1. UBC Aquatic Centre — Vancouver, B.C.
Photo, Paul Joseph / UBC Communications & Marketing
The new state-of-the-art aquatic centre at the University of British Columbia is sustainable and accessible. In addition to having a gorgeous recreational pool, 50-metre competition pool and spacious hot tub, it was also built with the environment in mind — the centre makes use of Vancouver’s plentiful rainwater and was purposely built near a bus hub for easy public transit access.
2. Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre — Toronto, Ont.
Photo, City of Toronto
Previously known as the Regent Park Aquatic Centre, the Pam McConnell Aquatic Centre is — right off the bat — aesthetically pleasing. The warm wood panels and bright natural lighting are only the beginning of its unique features, however — the centre also boasts a 25-metre lap pool, a tarzan rope, therapy spa pool and universal change rooms (that are accessible to all).
3. Commonwealth Community Aquatic Centre — Edmonton, Alta.
Photo, City of Edmonton
Visually pleasing architecture and indoor pools seem to go hand in hand, and the Commonwealth Community Recreation Centre is no exception. It is also close to the LRT, which is a plus. Once inside, the centre’s aquatic centre pools are all salt water pools — including their whirlpool — and they also have an aquatic climbing wall, waterslide and steam room.
4. Minto Recreation Complex – Barrhaven — Ottawa, Ont.
Photo, City of Ottawa
Before even entering the pool, the sleek architecture of the Minto Recreation Complex – Barrhaven impresses, whether it’s gleaming in the summer sun or surrounded by winter snow. While the indoor pool doesn’t have all the bell and whistles other pools have (there are no waterslides or hot tubs), it has the necessary six lanes for laps, dive boards and a shallow area for kids. Most importantly — it is fully accessible due to Ottawa’s inclusive recreation mandate, and it consistently receives high reviews for overall cleanliness.
5. Village Square Leisure Centre — Calgary, Alta.
Photo, City of Calgary
Go big or go home — the Village Square Leisure Centre boasts an “indoor waterpark” with a wave pool, slides, dive tank, a ball swing (pictured above) and “Safari Splash Zone®” for everyone’s enjoyment. They also have a hot tub and steam room, if you’re looking for something more serene. Family admittance costs $28.75 for a single visit, but they also offer group discounts if there are more than 10 people — just make sure to book in advance.
6. Shaw Centre — Saskatoon, Sask.
Photo, City of Saskatoon
The Shaw Centre — Saskatoon’s newest pool — has been internationally recognized for its state-of-the-art facility and offers a good mix of family friendly and serious swimming. Take a dive into the competitive pool, or get into one of two hot tubs (one of them is more geared toward families, and has both cooler temps and wheelchair accessible access). A general family pass costs $19.60.
7. Canada Games Centre Aquatics Centre — Halifax, N.S.
Photo, Canada Games Centre
Head to the Canada Games Centre for a spacious Aquatics Centre. It offers four diving boards, two water slides, a theurapeutic hot tub and a sauna. For those looking to get in a good workout, try an Aquafit class or check out the eight-lane competition pool during an adults-only hour. Otherwise, they also have a shallow toddler pool and 25-metre leisure pool with sprinklers.
8. Steinbach Aquatic Centre — Steinbach, Man.
Photo, City of Steinbach
We definitely picked this one with kids in mind. Although Winnipeg has its own pools worth going to, it’s worth the 45-minute drive to the Steinbach Aquatic Centre, because it’s a whimsical 24,000-square-feet of fun, complete with indoor trees, murals, a playful pig-themed spray fountain, a lazy river and waterslides that are sure to delight children of all ages. For the adults, dive into their six-lane pool, or check out the hot tub and sauna.
9. Complexe aquatique Michel-Leduc (Aquadôme) — Montreal, Que.
The Aquadome is a delightful indoor pool, with high glass walls drawing in so much natural sunlight that it almost feels like you’re swimming outside. The kid-space looks like an actual oasis, featuring slides and mushroom fountains. Of course, adults can have their fun too — on certain evenings, the place hosts adult-swim sessions for people 17-years-old and up.
10. Credit Union Place Aquatic Centre — Summerside, P.E.I.
Photo, City of Summerside
The Credit Union Place Sport & Recreation Centre’s Aquatics Centre in Summerside is a beautiful facility decked out with the usual leisure and lap pools and hot tub — but there’s also a sauna and steam room, one of PEI’s fastest water slides, and an aquatic climbing wall that swimmers can free fall into the deep end from (fun for kids and adults). For people on the other side of the island, the Bell Aliant Centre aquatic centre at the University of Prince Edward Island is also a great option.
11. Eastlink Centre — Grande Prairie, Alta.
Photo, City of Grande Prairie, Copyright Beauchamp Photography
12. Syncrude Aquatic Centre — Fort McMurray, Alta.
Photo, courtesy Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo
The Suncor Community Leisure Centre at MacDonald Island Park is 450,000 square feet of fitness and recreation, and the Syncrude Aquatic Centre is among one of its most popular attractions. The centre holds a waterpark on one side, and competitive lane pools on the other. It also offers swimming classes for all ages, from parents and caregivers with babies, to courses for adults and teens.