After countless summers being defeated by the city of Toronto website, we broke down and made a list: Hiding somewhere in your ‘hood, there’s an outdoor swimming pool. Whether you like your sunny afternoons surrounded by carousing kids, or on a rooftop with a cocktail in hand, here are the best outdoor pools in the city, both public and private, and when they offer leisure swim.
THE FAM JAM POOL:
Alex Duff, aka Christie Pits, 779 Crawford St.
You can leisure swim the evening away til 8 pm every day at Alex Duff, on the weekdays they open at 10 and on the weekends at noon. There’s a Baskin Robbins right across the street, so let your hair dry while you slurp an ice cream cone and watch a baseball game in the park. This is the pool for you if you’re looking to relive your youth with nostalgic swims surrounded by little kids, sunbathing teenagers, cranky lifeguards, and grinning hipsters.
THE COOL KIDS POOL:
Alexandra Park, aka Scadding Court Pool, 275 Bathurst St.
You can swim from noon-8 pm every day, then stroll up into Kensington Market to dry off.
Rain date: A cask pint at Magpie, 831 Dundas St. W.
THE SEE AND BE SEEN POOL:
The Thompson Hotel, 550 Wellington St. W., Toronto
Think you need a room key to get up to the Thompson’s beautiful rooftop infinity pool? THINK AGAIN! Head on up, order yourself an afternoon cocktail, and rip off your clothes. Mmmmm, heaven.
THE YOU-MIGHT-AS-WELL-MOVE-IN POOL:
The Sheraton Hotel, 123 Queen St. W.
With poolside wifi, a hot tub, bar, and sauna, you can post up at the Sheraton all day long. Sounds like a great office to us.
THE ESCAPE TO NATURE POOL:
High Park, 1873 Bloor St. W.
High Park has leisure swim from 12-3:45 pm and 5-6:45 pm. They also have separately scheduled camp swims, so you’re less likely to be tripping over a ton of little kids.
THE SECRET POOL:
Stanley Park, 845 King St. W.
Shh, don’t tell! This pool is a well-kept downtown secret, the only drawback of which is that on really hot days, the smell of the nearby abatoir (that’s a slaughterhouse, for those of you who didn’t know.) drifts on a summer breeze to assault your nostrils with the stink of pork. But other than that, this pool rules. Leisure swim from 12-8 pm every day.
THE SUCH GREAT HEIGHTS POOL:
Riverdale Park West, 550 Broadview Ave
This pool sits up on a hill, with a stunning view of Riverdale Park and the forested Don Valley sweeping North towards the Bloor Viaduct. As well, there’s always a good crew of men in thongs for your viewing pleasure. Leisure swim is every day from 12-7 pm.
THE IF-YOU’RE-LUCKY POOL:
Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Toronto Island
It’s one of the best pools in the city, but you can only go there if you know someone with a membership. Start buttering up kindly strangers in boat shoes now, and maybe you’ll earn yourself an invite by the end of the summer.
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