City welcomes summer sun, opens outdoor pools

The City of Toronto heralded the return of summer by opening 12 outdoor swimming pools on the weekend.

For many, the chance to cool off in one of them is an ideal way to recharge.

Teah Lauermeier says she’s excited for her first outdoor lane swim of the year at the Donald D. Summerville pool in the Beach on June 21. “It’s like a summer camp where I can feel energized after spending a few hours,” she says. (Beth Ford/Toronto Observer) (Beth Ford/Toronto Observer)

“It’s like a summer camp where I can feel energized after spending a few hours,” said Teah Lauermeier, a regular at the Donald D. Summerville pool in the Beach.

The 12 pools are running on a part-time schedule. Another 58 outdoor pools are set to open Saturday, also on a part-time basis. The pools are scheduled to run full time starting June 30.

In addition, 80 splash pads are already operating across the city and more than 100 supervised wading pools are set to open June 30.

“I would encourage all Torontonians to enjoy the many options they have to cool of this summer,” Toronto parks, forestry and recreation manager Brenda Patterson said in a statement. “Our outdoor pools, wading pools and splash pads are the coolest places to be.”

According to the Patterson, 1.6 million people used Toronto’s outdoor pools in 2010.

The Summerville pool, the only outdoor 50-metre pool in the city, caters to the 18-plus crowd each evening. The adult swim runs from 7 to 8 p.m. and is geared toward serious swimmers.

Lauermeier was once an employee at Summerville, often called the Olympic pool. She said she tries to come every night over the summer but prefers to lay low if there is a lineup, which is a common occurrence during heat waves.

“Sometimes, especially during the day, it just gets too busy,” she said. “People are jumping in and out of the pool and there is no room to swim.”

The designated lanes for swimming lengths are what attract her most, Lauermeier said.

“The fact that it’s a well equipped pool with friendly staff and it’s located in the heart of the Beach makes for a fun and exiting experience overall,” she said.