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Splish, Splash: Heritage Pools

Feeling the heat this summer? Though this is a time filled with good things - road trips, ice cream, picnics and hammocks come to mind - the season can also leave you feeling uncomfortably warm.  But there is no need to loathe the heat and humidity, for there are ways to cool off, including going to a traditional swimming hole.  There is even likely to be a beach or a pool near you that has become a designated historic place. Check out the following places to see where you can enjoy a dip during the summer heat.

If you are near the East Coast this summer, chances are you'll have access to the many beaches bordering the Atlantic Ocean and the St. Lawrence Seaway.  However, if the thought of swimming in an unsupervised body of water filled with Queen's Square Pool, www.fredericton.ca / La piscine du parc Queen's Square, www.fredericton.cacrashing waves, sharp rocks, or lurking unknown water creatures doesn't leave you jumping with joy, then you can be at ease: there are many public pools available in somewhat more civilized locales. For example, go to Victoria Park located in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and you will find a truly magnificent summer playground.  Established in 1873 the park is at the heart of the community, holds numerous events, and has tennis courts, a waterfront boardwalk, a dairy bar, and an outdoor swimming pool. The pool is free and is open every day until 8 pm!

If you're in New Brunswick, check out the recently renovated pool in Fredericton's Queen's Square park; or if you're vacationing outside the city in Fundy National Park, you'll find a unique saltwater pool. The Saltwater Pool and Bathhouse consists of an outdoor heated pool, and has incorporated the natural cycles of the tides which supply the pool with saltwater from the Bay of Fundy.  It is open from Saltwater Pool and Bathhouse, Parks Canada / Pavillon de bain et piscine d'eau salée, Parcs CanadaJune to September until 6:45 pm. In recognition of the need for recreational facilities for summer visitors not wanting to take the plunge in ocean waters, Parks Canada built this pool as one of the first facilities in this national park, and the place has been in use since 1950.  The bathhouse building is a late example of rustic architecture used at buildings across the Canadian national park system from the late 19th to mid part of the 20th centuries.  If you are unable to make it here before closing time, the beaches at Bennet Lake and Wolfe Lake are only a short distance away and provide a great alternative.Swimming Pool RR22A, Department of National Defence, 2000 / Piscine RR22A, Ministère de la Défense nationale, 2000

During the summer, most cities and towns across Canada offer swimming hours at municipal pools that are open to the public at designated times.  One such place is Swimming Pool RR22A in Colwood, British Columbia. Constructed in 1959, the pool was part of a country-wide project to foster physical fitness. Built by the Canadian Armed Forces during a second phase of development at Royal Roads Military College (formerly Hatley Park, and later Royal Roads University and National Historic Site), the pool facility is now managed by the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and is mainly used by the university's faculty and students, but is also open to the local population of Victoria.

Sherbrook Pool, Historic Resources Branch, Manitoba Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport, 2007 / Piscine Sherbrook, Direction des ressources historiques, culture, patrimoine, et tourism du Manitoba, 2007Across Canada, the YMCA has had a long history of offering a variety of recreational programs, including aquatics activities in its pools (For more information about the "Y", check out  http://www.ymca.ca/). If you live in Winnipeg, for example, the YMCA building there was built in the downtown area in 1912 and one of its many amenities is a pool. To access the pool, membership is required, but an alternative is a simple day-pass. Other pool facilities in Winnipeg include the Art Deco Sherbrook Pool, built in 1930 as a public works relief project during the Great Depression. At the time of its construction, it was considered one of the finest pools in Western Canada, and its elegant features and facilities continue to attract people to this day.

If you have the urge to go swimming on a summer night, but you are in an area where the temperature drops quickly - such as in the Canadian Rockies - then youUpper Hot Springs, Parks Canada, Lynch, W., 1991 / Sources thermales Upper Hot Springs, Parcs Canada, Lynch, W., 1991 might want to visit a heated pool.   In Banff National Park, you could visit Upper Hot Springs Bath House, one of many such facilities in the park.  This historic place was built in 1931, and allows you to bathe outdoors at an altitude of 5280 feet because the waters are between 38 and 44 degrees Celsius.  Other features of note are its rustic Queen Anne Revival architecture and the picturesque backdrop of Mount Rundle. Open daily until 11 pm during the summer, the pool has naturally heated mineral water which offer additional soothing qualities. There is also a spa to take your relaxation time to the next level. And if you forget your swimsuit, you can always rent out a 1920s inspired suit!

We hope this selected list of pool facilities has inspired you in your hunt to cool off.  This summer, while you take your dip, you can reflect on the refreshing values - both historic and otherwise - pool facilities have to offer your community.