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Kitsilano Pool renovations completed, swimming begins Saturday

Lifeguards were put through the paces Friday in advance of Kits Pool’s opening on Saturday, May 19. Photograph By DAN TOULGOET Months of down time have finally given way to go time for one of Vancouver’s most beloved outdoor landmarks.
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 Lifeguards were put through the paces Friday in advance of Kits Pool's opening on Saturday, May 19. Photograph By DAN TOULGOETLifeguards were put through the paces Friday in advance of Kits Pool’s opening on Saturday, May 19. Photograph By DAN TOULGOET

Months of down time have finally given way to go time for one of Vancouver’s most beloved outdoor landmarks.

Kits Pool opens tomorrow (Saturday, May 19) after undergoing its most extensive renovation in 40 years.

The $3.3-million reno job started in October of last year and last-minute touches were being applied Friday in anticipation of opening day.

“The largest saltwater pool in North America is looking pretty awesome,” said park board director of recreation Donnie Rosa.

Upgrades to the 87-year-old gem included removal and replacement of the pool basin membrane, repairs to the pool deck and replacing gas pumps with electric pumps on the pool’s north deck to replenish and remove sea water.

Going electric instead of gas reduces noise and fuel emissions, while the refurbished pool basin will restrict the amount of water lost. About 430,000 gallons of potable water were used a month to top up the pool prior to the recent upgrades.

“The improvements mean that we’ll be able reduce tap water consumption for this pool by up to 80 per cent,” park board chair Stuart Mackinnon said. “As a result, the pool should feel saltier and more buoyant for an amazing swim experience.”

At 137 metres in length, Kits Pool is the largest saltwater pool in North America. It opened in 1931 complete with a sandy bottom and water pumped in from the ocean exclusively — sometimes with a mud shark or octopus in tow.

Nowadays, chlorine is added and the water temperature sits around 26 C.

Outdoor pools at Second Beach and New Brighton Park will also open Saturday, while the pool at Maple Grove Park gets the green light on June 16.

@JohnKurucz

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