Vancouver’s Largest Aquatic Centre Opens July 31, 2010

Inside the new Hillcrest Aquatic Centre

As someone who loves swimming and swimming pools—I’ve written before about my abiding love for Kits Pool and Vancouver pools in general—I cannot wait for the grand opening of the Hillcrest Aquatic Centre. It should be amazing!

During the 2010 Winter Olympics, the Vancouver Olympic Centre/Vancouver Paralympic Centre at Hillcrest Park (adjacent to Queen Elizabeth Park) served as an official competition venue for curling and wheelchair curling. The first phase* of transforming the former Olympic venue into a new, public recreation complex will be complete on Saturday, July 31, when the doors open to the new Hillcrest Aquatic Centre, the largest public aquatic centre in all of Vancouver. (Yep, it’s bigger even than downtown’s Vancouver Aquatic Centre.)

The new Hillcrest Aquatic Centre will have some truly magnificent features that will be equally appealing to serious swimmers as they are to families and folks who just love the water.

HIllcrest Aquatic Centre: Leisure pool with water toys, sprays, jets, water cannons and lazy river

The deluxe features include a 50m pool with movable floor, 1, 3 and 5 metre diving, a leisure pool with water toys, sprays, jets, water cannons and lazy river (pictured above), a summer outdoor pool with sprays and bubble jets, a 70-person hot tub, a large steam room and sauna, and a state-of-the-art fitness centre.

Get the kids ready: Hillcrest Aquatic Centre's outdoor water sprays.

The schedule for swim classes and for “Loonie/Toonie” swims—times when admission is just $2—aren’t up yet; check the official site for updates.

*The second phase of the project—which will replace the existing Riley Park Community Centre with a brand-new complex, complete with public library, licensed preschool, field house, ice rink and curling facility—is scheduled to open in Fall 2010.

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12 Responses to Vancouver’s Largest Aquatic Centre Opens July 31, 2010

  1. Amy Pon

    I can’t wait for it to open! It sounds absolutely fabulous.

  2. tlm

    Not too kid friendly….no zero depth thus not allowing small children to have independence in the swimming. Lifeguards were a bit overwhelmed and not too friendly.

    • tlm,

      Thanks for leaving this tip, especially about it not being friendly for very small kids. I couldn’t go this weekend, so I haven’t seen it for myself yet—though I plan to go ASAP—and this is great info for parents to have!

  3. Matt

    I disagree with tlm’s assessment of the facility. I happen to think that it is a perfect facility for the kids.

    there are zero depth areas to enter both the indoor and outdoor portions of the childrens’ facilities, as well as being accessible to wheelchair occupants. Are the zero depth areas the same size as those offered at the outdoor facilities (New Brighton, Kits and Second Beach? No! but I wouldn’t expect this for an indoor facility)

    The depth for the children’s pools (indoor and outdoor) went no deeper than 1m, which is perfect for parents to get their kids exposed to the water! Further, as the facility gets more programming on hand, I believe it would be relatively easy to use the moveable floor to provide variable depth for young children to walkabout in a safe and controlled environment. (from what I remember, the floor was parked at ~4ft on the weekend to allow seniors to bob around and do their own thing.)

    IMHO (based on years of teaching and lifeguarding), young children should be exposed to the water with their parents and guardians – not left to run wild as mom and dad sit on the edge and leave the lifeguards to do the child minding. Let Mom and Dad show them how fun the water is – that should encourage your toddler and preschooler to both love and respect the water.

    /end rant

    It was a new facility and there were bound to be kinks to be worked out as everyone streamed in to check it out (case in point, the staff not informing passholders early on that they could bypass the line and scan in, the same as any other City facility). However, I have to say that I am pleased to have this facility available to me and my family. Two thumbs up!

  4. Catherine

    The beach entry is what the previous poster refers to as zero depth? There was a beach entry on the leisure pool.

    In any event, rules of every City swimming pool require an adult to be within an arm’s length of any child under the age of 8 and under a certain height. Independence is something better left for those over the age of 8, not for “small children.”

  5. Catherine

    As a lifeguard, if I saw parents leaving their little children to run around unsupervised, I wouldn’t be friendly either! Irresponsible parents who don’t follow the rules and have no awareness of the rules, expecting a lifeguard to babysit their children aren’t welcome at any pool that I know of.

  6. tlm

    It is not a matter of parents leaving their children unsupervised but more of a parent being with their child and the water not too deep thus allowing the child to explore the water and have fun rather than having fears about the water being too deep.

    We went again today and it is still not a huge seller of a pool to me. The main pool does have a movable bottom which makes it great for the shallow water but the water is too cold for the little ones. The lifeguards were still a bit overwhelmed – one even told me that this was the first time that he was on the pool deck as they were short staffed. He had never had an orientation to pools and was not used to lifeguarding a busy pool. Takes all sorts eh?!!

  7. Nancy Gates

    I took my 1 year old baby and husband to this facility and we had an amazing time!!!
    the beach entrance to the pool is a fantastic feature for the little ones and the lazy River is FUN!!

  8. Karen

    Went there today with two kids. It was insanely busy, with bus loads of older kids arriving steadily. The lazy river was fast but was crammed with kids, some trying to walk the wrong way. The lazy river surrounds a centre calm area. Encircling the centre is a high wall, too high to see heads just above the water. Very few parents around, maybe a handful, and very few lifeguards, given the hordes in the pool. Hands down, the busiest pool I’ve been to. I didn’t feel that the kids were safe, given the large number of unsupervised swimmers and overwhelmed lifeguards.

    And yet… only six dedicated women’s showers, four unisex. Be prepared to wait, and don’t be surprised that no one showers before entering. The water was murky, considering the facility has only been open a few weeks.

  9. mylee

    I was also at Hillcrest today with my 2 children. It was a long wait for the showers and the changerooms were filthy with lots of hair on the grounds. One of the lifeguards walked through the changeroom but did not make any attempt to pick up any of the garbage on the floor. The lifeguards were not all that friendly – two of them were rather rude. The pool was too busy.

  10. gord

    Was not at all impressed with the customer service at Hillcrest. One of the staff worked at another one of the nearby pools and she was really rude to the patrons there. I used to see her lifeguarding after teaching aquafit and she was not at all polite – only to whom she wanted to be was she nice too. Was disappointed to see that she is one of the regular part-time staff at Hillcrest. I think I will go back to the other pool that I swam at before for their service is much better.

  11. mitch

    Changerooms are absolutely filthy – am totally not going back with my children. These were the all time worst in filth from some of the other pools on the Lower Mainland!!