People are struggling to book slots at outdoor swimming pools in Toronto
Now that Toronto's outdoor swimming pools are finally open for the season, residents have yet another summer activity to enjoy and a way to get some sweet relief from the a heat wave that has taken over the city — that is, if they can manage to nab a coveted time slot to do so.
Can we please go back to first-come, first-served at Toronto pools? Online registrations are completely booked up. This system favours those who get up at five am and reserve multiple spots. @JohnTory— Elyse Friedman (@elysefriedman) June 28, 2021
Like all such City-run activities amid the health crisis, people who've been aching for a leisurely swim and a day at the pool can't just show up and hope it isn't too crowded like in pre-COVID times — instead, they have to book a 45-minute time slot through an online reservation system.
Unfortunately, much like we saw with skating in the winter, it appears that slots on the hottest and most popular days are booking up quickly at the city's 59 outdoor pools, a few of which remain closed, have limited hours or are experiencing water quality issues that lead to cancelled sessions.
I waited until I was fully immune to book a swimming slot. Only to have it cancelled due to water quality issues. Rerouted to another pool only to be thwarted by there only being 8 walk-in slots. Cool story Toronto.— rochelle latinsky (@rochlatinsky) June 28, 2021
Some have taken to social media to complain that all slots at nearby pools get taken very early in the morning on a regular basis, leaving citizens frustrated — especially those with kids — and having to constantly tinker with the system each day looking for an open slot.
While some walk-up slots are available, it seems the demand for those are high and the lines long, leading to some calls for a better way of running things.
Hello @cityoftoronto @TOPublicHealth the system set up for skating slots last winter worked well for that, but does NOT work for outdoor pools. Urban residents need to cool off and avoid heat stroke, but this queue on the pavement at Alex Duff pool is a health risk. 🥵 #toronto pic.twitter.com/C03sNWsUy2— Emily Reid (@ms_christiepits) June 27, 2021
At the time of publication early Tuesday afternoon, 13 of the city's outdoor pools listed as open were showing no reservations through to Sunday, while a handful had only a few spots left.
Some pools on the list did have quite open availability as long as swimmers are okay booking a few days in advance, though they were notably locations outside of the downtown core, such as Smythe Park, Lawrence Heights Community Centre, Leaside Outdoor Pool, and Fairbank Memorial Park.
There was still at least one open slot at a couple of popular downtown sites like High Park, Sunnyside Gus Ryder Outdoor Pool and Park Lawn Park as of 12:30 p.m. today.
1 person just fainted. Plz return to last year’s walk-in system ASAP which was wonderfully run and people could step away and be in the shade when they waited for their upcoming slot.@TOPublicHealth @m_layton @kristynwongtam @joe_cressy @cityoftoronto @JohnTory @cityoftoronto pic.twitter.com/9N9JojFn2S— Emily Reid (@ms_christiepits) June 27, 2021
One thing to be thankful for amid the hunt for a pool session, though, is that the system for registrations is a much more updated and far easier to navigate one than the '90s-esque efun portal the city usually uses for such activities, making the process at least a tiny bit less enraging.
Also perhaps the fact that thanks to the pandemic, we're used to waiting in lineups for just about everything and getting our game faces on for hectic online queues.
Join the conversation Load comments