On a hot summer day, nothing is more refreshing than a dip in the pool.
Canada Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer and the City of Surrey is doing its part by taking the locks off their popular outdoor pools. Surreyâ€™s network of outdoor aquatic facilities has been serving residents for more than 40 years and they remain a go-to destination for kids of all ages.
â€œSwimming in an outdoor pool is a different experience,â€ said Jeff Holland, aquatics facilities manager for the City of Surrey. â€œThe outdoor pools are awesome and they have a lot of features and generate a lot of excitement. The outdoor pools represent a different type of swimming. When the sun is shining on a beautiful day and you are in the pool, itâ€™s a very pleasant experience.
â€œMost of our users are the kids and the outdoor pools represent a great opportunity to connect with the youth in our community and give them a chance to see the services that we offer. Itâ€™s also a great place to swim for the day and hang out and have fun with your friends in the sun.â€
Surrey operates a total of eight outdoor pools scattered throughout the city and each is located in busy parks for maximum exposure. The pools at Greenaway, Sunnyside and Bear Creek have been open since May 15 while the remainder â€” Hjorth Road, Unwin Park, Kwantlen Park, Holly and Port Kells â€” will open this weekend (June 28).
Surreyâ€™s outdoor pools have been a highlight of summer in the city since the 1960s and thousands of local residents have learned to swim in the facilities.
Greenaway pool in Cloverdale is also where Canadian Olympian Brittany Reimer took her first swimming lessons.
â€œThe outdoor pools were all built in the late 60s and early 70s so there are generations of families in Surrey who have been swimming in the outdoor pools,â€ Holland said. â€œA lot of people really care for that history and tradition and they like to see their kids taking swim lessons in the same pool that they did when they were younger.â€
Each pool offers swimming lessons in the morning followed by public swims in the afternoon and evenings. Summer swim clubs operate out of Bear Creek, Sunnyside and Greenaway pools, while others are used for birthday party rentals and summer camps. Depending on location, the swimming lessons offered can include life guarding and life saving programs.
Hjorth Road and Bear Creek also have dive tanks.
Of course one of the biggest drawing cards for the pools in addition to the lure of cool water on a hot day is the price for admission: free. There is no charge for the daily public swim sessions in Surreyâ€™s outdoor facilities, a practice that keeps the pools busy when the weather gets warmer.
â€œSurrey is one of the few communities that still has free swimming at all of our outdoor pools,â€ Holland said. â€œPublic swim times are offered seven days a week all the way through the summer until Labour Day. The pools are geographically located all across the city so a lot of people can walk or travel a very short distance to get to the facilities. Itâ€™s free to swim and that makes it very accessible to everybody.â€
Needless to say, free public swimming on a hot day is a very popular option for families.
â€œWe get thousands of people using our outdoor pools each year, both for the swimming lessons and the public swims,â€ Holland said. â€œOn the rainy days they can be a bit quiet, but when the summer sun breaks out and the temperature creeps into the high 20s, the public swims are really popular. There are lineups to get into all the pools, sometimes all the way out the door and along the fence.
â€œWhen the weather hits over 30 degrees, then we have to be prepared to accommodate a lot of people who want to use the pools.â€
Hours and programs vary by pool. For more information, visit www.surrey.ca.
Delta Parks and Recreation operates one outdoor facility in North Delta next to the North Delta Recreation Centre.
The pool is also heavily used with swimming lessons and a summer swim club in addition to the public swim times.
Surrey and North Delta outdoor pool facilities:
Bear Creek Park
13820 88th Avenue
17901 60th Avenue
15455 26th Avenue
10277 148th Street
10662 148th Street
13035 104th Avenue
19340 88th Avenue
6845 133rd Street
North Delta Outdoor Pool
11415 84th Avenue