The history of swimming in Toronto as told in photos
Opportunities for taking a reprieve from the summer heat in Toronto back in the day were few and far between. Short of standing directly in front of fan or heading down into a dark basement, the only way to escape the heat was to hit a pool or the lake.
Perhaps it's not surprising then that the Toronto Archives is chock full of images of people bathing, as was the more common parlance a century ago.
Whether it be on the Toronto Islands or at Sunnyside, two of the city's prime destinations for water-based activity, there are scores of images that demonstrate just how important public swimming was prior to around the 1970s or so, when more and more suburban homes were outfitted with private pools and air conditioning started to become more common in general.
Although I certainly wouldn't want to turn off the AC right now, there's something rather romantic and exhilarating about the prospect of getting so frustratingly hot that one must simply surround himself with water just to remain sane.
In honour of that past reality, here's a little history of swimming in Toronto. May it remind you at once of the joys of air conditioning and what we lost when it became ubiquitous.
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