Vancouver’s Best Outdoor Pools

Far from the Madding Crowd

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).

For the Young

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 Park
1657 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 Park
1318 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.


For Laps

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 Pool
2305 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? Yes
Concession? No; there’s one nearby at Kits Beach.
Who goes there: Tri-athlete lawyers and their admirers.

Second Beach Pool
Stanley 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? Yes
Concession? Yes ($3.95 hot dogs)
Who goes there: A mix of West End gay boys and bridge-and-tunnel day-trippers.


Into the Deep

Eschew the chlorine pools—and the bobbing Band-Aids we discover there—for the freedom of wilder waters.

Trout Lake Beach
2105 E. 19th Ave.
Concession: Yes
Lifeguard: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until Labour Day
Swimming raft: one (suspended off the only fresh water beach in town)
Who goes there: Yoga instructors, baristas, and Commercial Drive flâneurs

Third Beach
7495 Stanley Park Dr.
Concession: Yes ($3.95 hot dogs)
|Lifeguard: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until Labour Day
Who goes there: Downtown denizens guiltily reading US while avoiding the mania of English Bay

Kits Beach
1305 Arbutus St.
Concession: Yes.
Sand volleyball courts: 7
Lifeguard: 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. until Labour Day
Who goes there: a one-to-one ratio of impossibly attractive, well-oiled Kits bunnies and pale-skinned people watchers