Until pollution reared its ugly head, Lake Ontario provided Burlingtonians with a cool place to swim during the long, hot summers.
The book Pathway to Skyway names LaSalle Park as a favorite spot for a dip in the 1930s and Ward 4 Councillor Jack Dennison recalls swimming near the second hydro tower on the Beach Strip in the 1950s.
So many people were enjoying the lake that in 1933 the Town of Burlington passed a bylaw requiring swimmers to dress properly while shopping in the downtown area.
“No person should wear a bathing suit or costume on any of the streets or in any of the public places without also wearing an overcoat, cloak or kimono,” the bylaw read. “No person shall roll down his or her bathing suit below the arms.”
Both Dennison and Mayor Rick Goldring, however, also remember using Nelson Pool when it opened in 1964. The mayor said he was only seven years old at the time.
It was fitting the two politicians were there Aug. 1 for the official opening of the renovated pool, now in its 54th year.
The City was forced to close the pool in 2015 when serious weaknesses were detected in the steel. Outdoor swimming in Burlington has been limited to the Mountainside Pool since then.
The renovated pool was not scheduled to be ready until 2018 but workers put on a power play and had children, anxious to jump in, going through the turnstiles on July 8.
Besides an eight-lane, 50-metre pool, which can be used for competitions, the aquatic area beside Nelson Arena on New St. now includes a beach entry to the pool, accessibility for the disabled and a larger splash pad for tots.
Total costs of the renovations is $4.2 million.