JFK Pool. Photos by Cindy Lopez
Montreal has no shortage of outdoor pools in its many neighbourhoods. But with the loss of the “secret pool” over at the Royal Vic, we wondered if any of spots can live up to its reputation as a place to swim, tan and be seen.
The answer is yes. Most other Montreal pools have closed off areas of green space for picnics and sunning on the grass. Most pools are free during the week, and if you end up paying, it’s under $7 per visit, or you can get a season pass. For the active swimmer, most of these pools open early for lane swimming before the large groups of camp kids take over.
Pool season is short (until Aug. 17, then hours are limited until Labour Day), but if you need to cool off for a couple hours, here are some pools worthy of checking out for the swimming, suntanning and rampant exhibitionism (no secrets here). Click on the pool name for schedules:
Jarry Pool (205 Gary-Carter, free all the time): In the heart of Jarry park, this pool is big enough for Rosemont/Villeray residents. There’s a lane closed off for laps and on very hot days it’s a great place for a soak and tan. If you need more green space, there’s an entire park to enjoy.
Laurier Pool (5200 Brébeuf, free weekdays, $5 on the weekend): This pool had renovations a couple years ago and still has that new pool vibe. The renovations included a levelled sun deck to tan and chill by the poolside. You can make a day of it after the pool from picnicking in the park to playing either ping pong or baseball. Definitely a pool to be seen at as there is a trend of tiny bikinis and full body tattoos this season.
Jean Drapeau Pool (1 Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. $7 entry): If you’re an active swimmer, Jean Drapeau is excellent for lane swimmers and anyone training for upcoming sporting events. If you’re not in Olympic mode, there are plenty of pool toys to play with. On weekends there is access to the diving boards (Olympic medalist and Breakfast Television host Alexandre Despatie won medals on these boards), and as a bonus, you can hear the sounds from Piknic Électronik by the poolside on Sundays.
Maisonneuve Pool (4350 de Rouen, free all the time): If you’re looking for seclusion and don’t mind the trek, the pool in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve is where it’s at. And if you get hungry during your pool stay, you’re seconds away from Marché Maisonneuve.
Baldwin Pool (2330 Rachel E., free weekdays, $5 on weekends): Be careful trekking to this pool as there are road repairs on Rachel this summer. Baldwin is large and calming to tan in (I sunbathed next to a community garden). The aquatic mural outside the pool is beautiful, and there are ping pong tables to play on after your swim.
Verdun Natatorium (6500 LaSalle, $2 entry): Montreal’s oldest outdoor pool dates back to the 1940s and still has that Art Deco design. It’s large and family friendly, ensuring that there are always plenty of kids around. It’s great to cool off in after a long bike ride (being close to the Lachine Canal bike paths), and there are also beach volleyball courts and kayak rentals nearby.
John F. Kennedy Pool (860 Outremont, residents: $3.50/non residents $5.75, after 5 p.m.: $2/$3): Located in the quiet part of Outremont, this is practically a secret pool. The fee is worth it for the serenity, the sun chairs, umbrellas for shade and a lane to swim in. ■