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City of Toronto and

School Pools

The City of Toronto has yet to complete an Indoor Pool Provision Strategy and Aquatic Service Plan
despite City Budget Briefing Notes that indicate the Indoor Pool Strategy was due for completion in
2007. The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) is intending to close 39 school pools due to
challenges with both its capital and operating funds. The City of Toronto and TDSB need to work
together to develop an Indoor Pool Strategy and Aquatic Service Plan before any school pool is closed.

City and  There are only 30 City owned and operated indoor pool facilities for aquatic programs to
Aquatic serve 2.5 million residents. The City relies on 33 TDSB school pools to deliver 45% of its
Programs Parks and Recreation swimming programs. The current demand for City aquatic programs
already exceeds this supply.

 Toronto has a higher proportion of pools in schools than any other urban centre in the
country. (PERC Report)

 Annual registration visits for City swim programs are 1.4 million. There are 700,000 visits
each year in the 39 school pools slated for closure. Additional visits are made by
community members, using the pools before and after school, through organizations
paying permit fees for 11,750 hours.

 The City is unprepared to deal with the surge in demand for aquatic services that will
occur when the 39 school pools close, putting pressure on an already stressed system.

Curriculum  4500 elementary school children are learning how to swim as part of their school day.
Community  13,725 secondary school students are using the pools for instructional swim, with many of
Use in 39 the students new to Canada and learning how to swim for the first time.
School Pools
 Over 1800 students are participating on school swim teams.

 400,000 swim visits occur at the 28 secondary schools with pools to close.

 300,000 swim visits occur at the 11 elementary schools with pools to close.

 Swim groups are permitting 11,750 community hours to provide aquatic services to
thousands of children, youth, adults, seniors, and competitive swimmers.

TDSB and  In April 2008, the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) announced its intent to close 23
39 School school pools by June 2008 and another 16 school pools in June 2009 as a result of not
Pools having the operating or capital funds available to them.

 The Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Health Promotion agreed to support the pools for
one year and that year will be complete in June 2009.

 The TDSB asked David Crombie, Chair of the Toronto Lands Corporation to propose a
long-term sustainable solution for the continued use of the TDSB pools.

 As of April 2009, no long-term solutions for funding have yet been identified.
AWG Report  As part of David Crombie’s mandate, an Aquatics Working Group was created in
September 2008 to develop a community-based long-term strategy for the use of pools.

 The AWG Report, released in March 2009, recommended closing 7 of the 39 pools that
are currently prohibitive to repair.

 The operating costs for the remaining 32 school pools would be $3.4 million (not including
the cost of aquatics instructors).

City use of  In 2003, the TDSB signed an agreement with the City of Toronto to access 47 school
TDSB Pools pools for Parks & Recreation swim programming with operating funds to support those

 Since 2003, the City has reduced the number of TDSB pools it accesses and funds from
47 to 35 pools in 2007 to 33 in 2008.

 An agreement has been negotiated with the TDSB to continue operating Parks &
Recreation swim programs in 33 TDSB pools until 2011. The City of Toronto currently
pays the TDSB $5.3 million to deliver Parks & Recreation programming in these 33 school

City Parks &  The City of Toronto Parks and Recreation Common Grounds Strategic Plan received
Recreation unanimous approval by the Councillors in 2004.
Strategy o Recommendation #41: Ensure all children in Toronto have the opportunity to
learn how to swim.
o Recommendation #53: The City of Toronto will work with the Toronto District
School Board to achieve the objectives of our Common Grounds, especially
those objectives for children and youth.

City Indoor  In April 2004, the City of Toronto retained the  The size and quality of indoor pools is
Pool Strategy services of a consulting company (PERC) to by far the greatest barrier to swim
Phase One prepare a Strategy for the Provision of Indoor participation in Toronto, and the major
Final Report Pools in our City. cause of low swim rates in the City.
Dec 2004
 PERC has consulted for over 30 years in over  The City should adopt a strategy with the
300 communities on pool planning projects. TDSB to significantly improve the quality
Toronto’s swim rate of 1.1 swims per capita in of indoor aquatics services as the best
publicly accessible pools is less than half the means of achieving the vision and goals
lowest swim rate ever measured in a within the Phase I report.
Canadian urban centre, large or small.


Let’s Make Waves is a non-partisan coalition of parents, students, concerned citizens, and members of not-for-
profit sports organizations from across the city of Toronto united by a common interest to save the TDSB pools
from closing.
For more information: visit or email
Media Contact:

Sign posted
outside TDSB

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