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Swimming

Public swimming

The City has many places for you and your family to enjoy the water. Each location offers a broad range of fun and athletic programs.

The City has collaborated with Ottawa Public Health, Canadian Red Cross Society, and Lifesaving Society to develop a swimming structure that incorporates public health prevention and mitigation measures that help reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

While measures to attempt to control the risks of the transmission of COVID-19, parents, participants and staff need to be aware and understand, that there are still risks with participating in a public swim, lane swim or swimming lesson.

  • 12 indoor pools and nine outdoor pools
  • 53 wading pools and 127 splash pads
  • Three beaches

COVID-19 safety measures at City facilities

As of October 10, the following restrictions are in place due to provincial measures to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Fitness centres including cardio and weight rooms are closed
  • Fitness classes and aquafitness are suspended
  • Team sports using City facilities are limited to training and drills, with no scrimmages or competitive play permitted

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following safety measures are in place at City facilities:

  • Physical distancing of 2 metres is required at all times all users not living in the same household or in their social circle.
  • Plexiglass shields installed at customer service desks to protect workers and users
  • Directional signage to manage traffic flow
  • Room capacities have been reduced to accommodate social distancing requirements
  • Additional hand sanitizing stations are available and frequent handwashing is encouraged
  • Upon arrival both staff and users are required to complete a self-assessment for COVID-19 symptoms before being authorized access to the site
  • Entry to the building is denied to anyone who presents as a risk based on the self-assessment questionnaire
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols have been implemented
  • Additional COVID-19 specific training has been provided for all staff
  • Air dryer use, including personal dryers, are not permitted at indoor facilities and changerooms to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Masks

  • Masks are required when entering the facility, in common areas, lobbies, washrooms, changerooms and hallways as per the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-Law.
  • For registered programs, mask requirements will follow the same provincial protocols implemented in schools. Students in Grade 4 and up will be required to wear masks indoors. While it is not formally required, the City encourages students from Kindergarten to Grade 3 to wear masks indoors.
  • Although masks are not required while working out or swimming, masks are required to access the fitness and pool areas.

Additional safety measures are in place for our fitness centres and swimming pools.

Additional safety measures at City pools

When you come to an aquatic facility, you’re going to notice several changes we have made to ensure we live up to our commitment to keep everyone safe, including:

  • Saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, diving boards, rope swings, and water slides will be closed
  • We encourage swimmers to use goggles, snorkels will not be allowed
  • Swimmers are encouraged to bring their own equipment for their use only, only life jackets and PFD’s will be available for loaning at the facility
  • Clients are asked to keep their personal items to a minimum
  • Swimmers may keep their cloth face masks on until they enter the pool
  • Traffic measures will be implemented around the pools and entry and exit will be staggered so crowding doesn’t occur
  • Swimmers at outdoor pools will enter and exit through a gate and not through the facility
  • Viewing areas will be either closed or their capacity reduced, to allow for proper physical distancing
  • Parents or guardians who are not accompanying their child in the pool for swimming lessons are encouraged to wait outside the facility
  • Swimmers of the same household may swim together in one lane during lane swim, if available at the pool.
  • Only essential equipment will be provided for use on deck, and equipment will be disinfected between users (i.e. lifejackets)
  • Equipment that is not regularly in contact with chlorinated water will be disinfected every 4 hours at minimum

Do your part to slow the spread by:

  • Showering at home before going to the pool.
  • Wearing your bathing suit to the pool.
  • Practice personal COVID-19 hygiene – washing or sanitizing your hands, staying home if you are ill.

Additional safety measures at fitness centres

As of October 10, the following restrictions are in place due to provincial measures to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Fitness centres including cardio and weight rooms are closed
  • Fitness classes and aquafitness are suspended
  • Team sports using City facilities are limited to training and drills, with no scrimmages or competitive play permitted

Additional safety measures at City arenas

To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the following safety measures have been implemented at City operated arenas:

  • Participant access to the arena is granted 20 minutes prior to the booking start time
  • Limited number of spectators allowed in the arena – one per participant
  • Limited capacity in change rooms
  • Only one parent/caregiver allowed in change rooms to help tie skates
  • Designated skate tying areas outside dressing rooms
  • Showers are off limits at this time
  • Water fountains should be limited to bottle filling only
  • Players are encouraged to arrive dressed in as much equipment as possible

Ottawa Public Health states that the risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases progressively with age, particularly beyond 50 to 60 years. In addition to increasing age, people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions (cardiovascular, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung, chronic liver, cancer, immunocompromise) or severe obesity are at higher risk for severe illness. Every individual needs to take into account their personal risk factors when making decisions about going out.

Pools that have reopened

As a result of provincial facility usage regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing construction and repair work and resource availability, some aquatic facilities will not open this summer.

Pools reopening September 8, 2020:

Pools remaining closed for September:

Pools that have already reopened:

Outdoor pools (summer only)

Swimming and aquafitness activities

Swimming programs

  • Lane swim: Continuous lane swim workout. Children age eight to 10 must pass the facility's swim test. Only essential equipment will be provided for use on deck, you are welcome to bring your own equipment. Maximum of 2 people per reservation.
  • Public swim: An unstructured swim time open to all ages. Non-swimmers aged 10 and under, and all children aged 7 and under must be accompanied by a participating adult or youth, at least 14 years of age, responsible for the direct supervision of the child and actively swimming within arms reach at all times. Children aged 8, 9 and 10 must be tested to demonstrate their ability to swim 25 metres uninterrupted in order to be permitted to swim unaccompanied. Only essential equipment will be provided for use on deck. You are welcome to bring your own equipment. Maximum of 6 people per reservation.
  • Preschool swim: An unstructured swim time with limited pool space allowing for playtime for preschool-aged children and their parents, ages 5 and under. Children 5 years of age and under: minimum 2 children per responsible person 14 years of age and older.
  • 50+ swim: Lap swimming for adults aged 50 plus.
  • Women’s only swim: Open to all women and girls, 14 years of age and older.
  • Women’s only – Family swim: An unstructured swim designed for females-only and their children, boys over the age of 6 are not permitted. Adult females do not have to bring a child to these swims. Children 5 years of age and under: maximum 2 children per responsible person 14 years of age and older.
  • Wave swim: A swim with the waves activated at a wave pool open to all ages. Non-swimmers aged 10 and under, and all children aged 7 and under must be accompanied by a participating adult or youth, at least 14 years of age, responsible for the direct supervision of the child and actively swimming within arms reach at all times. Children 5 years of age and under: maximum 2 children per responsible person 14 years of age and older. Children aged 8, 9 and 10 must be tested to demonstrate their ability to swim 25M uninterrupted in order to be permitted to swim unaccompanied.

Inclusive recreation swim programs

  • Swim for persons with a disability: Designated swim for youth and adult participants with a long-term disability. Swim is free of charge for qualifying participants upon completion of a participant information form. If assistance is required in the change room, participants must bring an attendant.
  • Wellness – Aqua therapy: A wellness program ideal for individuals living with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis and individuals recovering from injury or surgery.
  • Wellness – Chronic pain: A wellness program ideal for individuals living with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis and individuals recovering from injury or surgery.

Aquafitness programs

As of October 10, aquafitness classes are suspended due to provincial measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

There were many considerations factored into selecting which pools to open as part of the first stage of reopening, including the site’s ability to meet community and operational needs – such as summer camp offerings and appropriate staffing levels – and the ability to operate with physical distancing guidelines in place. Some pool sites have planned construction projects underway during this first stage, and will reopen at a later date.

The COVID-19 situation remains fluid and we may need to adapt our programming or pause operations at certain sites throughout the summer and into the fall, should the nature of the pandemic shift once again.

View schedules and links to reserve your spot.

View swimming fees.

Browse and register for COVID-modified swimming lessons

While measures to attempt to control the risks of the transmission of COVID-19, parents, participants and staff need to be aware and understand, that there are still risks with participating in a swimming lesson.

Fall 2020 Recreation eGuide

The City is offering COVID-modified recreation programming this fall.

Registration for aquatics programs opens online on Monday, August 24 at 9 pm.

Aquatic programs will feature swimming lessons, power swim and advanced aquatic certifications. Swimming lessons have been modified to support physical distancing by requiring a parent or guardian to accompany younger children in the pool during instruction.

To help reduce the spread of COVID-19, please review the safety measures in place at City facilities.

Splash pads (summer only)

The City of Ottawa is pleased to announce that Splash Pad activation will begin on Friday June 12. All pads should be fully operational by Thursday June 18. In order to safely use splash pads, it’s recommended that users maintain physical distancing, use hand sanitizer frequently, and use your elbow or foot to activate the splash pads (not your hands).

To prevent damage to the splash pads, we ask that residents please refrain from using sticks or stones to activate the controls.

Splash pad operational hours vary by location. By the end of July 2020 all splash pad operational hours will be 8 am to 9 pm.

The following splash pads will remain closed for repairs:

  • Billy Bishop Park
  • Glebe Memorial Park
  • Meadowbrook Park
  • Nault Park
  • Primrose Park
  • Queensway Park
  • Rouncey Park
  • Sharel Park
  • Silverbirch Park
  • Whitehaven Park

The following splash pads are open; however, some water features are out of service:

  • Brewer Park - slide
  • Claudette Cain Park
  • Little Rock Park
  • Pioneer Plains Park

Please call 311 to report a malfunction or technical issue.

For more information please email seasonalrecreation@ottawa.ca.

This interactive map shows you the locations of Ottawa’s splash pads. Splash pads marked in light blue are accessible.

Wading pools (summer only)

Bring the kids to a neighbourhood wading pool to cool off and play. The 53 wading pools across the city have reopened. Wading pool attendants will be present at the pool to provide safety supervision.

Assigned swims at wading pools

This summer admission numbers are reduced to allow for physical distancing. Fewer swimmers can be in the pool at the same time. When more than the allowable number of swimmers are present, a 30-minute timeslot will be assigned by the pool attendant on a first come basis. The attendant will also screen swimmers for COVID-19 symptoms before allowing entry to the pool.

If there is space available at the end of your 30-minute swim, you may be assigned another 30 minutes.

Fees

There is no cost to swim at a City of Ottawa wading pool.

Location

This interactive map shows you the locations of Ottawa's wading pools, along with their dates and hours of operation. Wading pools marked in light blue are accessible.

Safety and admission requirements for wading pools

Height requirement: 45 inches (115 cm)

Facility's swim test: Must be able to independently recover from floating on their front and back, and be able to cross the deepest part of the pool unassisted.

General supervisory standards for wading pools

Age Admission requirements Guardian:child ratio
Five years and under

Parent/guardian 14 years or older must be within arms reach at all times
Child must wear a wristband

1:4
Six to nine years, height under 115 cm and cannot pass facility's swim test

Parent/guardian 14 years or older must be within arms reach at all times
Child must wear a wristband

1:4
Six to nine years, height at least 115 cm or passes facility's swim test Actively supervised by parent or guardian 14 years or older N/A
10 years and older No supervision, facility swim test or minimum height required N/A

Supervisory standards for camps at wading pools

Age Admission requirements Staff:child ratio
Five years and under

Staff must be within arms reach at all times

Child must wear a wristband

1:4
Six to nine years, height under 115 cm and cannot pass facility's swim test

Staff must be within arms reach at all times

Child must wear a wristband

1:4
Six to nine years, height at least 115 cm or passes facility's swim test Always accompanied by staff 1:10
10 years and older, height at least 115 cm or passes facility's swim test Always accompanied by staff 1:15

 Each ratio above indicates the maximum number of children that one responsible person 14 years or older can supervise. They may not have any additional children under their care unless the other children are at least six years old and able to pass the facility's swim test or meet the height requirement.

Beaches

The City conducts water quality testing and has lifeguards on duty at municipal beaches daily from noon to 7 pm starting June 27 until August 30, 2020. Please check back here for current information on beaches reopening, and Ottawa Public Health’s website for water quality testing results.

Put your toes in the sand or get involved in some water fun at one of the City’s public beaches.

Britannia Beach will be closed to swimmers and beachgoers this summer for riverbed restoration. The beach will re-open for public swimming and all other beach activities in 2021. Learn more

Accessible wheel chairs available at Mooney’s Bay Beach, Petrie Island Beach and Westboro Beach. Available daily between noon to 6:30 pm

  • Beach accessible wheel chair - Available to rent at no cost
  • For availability, please contact:
  • Users are required to provide own attendant to push chair and assist with transfer in and out of chair

There is no lift on site.

To book an event at the beach, contact Centralized Allocations:

To bring your group to swim at the beach, contact Beach Operations:

Petrie Island Beach

A wonderful sandy beach with spectacular views across the Ottawa River. Great for picnics, a stroll, a swim, a game of volleyball or to watch the boats go by.

  • May 16 to September 7, 2020: Paid parking from 7 am to 6 pm (seasonal passes available)
  • Canteen
  • Picnic tables
  • Play structure
  • Lifeguards

Britannia Beach

Britannia Beach will be closed to swimmers and beachgoers this summer for riverbed restoration. The beach will re-open for public swimming and all other beach activities in 2021. Learn more

  • Free parking
  • Canteen
  • Picnic tables
  • BBQ pits in the park
  • Play structures
  • Accessible washroom

Mooney’s Bay Beach

A popular summer destination for swimmers, rowers and special events, including Dragon Boat Races and HOPE Volleyball.

  • Canteen
  • Picnic tables
  • BBQ pits in the park
  • Play structures
  • Lifeguards

Westboro Beach

This beach is located on National Capital Commission property at Kitchissippi Lookout on the Ottawa River.

  • Free parking
  • Canteen and patio with tables
  • Picnic tables
  • Lifeguards

Water safety

Have fun at the beaches and play safe by following water safety guidelines.

For additional information please visit the City of Ottawa’s Safety and supervisory standards in City pools and beaches.

Water quality

Beach water quality is tested daily for the presence of E coli bacteria. Learn more from Ottawa Public Health.

Standard safety and supervisory standards in City pools and beaches

There are safety standards so that everyone can enjoy the City’s swimming pools and beaches. Additional COVID-19 safety measures will also be in place to keep you as safe as possible.

If you are unsure of how these requirements apply to you, please contact the pool before your visit.

To ensure adequate supervision and to identify people at greater risk, all swimmers need to wear a City-issued coloured wristband to get in the pool.

Non-swimmers and those who cannot pass the facility's swim test must remain in shallow water.

Each ratio below indicates the maximum number of children that one responsible person 14 years or older can supervise. The parent or guardian must be in proper bathing attire, in the water, actively participating and within arm’s reach at all times.

Supervisory standards in City pools

Age Requirements Guardian:child ratio Wristband
5 years and under Accompanied by parent/guardian 14 years or older who must be actively participating and within arms reach at all times 1:2 Orange
6 to 7 Accompanied by parent/guardian 14 years or older who must be actively participating and within arms reach at all times

1:4 or 1:6 if wearing life jackets

Orange
8 to 10, did not pass facility's swim test Always accompanied by parent/guardian 14 years or older who must be actively participating and within arms reach at all times 1:4 or 1:8 if wearing life jackets Orange
8 to 10, passed facility's swim test No guardian supervision required N/A Green

Supervisory standards in City beaches

Age Requirements Guardian:child ratio
5 years and under Accompanied by parent/guardian 14 years or older who must be actively participating and within arms reach at all times 1:2
6 to 7 years Accompanied by parent/guardian 14 years or older who must be actively participating and within arms reach at all times

1:4 or 1:6 if wearing life jackets/PFDs

8 to 10 years Accompanied by parent/guardian 14 years or older who must be actively participating and within arms reach at all times 1:4 or 1:8 if wearing life jackets/PFDs
11 to 13 years Accompanied by parent/guardian 14 years or older 1:15

High-risk people must be in a ratio of 1:1. High-risk people have a condition or illness that may put them at risk in a pool, such as frequent seizures or fainting conditions. This includes people who are unable to control their behaviour or impulses and require direct supervision. The supervisory ratios for groups of high-risk people will be determined by pool staff based on the specific needs of the people and their associated risks. We recommend you call the pool before you visit.

Swimming fees

Please note not all pools are reopened this summer due to COVID-19. Please refer to the pool locations section for details.

2020 standard and outdoor pool fees

Bearbrook Outdoor Pool, Beaverbrook Outdoor Pool, Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex-Orléans, Brewer Pool, Canterbury Pool, Corkstown Outdoor Pool, Crestview Outdoor Pool, Deborah Anne Kirwan Pool, Entrance Outdoor Pool, François Dupuis Recreation Centre, General Burns Outdoor Pool, Genest Outdoor Pool, Glen Cairn Outdoor Pool, Katimavik Outdoor Pool, Lowertown Pool, Pinecrest Recreation Centre, Plant Recreation Centre, Sawmill Creek Pool

  • Two years and under: Free
  • Three to 18 years: $2.75
  • Full-time students: $2.75
  • 19 to 64 years: $5.25
  • 65 years and older: $3.50
  • One to two adults and their children: $2.75 per person
  • Groups of 10 or more: $2.50 per person

2020 leisure pool fees

CARDELREC Recreation Complex Goulbourn, Minto Recreation Complex-Barrhaven, Richcraft Recreation Complex-Kanata, Splash Wave Pool

  • Two years and under: Free
  • Three to 18 years: $3.75
  • Full-time students: $3.75
  • 19 to 64 years: $6
  • 65 years and older: $4.75
  • One to two adults and their children: $3.75 per person
  • Groups of 10 or more: $3.50 per person
  • Whirlpool/steam (Kanata Leisure Pool and Walter Baker Sports Centre): $4.75

2020 aquafit fees

  • Seniors, students and youth: $8
  • Adults: $9.25

Swimming membership

The City will be extending current swimming membership expiry dates by 4.5 months.

The 4.5-month extension on the current swimming memberships covers the four months when operations were suspended due to the pandemic on March 16. Plus, it adds an extra two complimentary weeks to help members transition to the reopening.

Clients who pay for their membership by monthly installments on their credit cards will now have payments resume on September 15. Clients who need to update their credit card information are asked to do so in-person at the facility, as credit card information cannot be updated online or over the phone.

Members and customers can book a one-hour swimming session up to two days in advance online or by phoning the facility.

Browse more information regarding membership cancellations and refunds.

Water safety

Drowning is fast, silent and preventable. This page provides helpful tips to ensure water safety at all times.

Adult supervision while swimming

Whether at the beach, in a deep pool or in an inflatable pool, young swimmers should always be supervised by a responsible adult who:

  • Knows how to swim
  • Has access to a reliable phone to call 911 in the event of an emergency
  • Knows the location of safety equipment
  • Knows basic water rescue, first aid, and CPR

Be a Water Watcher

Here is how you can be a Water Watcher:

  • Make sure a responsible adult who can swim is supervising your backyard pool any time people are in the water.
    • Drowning is the second leading cause of preventable death for children under 10 years of age. Backyard pools are the number one location where these drownings occur, often during a short lapse in supervision.
  • Stay within arm's reach of non-swimmers.
    • Be close enough to provide immediate help. All children under 5 years should always be within arm’s reach of an adult when near water or in the water.
  • Stay close to the pool's edge.
    • You need to be able to see or "scan" the entire surface and bottom of the pool and be able to respond quickly.
  • Watch every child. Get extra help if needed.
    • Watch children's faces to see if they look panicked. This could mean they are in distress. If you're having trouble keeping track of all the children, get help from another Water Watcher supervisor to help.
  • Make sure weak and non-swimmers wear lifejackets or personal floatation devices.
    • Lifejackets or personal floatation devices can help prevent accidents but they do not replace adult supervision.
  • Ensure constant supervision. Drowning is fast and silent.
    • Need a bathroom break? Time to tend to the BBQ? Want to check your phone? Designate another responsible adult as the Water Watcher in your absence. Drowning is fast. It can happen in only inches of water and in a matter of seconds!

Backyard pool safety

Did you know that:

  • Backyard pools are the number one location where children drown.
  • Each year in Canada, an average of 487 people die from drowning.
  • Drowning can occur in as little as 10 to 20 seconds, in only centimetres of water.

Everyone using your pool should:

  • Know how to swim. It's never too late to learn how to swim.
  • Know which part of the pool is deep or shallow.
  • Know the location of the nearest phone.
  • Always swim with a buddy, never alone.
  • Be sober. Alcohol and pools don't mix.
  • Stay out of the pool if there's thunder, lightning, or if the bottom of the pool cannot be seen clearly.

Pool fences

Does your pool fence meet the City's Pool enclosure By-Laws?

  • The minimum fence height allowed in Ottawa is 1.5 m or 5 feet 153 cm (60 inches).
  • Every swimming pool fence gate must have a self-closing and self-latching mechanism.

Does the by-law apply to a portable pool?

  • The By-law applies to any privately-owned outdoor pool of water able to hold a water depth equal to or greater than 600 mm (24 in) at any point.
  • This includes ponds, blow up pools, self-inflating pools, and hot tubs.

Life jackets and pool toys

Lifejackets, personal floatation devices, water wings, "pool noodles" and other floatation devices do not keep you safe in the pool. This equipment can be fun, but it is not a replacement for adult supervision!

Lifejackets and personal floatation devices must fit correctly to work. We don't recommend water wings as they can deflate or slip, leaving a child dangling under water.

Drowning prevention in the winter months

Many factors including temperature, thickness, snow cover, water depth and currents can affect ice safety.

Did you know?

  • Almost two thirds of ice-related incidents occur on lakes and the rest occur on rivers.
  • Quality and thickness of ice can change very quickly.
  • Snow acts as a blanket, slowing ice formation and growth.
  • A sudden drop in air temperature can create cracks in the ice.
  • In less than five minutes, cold water begins to affect your ability to move your arms and legs.
  • Minimum ice thickness recommended by the Life Saving Society
    • 10 cm (4 inches) for walking or skating alone
    • 12 cm (5 inches) for snowmobiles
    • 25 cm to 30 cm (10 to 12 inches) for skating parties or games

Ice safety

  • No ice is 100% safe!
  • Check with local authorities before heading out.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you should be back.
  • Carry a small personal safety kit including:
    • a lighter
    • waterproof matches
    • magnesium fire starter
    • pocketknife
    • compass
    • whistle
  • Carry ice picks, an ice staff, a rope and a cell phone.

More tips can be found on the Red Cross and Life Saving Society web sites.