The Best Public Swimming Pools in Toronto
The 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 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.
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."
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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