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Iconic Kits Pool to open tomorrow after multi-million dollar renovation

May 18 2018

“Kits Pool had a major upgrade over the winter,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “The structural and mechanical improvements mean we’ll be able to reduce the need for potable water by 80 percent."

Kitsilano Pool

The star attraction of the Vancouver Park Board outdoor pool network, Kitsilano Pool, is ready for its close up!

North America’s longest saltwater pool received a $3.3 million dollar upgrade designed to make the swimming experience even saltier.

The Board is opening the 137 metre long Kits Pool, along with outdoor pools at Second Beach in Stanley Park and New Brighton Park, on May 19th for the summer.

Less potable water required

“Kits Pool had a major upgrade over the winter,” said Park Board Chair Stuart Mackinnon. “The structural and mechanical improvements mean we’ll be able to reduce the need for potable water by 80 percent. This will result in a greener building, energy savings and a pure, salt-water swimming experience for the public.”

By the time the first of the summer’s anticipated 170,000 visitors arrive on Saturday, the newly renovated Kits Pool will be scrubbed, polished and filled to the brim with more than one million litres of fresh sea water. Visitors may not see much of a difference in the appearance of the outdoor pool, but regular swimmers will feel the change as the buoyant salt water remains in the pool through-out swimming season.

New pool membrane

Upgrades included the removal and replacement of the pool basin membrane, repairs to the deck, and the addition of pumps to replenish and remove sea water. Improvements to the concrete, new pool coating and control joints mean less water will escape. Prior to the upgrades 430,000 gallons of potable water had to be used a month to top up the pool as the ocean water escaped.

Funding for the $3.3 million Kits Pool upgrade came from the Government of Canada and City of Vancouver.

“Congratulations to the Park Board and City of Vancouver on the grand reopening of Kitsilano Pool. The pool is a hub of bustling community activity set against the beautiful backdrop of English Bay and the North Shore Mountains,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada.

“The Government of Canada is proud to have supported these upgrades through the Canada 150 Infrastructure Program so that Kits Pool can continue to be a space for health and well-being for years to come.”

Kits Pool history

Kitsilano Pool has an illustrious history. First opened in 1931, it originally had a sandy bottom and was filled directly from the ocean with the occasional octopus or mud shark getting sucked in with the sea-water. When the facility was refurbished in 1978 for $2.2 million, a pump system was installed but the pool continued to draw its water from English Bay unlike many outdoor pools which are filled with chemically treated water.

The pool has a special following among swimmers in the city, with many marking the opening and closing dates on their calendars, and attending every day if they can. In addition to the stunning setting in Kitsilano Beach Park, the length of the pool attracts many serious swimmers, including triathletes who use it to train. There is also an extensive shallow end with a sloping "beach-style" entry, and deep-water areas where swimmers who don't want to churn lengths can just chill out.

Lifeguards patrol 11 beaches beginning May 19

Beaches also open for the summer season this weekend. Lifeguards patrol 11 beaches between the May long weekend and Labor Day. Almost 18 kilometres of ocean beach stretch from Spanish Banks to Third Beach in Stanley Park. Trout Lake, located in John Hendry Park, is the only freshwater, supervised beach in Vancouver.

If you can’t make it to the pool or beach, Park Board water parks are a perfect way for kids (and big kids) to cool off. They have all been converted to water-saving push button technology and will open across the city in early June.