Lions Club pool, 50th anniversary

Oldest picture of the pool, 1932 Stratford-Perth Archives

The Lions Pool celebrated its 50th Birthday on Aug. 24, 1982, and the Beacon Herald ran a feature article to commemorate the milestone.

The pool officially opened on July 6, 1932, and the officials in attendance were Mayor G.I. Graff (see Graff Avenue); Dr. Harold B. Kenner (see Kenner Crescent), Lions Club president at the time; and Rev. J. N. H. Mills. For the August 1982 celebration, those in attendance were Mayor Ted Blowes (see Richard Monette Way); Lions Club president, Ron Richards; and Dr. Don Davis, Lions Cl;ub archivist. Following the 1982 50th anniversary opening ceremonies, the 11 pool attendants put on a display of synchronized swimming, water safety skits, diving exhibitions, general safety demonstrations, and even some singing.

There were five birthday cakes with 50 candles, tea, coffee and cool drinks. Pool supervisor Heather Marcy was expecting at least 200 special invitees, as well as many local citizens for the event.

There were 3,000 people at the 1932 opening, as well as the first appointed lifeguard, hockey star Walter (Nig) Brenneman. The pool was built on land that had been a miniature golf course, at a cost of $15,899, with the Lions Club paying $7,014, and the Province of Ontario picking up the rest.

The original bathhouse was expanded to more than double its size in 1948, and in 1953 the pool was lengthened by 45 feet and one inch, which brought it up to the Olympic standard of 150 feet.

In 1964, when Clarence H. (Dutch) Meier (see C. H. Meier Blvd.) was mayor, the city took over sponsorship of the pool, in that the annual maintenance costs had grown to more than any service organization could handle. By 1970, its age was staring to show, and major renovations were undertaken, including the replacement of all mechanical equipment. The bottom and concrete deck were replaced, and the sides sandblasted, all at a cost of $80,000.

Recreation director Ross Ventrcek said the pool should not be deemed a profit-making enterprise, but a public service to the community, a service that included swimming lessons, swimming for seniors and the physically challenged, as well as training in synchronized swimming, speed swimming and specialized diving. Source: Brian Wendy Reis . . . FB

1957 Photo Vince Gratton

1942 Photo Vince Gratton

Stratford-Public Archives