high park mineral baths

The history of the High Park Mineral Baths in Toronto

From 1913 to 1962 a dip in the High Park Mineral Baths restored health and wellness to Toronto residents and drew crowds on hot summer days in the city.

Dr. William J. McCormick opened the baths in 1913 for patients at the High Park Sanitarium. McCormick claimed a dip in the water would prevent illness and boost the immune system.

high park mineral baths

The mineral baths are seen in 1913 shortly after they opened. Photo via The Toronto Public Library

The baths were located just north of High Park between Quebec and Clendenan Avenues. By 1914, a streetcar ran on Bloor Street with a terminus near the baths.

high park mineral baths

A streetcar used to run along Bloor Street to take visitors to the baths.  Photo via The Toronto Public Library

"Going by in the streetcar, you could hear the yells and screams of children playing and jumping off the diving board," retired teacher and historian Doug Taylor told Toronto Life in 2018.

high park mineral baths

The baths, seen here in 1915, drew crowds.  Photo via The Toronto Public Library

The mansion that housed the High Park Sanatorium at 32 Gothic Avenue still remains, but is now converted into condos. The mineral baths, nicknamed the "Minnies", were removed in 1962 to make way for the Bloor-Danforth subway line.

high park mineral baths

The baths are seen in 1915. Photo via The Toronto Public Library

The pool water was sourced from a nearby spring and although originally private, the baths later opened to the public and were filled with crowds during the summer months.

high park mineral baths

The baths were popular until they closed in 1962. Photo via The Toronto Public Library

The water from the spring ran cold but it was heated for the bathers to about 22 C, Taylor, who died in July 2020, wrote in his history blog. In 1915, the rectangular-shaped pool was enlarged and opened to the public.

high park mineral baths

The High Park Mineral Baths were located across from High Park.  Photo via The Toronto Public Library

Different hours were reserved for men, women and mixed bathing and during the summer the baths were open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., according to Taylor.

The baths were advertised as the largest open-air tank in Canada with a capacity of 150,000 gallons. By 1917, a second pool was built and an old diving tower was replaced with diving boards.

high park mineral baths

The diving tower was replaced in 1917. Photo via The Toronto Public Library

After the expansion, the spring water wasn’t sufficient and was replaced with regular municipal water.

high park mineral baths

The High Park Mineral Baths Swim Team is seen in 1940. Photo via The Toronto Public Library

During the 1920s, the mineral baths remained popular and in 1924, they hosted the Olympic Swimming Trials.

high park mineral baths

The baths are seen in 1954.  Photo via The Toronto Public Library

By the 1960s Toronto was growing and a new subway line was planned. Land on the southwest side of the baths was needed for the subway construction so the pools closed in 1962.

Photos by

Toronto Public Library


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