Edmonton opens 5 outdoor pools for free again this summer

The City of Edmonton is opening its five outdoor pools for free again this summer, the third year in a row.

Mill Creek, Fred Broadstock, Oliver, Queen Elizabeth and Borden will be free

Mill Creek pool off Whyte Avenue in the Mill Creek Ravine is scheduled to close Sept. 02. (City of Edmonton)

The City of Edmonton is opening its five outdoor pools for free again this summer, the third year in a row.

The Mill Creek pool is scheduled to open May 25 and Fred Broadstock opens May 30, weather permitting, the city website says.

The Queen Elizabeth outdoor pool and spray park is scheduled to open June 7. The pool at Oliver is set to begin the swimming season June 8, starting with lane swim in the morning and public swim from noon to 8 p.m.

The Borden Park natural swimming pool, northeast of downtown Edmonton, will also have free entry. It's the first chemical-free public outdoor pool in Canada.

On Tuesday, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada announced Borden had won its Innovation in Architecture award, one of eight honours handed out by the institute.

The city first offered free entry at four outdoor pools in 2017 to mark Canada's 150th birthday.

More people went to Edmonton's outdoor pools that year than in any other. Attendance doubled from 2016, with 153,000 people visiting the facilities, the city said.

That prompted the city to offer the perk again in 2018. 

The city decided to offer free access again this year to encourage residents to enjoy the public facilities and stay active in the summer months, a city spokesperson told CBC News.

It cost the city approximately $597,000 to open the pools for free from May to September 2018.

Borden pool, at 76th Street and Borden Park Road, opened for the first time last summer.

Because no chemicals are used to disinfect the water, the pool has special rules.

Swimmers are asked to have a "head-to-toe" soaking shower before going into the water and to use phosphate-free sunscreen only.

No athletic shorts or underwear are allowed. No pets, glass containers, food or street shoes are permitted near the water.