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There are precious few hotels that offer day passes for swimmers looking for less public ponds. But the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel will let you use the pool, hot tubs, showers, and workout facilities for $15 ($10 gets you the shower and sauna).
Toddlers dance in the jet-streams and older children hose down hapless bystanders with their Super Soakers. Our two favourite water parks were chosen for their picturesque surrounds as much as their playground cred.
Spray Park at Grandview Park1657 Charles St.Hours: 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.Day it closes: August 28.Who goes there: East Van stay-home dads and topless toddlers.
Granville Island Water Park1318 Cartwright St.Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday.Day it closes: September 7.Who goes there: Young workaholics squeezing quality time in with children named Emma and Toby.
Best place to butterfly is Kits Pool—at 137 metres, it’s the longest outdoor pool in Canada (plus it’s open early enough for pre-work laps). But we’re including Second Beach for the helpful accompaniment of those occasional sunset drum circles.
Kits Pool2305 Cornwall Ave.Hours: 7 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Mon to Fri; 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. Sat, Sun and holidays, closing 15 minutes earlier each week in August, to September 6. September 7 to 13: hours are 7 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. Mon to Fri, 10 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. Sat, Sun and holidays.Day it closes: September 13.Lifeguard? YesConcession? No; there’s one nearby at Kits Beach.Who goes there: Tri-athlete lawyers and their admirers.
Second Beach PoolStanley Park Drive, East of English Bay. Hours: 10 a.m. to 8:45 p.m. until August 2, then closing 15 min earlier each week in August.Day it closes: September 7.Lifeguard? YesConcession? Yes ($3.95 hot dogs)Who goes there: A mix of West End gay boys and bridge-and-tunnel day-trippers.
Eschew the chlorine pools—and the bobbing Band-Aids we discover there—for the freedom of wilder waters.
Trout Lake Beach2105 E. 19th Ave.Concession: YesLifeguard: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until Labour DaySwimming raft: one (suspended off the only fresh water beach in town)Who goes there: Yoga instructors, baristas, and Commercial Drive flâneurs
Third Beach7495 Stanley Park Dr.Concession: Yes ($3.95 hot dogs)|Lifeguard: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until Labour DayWho goes there: Downtown denizens guiltily reading US while avoiding the mania of English Bay
Kits Beach1305 Arbutus St.Concession: Yes.Sand volleyball courts: 7Lifeguard: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until Labour DayWho goes there: a one-to-one ratio of impossibly attractive, well-oiled Kits bunnies and pale-skinned people watchers