This relatively small collection of photos of some of Winnipeg’s more well-known early swimming pools was originally curated by Faith Ceaser at the Aquatic Hall of Fame in the 1990s to celebrate the attraction between people and water.
Winnipeg’s first outdoor pool – 1899
Photo taken by W. B. Cheshire
Pritchard Avenue Baths – 1912
Called the “third best swimming bath in the Dominion” in the May 7, 1912 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press, the pool was located at the northwest corner of Pritchard Avenue and Charles Street that formally opened for public use on Arbor Day, May 6th, 1912. The swimming pool was 79 x 39 feet and had a range of depth from 2.5 to 7 feet. It was erected at a cost of $46,500 and was one of the first pools to have mixed bathing at all times.
During the opening ceremonies by Mayor R.D. Waugh and Alderman Herbert Gray of Ward 3, the mayor is quoted in the article saying “the grounds outside the building will have a 12 to 15 foot border of sod. Sandboxes will be provided for children to play in. Flowers and shrubs will be plated and, altogether, it is intended to make the premises a beauty spot. In addition to speeches, the 1500 spectators were treated to the first water polo game ever played in the city, plus exhibitions of skill by members of the Winnipeg Swimming Club, including pool swimming instructor Mrs. G. A. Harrison, who led a group of girls from four years and up in aquatic gymnastics.
In 1947 the Pritchard Pool was re-modelled at a cost of $69,956 to provide Winnipeg with an open-air pool. In 1951 it operated for 87 days with attendance over the period reaching 20,521. Operating and maintenance costs in 1951 was $13,594 with receipts of $2,448. The pool was closed by the city on July 25, 1965 and demolished in May 1966 due to the deterioration of the main steel means of the building.
Outside Pritchard Pool – 1938
Interior view of Pritchard Avenue Baths in 1912 during spring clean just prior to opening
Cornish Baths – 1915
The Cornish Baths was Winnipeg’s first public indoor pool located at Cornish Avenue and West Gate. Erected March 24, 1915 at a cost of $53,253 inclusive of the land costs. The pool was demolished in 1931 owning to instability of the river bank.
Outside Cornish Baths (1920)
Inside Cornish Baths (1930)
Cornish Baths life guard F. Smith (1915)
City of Winnipeg public bath staff standing on the Cornish Baths pool deck (1919). From left: H.L. Goodfield, F. Smith, B. Evans, G. A. Harrison, Mrs. G. A. Harrison, G. Bowles, H. Moyses A. A. Stiles
Sherbrook Pool – 1931
The oldest indoor swimming pool in operation in Winnipeg at present is located at 381 Sherbrook Street. The Sherbrook pool was opened for public use on March 2, 1931, and is 75 x 50 feet with a bathing capacity for 263 people.
Erected at a cost of $163,667 which included the sum of $12,454 for the site. Operating and maintenance costs in 1951 over 357 days was a total of $47,914 with receipts of $19,363. Sherbrook pool Attendance from 1931-1951 inclusive was 2,156,839.
The Sherbrook Baths celebrated its 50th anniversary on Sunday, March 22, 1981. Celebrations included opening remarks by Winnipeg’s own national speed swimming champion and artistic swimming competitor Catherine Kerr, speeches by mayor William Norrie and local Olympic swimmer Bob Hammerton.
Maple Leaf Gala at Sherbrook Pool – April 2, 1945
Sargent Pool – 1932
The pool was located at Sargent Avenue and Wall Street. It was built in 1932 at a cost of $66,174 and was 150 x 50 feet. Operating and maintenance costs in 1951 over 95 days was $12,160, with receipts of $6,528.
In 1973 the pool was closed due to problems in the structure and a replacement pool was erected. The new pool was called a “Port-a-Pool”, and at the end of the summer in 1975, the Port-a-Pool was dismantled and stored to be constructed at a new site in 1976. In 1977 a new indoor pool was built on the same site as the old Sargent Pool and became a part of a sports complex which still stands and is in complete use.
Waiting for admission at the open air Sargent Park swimming pool 1936