Swimming pools in Toronto come in both indoor and outdoor varieties, though the best facilities are typically in the former category. These are places that offer a variety of programs for beginner swimmers all the way up to those seeking Bronze Medallion certification. The vast majority also reserve time for leisure and lane swimming.
Here are my picks for the top swimming pools in Toronto by neighbourhood.
You need to be a U of T student or have a membership to use the U of T Athletic Centre pool, but it's a great facility for swimming enthusiasts with three pools on the premise, an Olympic-sized main pool, plus a 25 metre option and a teaching pool. Membership fees vary considerably, though alumni receive deep discounts.
Memorable for its 5 and 10 metre diving platforms and its proximity to Woodbine Beach, Donald D. Summerville boasts an Olympic-size pool, a 25-metre training facility, and a diving pool. It's surprisingly quiet during the week and absolutely jam-packed on the weekend.
Bloor West Village
The Swansea Community Recreation Centre boasts a 25 metre pool that looks a lot newer than it is. This is a good spot for quiet lane swimming (one hour each day) and even has leisure swim times scheduled in the evenings on Thursdays and Fridays (a rarity).
The bright 25 metre pool at the Wallace Emerson Community Centre has a busy schedule of programming, but there are various times reserved each day for lane and leisure swimming, which are relatively quiet through the week. First Aid courses are also available at this pool just south of the Galleria Mall.
This is where the Pan Am swimming athletes trained during the 2015 Games in Toronto. Now home to the city's nicest YMCA, there are two pools at the Cooper Koo Family Centre. You'll need a membership to access the facilities (starts at $55 per month), but there's a dizzying array of classes and aquatic programs on offer here.
The Joseph J. Piccininni Community Centre features two pool, one indoor and one outdoor (technically named the Giovanni Caboto pool). The outdoor pool is monstrous and open in the evening and on weekends, while the indoor pool is home to variety of programs from children's lessons to recreational swimming hours.
Main Square Community Centre features a 25 metre pool with a soaring ceiling and windows that fill the room with light. You can take basic swim classes here or train for your Bronze Medallion. If laps are more your thing, three to four hours each day are reserved for lane swimming.
Along with Alex Duff, Alexandra Park is the most popular spot for late night pool-hoppers in Toronto, but it's also a lovely place during regular hours. If you're just looking to chill rather than do hardcore laps, the great thing about this pool is that it offers leisure swimming hours between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. each day.
The Etobicoke Olympium got a facelift for the Pan Am Games in 2015, and features an Olympic-size pool and a number of diving platforms as well as a smaller leisure pool. Swimming classes cater to everyone from beginners to those seeking Bronze Cross.
The public pool at High Park offers both lane and leisure swims, so you can opt to work out or veg out, depending on your interests. Once you've gotten your fill of swimming, you can indulge in a nature walk or visit the animals at the high park zoo free of charge.
The thing that sets Alex Duff apart from the rest is its two-storey water slide. Though it doesn't rival any of the sky-high slides at Canada's Wonderland or Wild Water Kingdom, it is fun, especially for the younger crowd. If you're not into that, there's also a diving board, warm conversation pool, and shallow splash area.
The Annette Community Recreation Centre has a small pool, but it's absolutely bustling with classes, from lifeguard certification to Aquafit to a variety of programs for children. About an hour each day is reserved for leisure swimming if that's more your vibe.
Leaside Memorial Gardens boasts a fully accessible 25 metre pool. There's daily lane swim times for adults, an array of classes and programs, plus leisure swims on weekends.
Jimmie Simpson has two indoor pools, one of which is primarily for kids (always a good thing for everybody). Along with certification programs, the facility offers leisure and lane swim hours throughout the week and weekends.
The York Recreation Centre is one of Toronto's nicest swimming and sports facilities. There are two pools on site, including one that's six lanes and 25 metres long and a shallow kiddie pool for the little ones.
The Douglas Snow Aquatic Centre boasts an Olympic size pool, a whirlpool, and an awesome waterslide. Drop in leisure swims and Aquafit classes are free and available throughout the week.
The Parkdale Community Recreation Centre has one of the most packed programming schedules in the city with classes of all types, but it's worth knowing that lane and leisure swimming here takes place in the evenings Monday through Thursday.
The relatively small Harrison Pool (20 metres) is located just north of Queen West at McCaul. Programs are free here, so it's a very good option if money is tight. Lane swimming is typically offered during the week on afternoons.
The Regent Park Aquatic Centre is an award-winning swimming facility that opened in 2012. Here you'll find a lap pool, leisure pool and warm water pool as well as a Tarzan rope, diving board, and water slide. This might be the nicest-looking pool complex in Toronto.
Don't think about swimming laps at the Wave Pool in Richmond Hill. This is all about the fun, with a 160 foot water slide and a huge swirlpool right beside the main wave facility.
There's been an outdoor pool at Sunnyside since 1925 when it was decided that the fledging amusement park needed an alternative swimming destination because Lake Ontario was just too cold. Now named after local swimming instructor Gus Ryder, it continues to be one of the busiest outdoor pools in the city.
The Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre is membership-based, but if you're a serious swimmer or diver, this is one of the premier facilities in Toronto. There are two 10-lane Olympic-size pools, a dive tank, and dry-land dive training facilities on site.
St. Clair West
Hillcrest Community Centre near Bathurst and St. Clair has a small pool that often gets overlooked by anyone other than area parents who've enrolled their kids in classes here. The good thing about that is that the lane and leisure swim times are often very quiet, which makes for a far more relaxing experience.
St. Lawrence Market
The St. Lawrence Community Recreation Centre has bright and modern 25 metre pool that plays host to a wide variety of classes and leisure swimming two hours each day between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
West Queen West
The Trinity Community Recreation Centre is a light-filled 25 metre pool with a favourable schedule for those looking to do lane or leisure swimming. It also offers the conventional mix of classes and programs for adults and children.
Yonge and Eglinton
The best swimming facilities in Toronto feature indoor and outdoor pools. Such is the case North Toronto Memorial Community Centre, where you'll find a top rate indoor pool (complete with a sweet waterslide) and a bustling outdoor option in the summer months. Both feature plenty of time dedicate to open swimming.
Yonge and College
The Central YMCA has a 25 metre main pool and a smaller training pool, which means that the programming here is robust. Yes, you have a lot of the senior-focused fitness classes and the standard lane swim hours, but there's also time reserved for recreational swimming, family swim, and more elaborate options like synchronized swimming.
by Derek Flack via blogTO