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14 Aug, Sunday
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Montreal Families

Guided Tour: The Natatorium

Address: 6500 LaSalle Blvd., Verdun (view map)
Parking: Parking is available on surrounding streets. The Natatorium is also accessible by bike path.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., weather permitting, June 13 to Aug. 16, 2009.
Cost: Adults, $2, children 6 to 17, $1.

The term “Natatorium” doesn’t exactly scream “super fun pool”, but don’t let its old-fashioned name deter you. This Verdun institution offers a great water experience for young children that’s also manageable and pleasant for parents. Plus, at $4 for a family of four, it’s certainly affordable.

This waterfront, outdoor pool complex was constructed in 1930, and was once considered one of the largest public pools in Quebec. In 2005, a HEATED wading pool was added for small children. The two original pools both have areas for lap swimming and slides (one pool is deeper than the other) for older children.

The wading pool goes above and beyond the typical neighbourhood version, with all kinds of fountains, jets and sprinklers. It’s a great place for babies and toddlers, who typically don’t enjoy the initial shock of getting into a cold pool. It’s also great for moms and dads, who typically don’t enjoy the initial shock of getting into a cold pool. Children who are around 4 or 5 will love experimenting with the various sprinklers (watch out for the splash buckets!), and because the area is fenced, it’s easy to monitor older and younger siblings.

Located along the bike path close to the St. Lawrence River, it’s a relaxing destination for parents.  A path leads from the back of the Natatorium down to the water, so you can take a closer look. Or just watch people gliding down the bike path on bikes and rollerblades.

Tips:

  • The Natatorium opens at 11 a.m., so you may want to plan another activity beforehand. You can stop at the nearby J.A. Richard Park.
  • There is zero shade around the pool, so sunscreen and hats are a must.
  • There’s an on-site patio area, with tables, chairs and a small snack stand (sandwiches, hot dogs, snacks, drinks) where you can eat lunch. For older kids, there’s also a tented area where there are ping pong and pool tables, plus TVs set up for playing video games.
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