A neighbourhood fixture for almost seven decades, the Kerrisdale Pool continues to make a splash with patrons of all backgrounds. Recently reopened after its annual maintenance, the facility now boasts better ventilation throughout – thanks to new air handling units – and a new accessible pool lift in the shallow end.
Opened as a 30.5-metre, six-lane outdoor pool in 1956, when Canadian champion swimmer Helen Stewart Hunt took the first lap (below, left), it would eventually be converted into an indoor facility (below, right) in 1995 complete with fabric dome roof that lets natural light in.
Pool programmer since early 2022, Vancouver Park Board employee Anson Siu took time out to chat with the Kerrisdale Community Centre Society (KCCS) about this storied structure.
KCCS: What’s it like working at such a longtime neighbourhood haunt?
A.S.: I’ve definitely come across a few folks who have reminisced about their memorable experiences at Kerrisdale Pool. There were a few who gave me a history lesson on the layout of the outdoor pool and how things ran back in the day. I always show them the black-and-white photo of the outdoor pool that’s in my office, and it always evokes some sort of emotions.
KCCS: Do you work with the KCCS on any aspect of the pool?
A.S.: In addition to funding two Maple Grove events, equipment and holiday decorating, the society annually sponsors three pool socials. This year we had the Winter Holiday Potluck and Flower Power Tea Party, and an ice cream social is coming up towards the end of August. These events have been well received, and the support from the society does a great deal in bringing the community together.
KCCS: What role does the pool play in the Kerrisdale community today?
A.S.: We have infants and toddlers in their first-ever swim class; children excitedly telling their parents of the skills they’d learned in their lessons; participants from swim clubs and water polo groups experiencing the thrill of competition while developing long-lasting friendships; adults combatting their fears of swimming through lessons; and, of course, our wonderful group of adults and seniors who find good health and happiness from our Aquafit classes (below, right).
KCCS: What does the future look like for the pool?
A.S.: The Park Board has identified the need to replace Kerrisdale Pool, it being the oldest public swimming pool in Vancouver at 68 years old. Built in 1955, renovated in 1996.
KCCS: What do you most like about working here?
A.S.: I enjoy the strong sense of joy and happiness, and strong sense of community, that is felt by the wide range of people who we provide enjoyable experiences for.