The Gyro Swimming pool in Baker Park was one of Canada’s biggest. Photos courtesy David Humphrey

Memories of Cranbrook’s legendary outdoor swimming pool

By Patty Doering

As the days pass, I find myself looking back to the memories reflecting my childhood, and the years that I spent at the Gyro Cranbrook Swimming Pool.

I appreciate Cranbrook for allowing me and thousands of others, the opportunity of many summers spent in that glorious pool — a swimming pool termed the largest outdoor pool in western Canada. It was an amazing 125 by 250 feet and eight feet deep. The pool was fed with fresh water from Joseph Creek, and yes it was COLD! There were several diving boards, two slides, two secured rafts and a beautiful fountain in the middle of the pool.

It was a perfect place for young people to go for the day with full trust from our parents. Each day I would wake up in anticipation of going to the pool.

Let me paint you a picture. The sound of the water and the kids splashing and having fun never ceased day after day. You could smell the freshness of the water and there was a constant breeze that touched the poplar leaves and rustled them to say “hello.” They were indeed giants.

As I grew older, the pool became my best friend. My body had become accustomed to the coldness of the water. It was so welcome on those very hot days. The life guards I will always remember. We would walk around the pool with them and feel somewhat important.

The slides were designed for the children’s and adult pools. The metal on the slide would wear out your bathing suit and soon you could notice a see-through affect on the derriere. It was a wonderful way for the children to enjoy the camaraderie with their friends. There was a huge boulder there to lay on in the shade, large enough for several kids.

As an enthusiast, I joined the Cranbrook Plungers, a group that met at six a.m. and practiced swimming lengths. I would ride my bike home after with my teeth chattering all the way.

Near the poof was an RV Park which attracted visitors from all over Canada. It was common to see people floating in the creek to cool themselves.

Now our pool is all but a memory, and memories we most certainly have. The voices of the children have disappeared with the wind. The poplar trees that watched over us throughout the years are still there with their rustling leaves to remind of us of our memories.

The pool has now become a field of grass and sadly the RV Park is no more. I recently walked around what used to be the pool — the first time after all those years that I had visited the site. All of the voices came back to me in my mind and I relived the swimming again in my mind. I couldn’t stop the tear that was rolling down my face.

Thank you, Cranbrook, for giving me the precious memories of days gone by in that beautiful pool. I wonder if in some body of water, there exists water that touched all of us in that pool that has yet to vanish with time?

We need to embrace new places and ideas that can provide our children with necessary, safe environment. They need to grow and have their own beautiful memories. It makes for a community with families of solid standards.

Thank you again from my heart, Cranbrook!

 

The Gyro Swimming pool in Baker Park was one of Canada’s biggest. Photos courtesy David Humphrey