, 2014 at 11:36 am
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i live in Pickering. . ontario . . .does anyone know any free pools to where i live thank you.
Abul / June 8, 2014 at 03:48 pm
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I am looking for some deep swimming pool. deeper than 2 floors,
Frank / July 2, 2014 at 04:22 pm
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As a kid I would visit my grand-parents in Toronto. I've been to the Sunnyside Gus Ryder pool a few times with them. I loved it there!
Cynbad / August 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm
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Mary McCormick is a designated warm water pool. If you're looking to take a refreshing swim, skip this pool.

Main Square CC also has a very nice pool with tons of natural light. I also enjoy St. Lawrence for lane swim as the temperature of the water is quite cool and ideal for laps.
COMWAVESUCKS / August 3, 2014 at 05:53 pm
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3 year old recycled BlogTO article.... #shemeful
KMac / August 3, 2014 at 06:13 pm
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LOL Scarborough pools get the shaft again....
Shirley / August 3, 2014 at 06:25 pm
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Are there any public salt water pools?
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It is really wonderful place. I am so excited to visit this post. Thanks for share something about this awesome pool.
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