Guided Tour: Ile Ste. Helene Aquatic Complex
Ile Ste. Hélène Aquatic Complex
Location: View map
Schedule: June 14 to Aug. 22, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. *Animation on July 31, Aug. 14, 15 and 21.
Cost: children 5 and under, free; children 6 to 13, $3, adults, $5.
Parking: There are parking lots on site that cost $12/day.
Last spring, we visited a beautiful playground on Île St. Hélène and peeked into the adjacent aquatic complex, which looked top notch. From the balcony of the chalet, we could see the lagoon-style recreational pool with a water play area to the side. Kind of like a bigger, outdoor version of the Aquadôme in LaSalle. There are also two other pools for competitive swimming, diving and water sports – this is where the 2005 FINA competition was held.
Animation for kids
We went back this weekend to find out that the facilities are even better than we expected, because they host activities for kids on several Saturdays during the summer. In the recreational pool, which is heated and deepens gradually, there were animators who were giving kids turns in large foam canoes and leading them in pretend races and battles.
In this part of the pool, there is also a very popular mini-slide into shallow water. In the deeper end of the pool, a large inflatable structure floats on top – older kids (our 5 and 3-year-old were too small) can bounce along it, then slide off the end into the water.
Activities for those who want to stay dry
To the side of the pool is an area with water jets, which is great for younger ones who aren’t comfortable in the pool. The animators popped up here later in the day, clowning around with umbrellas in the water spray. There were also two trampolines set up (the kind that are surrounded by netting), which were great for our 3-year-old, who didn’t want to get water on his recently scraped knee.
The only drawback at the aquatic centre is the lack of shade. There are a few umbrellas around the pool, but those spots fill up quickly. We would have had lunch at the on-site restaurant (simple sandwiches, drinks, popsicles), but the sun was too intense. If you want to bring your own food, you could pack up and move to the nearby park (where there’s lots of shade) for a picnic.
- Bring your own lock to keep your valuables in a locker – though they lend locks, there were none left when we asked.
- If you live in the downtown area, you might consider cycling to the aquatic centre. Bike racks are available on the site.