Vancouver is a city that loves to swim, especially outdoors in the summer. While there are indoor public swimming pools open year-round in Vancouver, there are five outdoor public pools that open just for summer (usually mid-May to early-September, depending on the weather) that are fabulous venues for locals and visitors alike.
If you can only visit one swimming pool in Vancouver, it should be Kits Pool. It is the zenith, the sight to see, the pool.
Situated on the water in the heart of Kitsilano, the Kits Pool stretches out along the water, an extension of Kitsilano Beach (one of Vancouver's Top 5 Beaches). At 137 meters (150 yards), it’s North America’s longest pool—almost three times longer than an Olympic pool—and it's Vancouver’s only heated salt water pool.
With its white bottom and turquoise water and its spectacular views — of the ocean, the mountains, Kits Beach, and the skyline of Vancouver’s West End glittering across English Bay — Kits Pool is a vacation destination unto itself, and just stepping through the gates feels like an escape.
To accommodate every type of pool-goer, the pool is divided into three sections, each running lengthwise: a shallow section for families and small children, a middle section of roped-off lanes for lap swimmers and exercises (the lifeguards are tenacious in keeping the lanes clutter — and kid—free), and a deep end for more casual adult and teen bathers.
Lockers cost 25c (refundable) and there is a cafe on site for refreshments. The pool is wheelchair accessible and features aquatic wheelchairs and a pool lift to ensure accessibility for all.
History of Kits Pool
Kits Pool originally opened in 1931 but in May 2018 the pool reopened with an extensive new $3.3 million facelift, following a winter of renovation. Improvements to the pool include repairs to the pool deck, the removal and replacement of the pool basin membrane, and new pumps that help to replenish and remove sea water.
Now the pool is extra salty, which means it's more buoyant, so swimming is even easier. It'll take more than one million liters of fresh seawater to fill the pool for the season and previously, the pool would need to be filled with an additional 1.6 million liters of potable water per month due to the water escaping back into the sea. The new design will reduce this need for potable water by 80%, making it more eco-friendly for everybody.
Getting to Kitsilano Pool
Kits Pool is located at 2305 Cornwall Avenue, between Yew St. and Balsam St. It’s part of the Kitsilano Beach park, and drivers can park at one of the beach’s pay parking lots for easy access. You'll also find designated spots for car share programs such as Evo.
Walkers and bikers can reach the pool via the Seawall and there is also easy access via transit along Cornwall (or walk down from West 4th). The small yet scenic False Creek Ferries runs to nearby Vanier Park, connecting the West End, Granville Island, Yaletown, Olympic Village and Science World to the pool.
Kits Pool is open from mid-May - mid-September. Times vary by month, so check the Vancouver Park Board Kitsilano Pool schedule for hours of operation. Mid-week is often a little quieter than weekends.
Making the Most of Your Visit
It's easy to combine a trip to Kits Pool with a trip to Kits Beach (aka Kitsilano Beach), neighboring Vanier Park, or the kid-friendly Vancouver Maritime Museum; all are within walking distance of Kits Beach and Kits Pool. The False Creek Ferries run from the dock near the museum — dogs and strollers are allowed but bikes are not (although you can take them on the bigger Aquabus ferries from Granville Island, which is only a shot ride away.
After or before your swim, you can also walk to Kitsilano's West 4th Avenue, for dining and shopping: Shopping & Dining on Kitsilano's W 4th Avenue. It's a short walk uphill but you'll find cafes, restaurants and plenty of boutiques to explore.