2022: A banner summer for swimming

This summer was truly was a banner summer for swimming.  

I mean, summers are always good for swimming, but this summer, I decided to pack three summers into one and jumped into any and every body of water I could.


In May, I was back to swimming with my beloved swim tether and June was filled with "Mama swimming lessons" and a return to outdoor City pools on the weekends. 

July was packed with swimming—with dips in Toronto pools while my kids learned to swim (!), chilly Georgian Bay swims, and two weeks on Twelve Mile Lake, which is the longest I’ve been on any lake since I was a kid. The water was rougher than it usually is, until one day when the water was like glass, and it is the swim I will hold onto deep into February.


I swam with loons more times than I can count, and my kids went out for swim one afternoon, only to find themselves paddling around with a crew of 14 teenager loons. Definitely one for the books!

August was the most swim-filled month, maybe of my life, with a visit to the ocean-like waves of Lake Ontario at Sandbanks Provincial Park, and a luxurious afternoon in the Gatineau River. Two of my very favourite people live on its banks, and we spent the day in the rich, silky black water that is rich with tannins, like oversteeped tea, from the decomposing logs on the river bed. It was such a beautiful swim (and my kids’ first river swim!) until we were leaving and my oldest saw a water snake—my worst nightmare, his absolute delight!

Our week in Ottawa that was supposed to be chock full o’ swimming, was thwarted by a non-COVID-related plague that struck our friends’, but the delightful consolation turned out to be my best swim of the summer on Lake Kennebec, near Perth, ON. Our city neighbours just bought a cottage there, and we were thinking of stopping off for a quick hello to break up the drive. They were having none of that and insisted we stay for the night, which meant not only did my kids learn the technique of a “monsoon” – the most epic cannonball that was ever created (sort of a cannonball/stride jump hybrid), they also saw the Milky Way for the first time, and, with bellies full of s’mores, we watched the Perseid meteor shower. It was, perhaps, one of the very best moments of my life. 


And then, just to gild the lily, my beloved friend Jess and I decided at the eleventh hour (aka the last day of August) to resurrect our annual swim day that had been on hold during the pandemic and we met up at Kelso. It was rainy and chilly, and after huddling on camping chairs with coffee and cookies, we decided it was time to swim. It was the perfect end to a swim-filled summer. 

  • Lindsay
  • Thursday, September 1, 2022

A family of swimmers

This was an exceptional swimming summer, not just because I swam in Georgian Bay, multiple pools, my favourite lake in the entire world, plus a river and a brand-new-to-me favourite lake, but because my kids learned to swim!

My kids were in swimming lessons until the pandemic hit – in fact, I had gotten them into the SAME class in a most PERFECT time slot at the LOVELIEST pool right before the pandemic shut everything down and then…no swimming lessons. For years. And my three-year-old turned four, then five, and my five-year-old turned six then seven. How did I have a seven-year-old who couldn’t swim? It literally kept me up at night. It seems silly now, but it actually kept me up at night, having a seven-year-old who couldn’t swim. He didn’t even really like the water and every time I thought about it, I’d feel like the biggest failure of a parent. That all sounds hyperbolic, but it was my 4am shame spiral.


We started “Mama swimming lessons” in my friend’s backyard pool, because I cannot be in a pool with my kids without putting on my swim instructor hat. They would take off their floaties and swim around with me, and within the very first day, they were both floating. Floating! Just like that. 


I kept trying to remember how to teach swimming. I did it for years, but I couldn’t remember how to teach kids how to trust that the water was going to hold them. I don’t know if there really is a way, except practice, and helping them feel safe in the water. 


By some divine intervention, I got both my kids into outdoor swimming lessons at Sunnyside Pool. And we spent a few mornings at my friend’s backyard pool with the nephew of an old school/lifeguarding friend, and just like that, my kids started swimming. They can both float on their fronts and backs. They are both figuring out front crawl and back crawl.


And after all that 4am panic, they are now my “river otters”. By the end of the summer, my oldest was doing triple somersaults forwards AND backwards. (I’m sure there’s a lesson for me in here somewhere…ahem)


Now we go to the pool without floaties which seemed entirely inconceivable at the beginning of the summer. Here we are, a family of swimmers. It is one of my greatest joys.

  • Lindsay
  • Friday, August 12, 2022

Georgian Bay: Almost a Great Lake

Last summer, I swam in Lake Erie for the first time; the year before that, it was Lake Huron, and this year, it was Georgian Bay, not technically a different Great Lake, but Great Lake adjacent! It was my first time camping at Killbear and it was positively glorious. It felt like I was living inside a Group of Seven painting, with the rocks and the sparse trees. 


This wasn’t the first time I’d swum in Georgian Bay. The first time was years ago. I was nineteen, or maybe twenty, and visiting a friend’s cottage. His dad had just died and his mom was grieving and it was so sad and the skies knew it. It was grey and rainy the entire time we were there. 


We went snorkelling—the first time I’d ever been snorkelling, but the water was so cold, and I was freezing and the water was rough and churned up the sand, and the only thing we saw was a crayfish.


This visit to Georgian Bay was much better. Each morning, we would gather on a huge rock face while the kids searched for minnows and slid down the slippery surface into the chilly water. The water wasn’t warm-warm, but was still very swimmable and we spent our days sitting on the sun-warmed rocks, chatting and reading and handing snacks to kids while they searched for minnows with nets we found at the General Store. The mosquitoes nearly capsized my youngest, and a whole in the air mattress nearly did me in, but we hiked and stopped for a swim, and hiked again and found a beach to swim at, and found beaches and more swimming spots and it was a most perfect four days. 

  • Lindsay
  • Friday, July 22, 2022

Lake Erie: A very great lake

When I picture lakes, I picture Haliburton lakes—placid, benign, with waves only lapping at the shores if there’s a motor boat. But I recently arrived home from a three-day camping trip on the shores of Lake Erie, and can still feel the lilt of the huge, relentless waves when I close my eyes. What a glorious lake. What a glorious beach – all sand (though my four-year-old was very upset that there wasn’t any beach glass)

I hadn’t been camping in years. Not since my late twenties when I was in a terrible relationship and had a very close encounter with a bear. My back/hip/shoulder are too creaky for thermarests, and for years, I told myself that my kids were too little. BUT then I learned about huge, cushy blow-up air mattresses, and my kids are potty-trained, and no longer napping and a friend had booked extra days at a campsite that she wasn’t going to use, AND the site was next to a beach and all of a sudden, there were no more excuses. 

And so, we borrowed tents and air mattresses and camping chairs, and made list after list after list, and drove up to Long Point Provincial Park with our bird identification books, and a pile of bathing suits. 

The waves the first two days were intense. I was shocked by the height of them on our first walk down to the beach, and was nervous the undertow would take out the four-year-old. 

I debated googling “how to swim in waves”, but strapped on my orange tow float, and went straight into the water, remembering how much easier it is to let the waves carry you, instead of standing and having them crash into you. But there were so many sandbars and I had to swim for a long, long while before I couldn’t touch.

I must admit, the waves mean more active parenting than I had hoped for, but by the third day, the waves were smaller, quieter and it was just perfect. It also helped that it was brilliantly sunny the whole time we were there (have the forecasts been right even once in the last few weeks?) and we all got too much sun, and I managed to read two novels on the beach. 

My six-year-old loved identifying all of the terns and swallows swooping over the water (and we marvelled at the lack of gulls – nary a gull to be seen for three whole days!) and though the mosquitoes were out in full force in the evenings, it was a most magical trip.

Last summer, I fell in love with Lake Huron, and this year it’s Lake Erie, and so, it looks like Great Lake swims are becoming an annual tradition (Lake Michigan on tap for next year…?!)

  • Lindsay
  • Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Fifty metres of linden flowers

I had a few false starts, but I finally made it to a public lane swim and IT. WAS. GLORIOUS. 

I’ve extolled my deep love of Smythe Park Pool before (okay, more than once), and this year I almost wept, sitting on the edge, with its 50 beautiful metres stretching out in front of me, with only six of us allowed in. (I mean, it never really got much busier than that pre-pandemic, but still). The trees lining the pool fence were shedding, and I swam back and forth and back and forth through tiny little flowers that I learned afterwards were linden flowers—the origin of my name, Lindsay. Fitting really, as, after this long, impossibly hard childcare-less winter, I am finally starting to feel like myself again.

I must admit, after many swim tethered swims, it is disorienting to be MOVING while swimming, watching the bottom of the pool slip under me. It really does feel like the different between running on a treadmill, and running on the sidewalk—I felt like I was flying!

The length swim slots—10:30am-12pm—aren’t the most convenient, but so far, I’ve been able to juggle meetings and childcare to get at least a few in each week, and I’m pretty sure it is saving me.

I even have a recurring alarm set for 7:55 every Thursday morning so I remember to log into the City of Toronto site and sign up for next week’s swims. I know the online sign up system doesn’t work for everyone, but I admit, I love scheduling my swims in advance.

  • Lindsay
  • Wednesday, July 7, 2021

A return to the pool, a return to myself

This year has been so, so hard on so many levels, and so when my fairy pool-mother sent me a note saying she had opened her backyard pool and would I like to come swimming, I leapt at the chance. It was truly the greatest joy to be able to slip into the water float in the deep end, staring up at the morning sky, feeling weightless for the first time since my last swim (Sept. 29, 2020, and yes, I’ve kept track!).

A cardinal flew overhead, and I told myself it was the same cardinal who kept me company last summer. I clipped into my swim tether and felt the weight of the last year lighten. 

Something opened up in me as I began swimming, and I remembered what I’ve always known—that I am most myself when I’m swimming. I started being able to think again. I started figuring out problems in my novel-in-progress that I’ve been stuck on for months. I recognized myself as I got out of the pool and towelled off and I was reminded how necessary swimming is for my mental health (to say nothing of my aging hip, shoulder, back…!)

To a summer of swimming! To a summer of returning to ourselves!

  • Lindsay
  • Friday, July 2, 2021

CBC's Here & Now interview this afternoon!


Toronto pools are opening this weekend (with online registration opening tomorrow morning at 8am!) and I will be chatting all things swimming with CBC's Jason D'Souza this afternoon!

  • Lindsay
  • Thursday, June 10, 2021

Lake Huron: A salt-free ocean

It has taken me forty years to discover the absolute joy that is Lake Huron. Forty year before I found Ontario's MOST GLORIOUS SWIMMING LAKE! The greatest of Great Lakes for swimming (though I've never been in Lake Erie or Lake Michigan, so maybe I should hold off on grand pronouncements...)

My kiddo has a kindergarten pal whose family bought a bunch of cabins up near Sauble Beach. They had a flash sale, and the thought of a beach+lake swimming was a dream come true, and so we packed up piles of towels and bathing suits and headed north west for a last minute Covid-cation!

I'm used to the Muskoka/Haliburton drive – city, city, highway, smaller highway, trees and lakes, and more trees and lakes until you come to your trees and lakes. But this drive was all small towns and farms and more small towns and more farms and then turquoise blue shining at the end of the road. It felt like a mirage! But there it was, turquoise and stunning.

There were four (!) sandbars, and clear, turquoise blue water and sand for as far as I could swim. No murky bottoms. No getting tangled in seaweed. No fear of fish swimming underneath you. It felt like ocean swimming, except without the salt or the tides. It was truly glorious. I was shocked, given the size of Lake Huron how warm it was, but it wasn't even that cold!

My kids are 5 and 3, and we'd never done a beach vacation before, but it was PERFECT. They built sandcastles and "rivers" and played with their toy dinos in the sand for hours. The water was shallow and perfect for kid swimming. It was blazing hot, and I was grateful for the little sunshade tent we borrowed. My youngest had s'mores for the first time, and a writing pal and her fella had the cabin next to us, so we managed some post-kid-bedtime socially distanced hangs.

I went on some glorious swims straight out from the beach, and a few parallel to the beach, depending on the waves and the wind. The sunsets were absolutely extraordinary, and one evening, I hopped in the lake and swam along the golden shimmering path until the sun had disappeared. They were the most glorious swims I've had...well, ever, actually. Truly remarkable.

I also got to wear my stunning Minnows Bathers suit – my 40th birthday present to myself!

Lake Huron! Sauble Beach! Truly a revelation!! This might have to become an annual tradition!

(Note: this isn't sponsored at all, and Minnow bathers are the best suits, and Westview Beach Villas is a most perfect place for a rustic beach-y, swim-y retreat!)
  • Lindsay
  • Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Pandemic Swim Diaries: A swim tether

I have a new best friend. She always shows up for 6am swim club, makes sure I get a solid swim in, and always has my back. May I introduce, my beloved swim tether.

(This is in no way sponsored, ps. I just really really love my swim tether!)

A friend has a backyard pool, a kidney bean-shaped turquoise dream, that has truly been my saving grace during this pandemic. (I'd love to swim at one of Toronto's outdoor pools, but the timing+work+childcare (ahem, lack thereof) has so far made it impossible so far). BUT, at 6am, my pal's pool is empty and after seeing Catherine McKenna (currently the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities) swimming in her tiny above ground pool on Twitter, I knew a swim tether was my key to swimming joy.

I ordered the travel pack and it is so easy – I just loop the webbing around a fence post, clip the waist band around my waist and...swim! It's like I'm on a treadmill. But swimming. It was disorienting at first – dizzying to not see the bottom of the pool move, but I've gotten used to it and my hour-long swims are saving both my physical and mental health.

  • Lindsay
  • Monday, July 20, 2020

COVID + swimming pools in Toronto: A crowd-sourced guide

The pools are OPEN! I repeat THE POOLS ARE OPEN (okay, some of them!). I really wasn't sure if they would be this summer given the PANDEMIC and all, but they are open and that is wonderful for so many reasons.

BUT the City of Toronto site doesn't have a lot of information about HOW each pool works (and yes, each pool seems to have different processes and procedures). I believe that this is an equity issue and have flagged it a number of times with the city, but nothing seems to be changing (a lot of pools still say "Closed due to COVID"), but instead of raging about it, I figured we could work together like we did last year and make a crowd-sourced user guide to Toronto pools so that more people are able to access this amazing resource.

PLEASE send along info as you find it over Twitter: @lindsayzv or at IG: @swimmingholeswehaveknown_ And PLEASE pass this along! Info about timing/procedures, capacity are all helpful.

First things first: ALL OUTDOOR POOLS ARE FREE. And most are doing a 45-minute swim/15-minute clean schedule. Most pools are doing a 11-11:45am length swim and a 12-8pm leisure swim, with some exceptions. Also, NO toys/noodles/flutterboards allowed. Lifejackets/PFDs are permitted (but I think have to be brought in).

Also, this information is crowd-sourced and is subject to change. I recommend calling the specific pool if you have any questions. Also, it seems from people who have been swimming that the numbers of people allowed in varies pool-to-pool and day-to-day. I'm not sure why. Also, sign ins have been taking a while, so I'd suggest showing up in your suit (and maybe packing a book) if you can!

A list of all of Toronto's outdoor pools (addresses and phone numbers): HERE!

Notes from the City: All visitors to outdoor pools will be asked to sign-in with their first name and an email or phone number to facilitate Toronto Public Health contact tracing, should it be required. Outdoor pools will operate from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, 11 a.m. – 12 noon lane swim, 12 – 8 p.m. leisure swim. More info here!

Update: Please wear a mask to all facilities, or you might not be admitted.

Alex Duff Pool (at Christie Pits):
- universal change room
- marked and distanced queue spot for each person/family to stand in (or put your bag in and go find some shade!)
- if you don't get in, you have to wait until the next "intake"
- staff in PPE as COVID screening questions, take contact info and spritz hands
- bring belongings onto deck (no lockers!)
- leisure swim capacity: 40 (approx 20 people in the large pool, 10 in shade pool, 10 in deep pool)
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- slide and diving board closed
- at the end of 45 minutes, whistle in blown and everyone leave through emergency exit
- NOTE: NO length swim

Blantyre Pool
- leisure swim capacity: 18
- no washrooms
- enter through change rooms

Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pool
- really not sure if it's open or not this year. The website says it's close for deck repairs, but it also has swim hours available. Have not been able to reach anyone via phone.
- rumour has it it *might* open July 6th

Fairbank Memorial Pool
- length swim capacity: 9 (width swim)
- leisure swim capacity: 65
- length swim: 11-11:45am
- leisure swim: 12:15-1, 1:30-2:15, 2:45-3:30, 4-4:45, 5:15-6, 6:30-7:30
- there are two pools - one wading pool and a standard pool divided into three sections (shallow/medium/deep)
- main entrance not in use
- big gate along side for entrance and exits
- universal change room and washroom available

Glen Long Pool:
- length swim: 11-11:45am
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm

Giovanni Caboto:
- universal change rooms
- 50m
- length swim capacity: 7
- leisure swim capacity: 100
- length swim: 11am-12pm, two 30-minute blocks: 7 swimmers per half hour block
- leisure entry times: 12, 1:30, 3, 4:30, 6, 7:30-8pm
- leisure swim: broken into blocks of time - 15 minute shower/entry time for patrons, 45-minute swim time, then they clear the pool and close for 30 minutes for cleaning.

Greenwood Park Pool:
- wear your suit
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- leisure swim capacity: 75
- when they close every 45 minutes, everyone leaves and lines back up (with social distancing) to go back in.
- no info yet re: length swim1

High Park Pool:
- no universal change room
- go through regular entrance
- no showers
- length swim capacity: 7
- leisure swim capacity: 100
- length swim: 11-11:45am / 7:30-8pm
- leisure swim: 12-12:45pm / 1:30-2:15pm / 3-3:45pm / 4:30-5:15 / 6-6:45
- note: the water is often *very* cold as the pool's not heated!

Lambton Kingsway Park Pool:
- enter through the emergency fence
- arrive ready to swim and limit time in change rooms (gendered, with a family change room)
- length swim capacity: 6 (Note: people start lining up for 11am length swim at 10am)
- leisure swim capacity: 25
- length swim split into two 30-minute blocks: 11-11:30 and 11:30-12
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- no spectators on deck
- no flutterboards or toys permitted
- can bring lifejacket if needed

Monarch Park Pool
- length swim: 11am-12pm, two 30-minute blocks
- length swim capacity: 7
- leisure swim capacity: 75
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- enter through the change rooms
- exit through emergency gate if changing isn't required.
- slide is closed
- change room is limited to 6 groups at a time (they recommend swimmers come in their suits)

Ourland Pool
- wear your suit
- length swim capacity: 6
- leisure swim: 25
- length swim: 11am-12pm (no word if it is split into two)
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- NOTE: pool closes at 4pm on Sundays

Parklawn Pool:
- length swim capacity: 6
- leisure swim capacity: 25
- lane swim timing: 2 half hour slots: 11-11:30 / 11:30-12
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- come in bathing suit, no change rooms
- line up at exit gate
- exit at other exit on the far side of the pool (near the bottom of the hill)

Riverdale Park East Pool:
- length swim capacity: 6
- leisure swim capacity: 75
- length swim timing: 2 half hour slots: 11-11:30 / 11:30-12
*NOTE: rumour has it, people start lining up at 8am for length swim
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm

Smythe Park Pool:
- markings spray painted for physical distancing in line up (though maybe not a full 6' according to one swimming correspondent)
- lane swim capacity: 6
- leisure swim capacity: 100
- lane swim timing: 2 half hour slots: 11-11:30 / 11:30-12 and 7:15-8pm
- leisure swim timing: 12-12:45pm / 1:30-2:15pm / 3-3:45pm / 4:30-5:15 / 6-6:45
- Note: This 50m pool is AMAZING, but also notorious for having technical issue and the phone number never seems to work: 416-394-2741

Sunnyside Pool:
- lane swim: as of July 6: 10:45-11:15am / 11:15-11:45 / 7:15-7:45pm / 7:45-8:15pm
- leisure swim: 12-7pm
- length swim capacity: 40
- leisure swim capacity: 120
- every other washroom stall is open, every other sink is open, no showers
- enter through (gendered) change rooms

Wedgewood Pool
- lane swim times: 11-12, (but unconfirmed if it's split into two)
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- lane swim capacity: 8
- leisure swim capacity: 25
- no change rooms

Westmount Park Pool
- lane swim times: unconfirmed
- leisure swim: every hour (on the hour) from 12-8pm
- lane swim capacity: 6
- leisure swim capacity: 24
- one universal change room
- bathrooms: 2/3 are available, with one toilet stall closed between the two
- note: their answering machine provides outdated information

  • Lindsay
  • Monday, June 29, 2020

Pandemic Swim Diaries: My first swim in 79 days

It has been 79 days since my last swim—easily the longest I've ever gone for without a swim. I am following the guidelines of our Chief Medical Officers and socially distancing—it is important, so important, perhaps the most important thing I can do. And (not but), I miss swimming. I miss a whole bunch of things—being able to work without getting snacks/finding lost stuffies for small children, seeing friends, hugging people, drinking a coffee in a coffee shop window, the ease of Before Times, but what I miss most is swimming.

I miss the headspace it affords me, the non-thinking thinking that happens over the course of lap after lap. I miss the exhaustion in my body. I miss the weightlessness of the water. I miss smell of chlorine on my skin. I miss the absence of pain in my back. I miss the meditation of it all. I've missed it so much I haven't even been able to think about it. I buried my suit, my goggles, my cap at the very back of my closet. I wouldn't let myself entertain the possibility of pools opening up for the summer. I could barely even read the two swimming picture books my kids love so much.

Then late last night, I got a text from a friend with a backyard pool saying her pool was open, and that she'd disinfect the key and hide for me if I wanted to come by for a swim. Buoyed by the research about COVID not being spread through swimming pools, I set my alarm for 5:45 and drove west to the suburbs. Armed with my bottle of 70% alcohol spray, with my bathing suit under my track pants, I tiptoed into her backyard, sprayed and unlocked the gate around the pool AND WENT FOR MY FIRST SWIM IN 79 DAYS!

Eight strokes to the wall and eight strokes back, over and over and over and over. I floated on my back in the centre of the pool and watched the sun creep over the neighbour's hedge. I kicked, I splashed, I treaded water. I pushed hard off the wall and glided to the other side. A cardinal perched on the tree above the water for my entire swim, my little red lifeguard.

Usually when I swim, my mind turns things over and sorts out writing dilemmas, and processes things I didn't even know needed processing, but all I did for the entire 45 minutes was think I LOVE THIS I'M SO HAPPY I LOVE THIS I'M SO HAPPY I LOVE THIS I'M SO HAPPY on loop.

It was a positively glorious morning. The best I've had in, well, probably 79 days. What an extraordinary gift.

  • Lindsay
  • Wednesday, May 27, 2020

I am NOT a cold water swimmer

I am not a cold water swimmer. I have deep admiration for those who are. I am so inspired by Jessica J. Lee whose frigid dips are memorialized in her swim memoir (swimoir??) Turning, and am astounded every single day when I log onto Instagram and see my Team Mermaid pals swimming in 2 degree lidos. But cold water swimming I am not.

And so, imagine my dismay, when I landed into my favourite near-annual weekend retreat with plans to finish the novel I've been writing, interspersed with swims in the pool a few floors up, only to jump into the shallow end only to realize the heater was broken.

I tried to channel my inner mermaid, but alas, I could not and I only it eight lengths before retreating to the sauna.

It was disappointing to say the least, but there was a glorious blizzard outside and I ended up wandering in the snow instead, which was a pretty lovely alternative.

P.S.:This was my first glorious swim-retreat. So! Much! Fun!

  • Lindsay
  • Friday, February 7, 2020

Dreaming of summer swims

It has been a minute, well 245,100 minutes actually, but my computer was so old I couldn't upload photos, and though I was swimming up a storm, all my words were funnelled into novel writing, and kids' book writing and then the fall happened and transitioning Kid #1 to kindergarten was much more exhausting than I anticipated...Excuses, excuses. I have been writing blog posts in my head every time I swim and now that I've got a fancy new computer, it's time to write them onto a computer.

I don't know if it's the grey skies and the slushy puddles, but I've been dreaming of  last summer's exceptional swims – three of them primarily: a road trip swim date with my oldest kid at this lovely swimming hole, a dip off Hanlan's Point in August with my tow float from my UK mermaid pals...

...and our first tear-free family lake swim even later in August. I was worried the water would be cold as the morning's clocked in at a chilly 8 degrees, but the water was so warm. There was a mama bear spotting at the point I usually swam to, so I switched up my route and stayed closer to the cottage after realizing that swimming bear encounters are my ultimate fear.

Over the Christmas holidays, my not-always-into-swimming kid declared he wanted to go swimming, so of COURSE I dropped everything, dug out our suits and flew up to the pool for a morning family dip. The family swim times don't always jive with kid naps, but we found a morning slot and had so much fun! On our winter fun list is more family swims!

And with this renewed collective love of swimming, I started plotting summer swims. We're renting a new cottage this summer (on THIS lake, that I grew up swimming in!), and I've already put our Island swim/picnic adventure into the calendar.

To summer swimming, even if it is still February!

  • Lindsay
  • Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Roadtripping: Shade's Mills (aka the summer's best swimming hole thus far...)

I should really be packing. We're off to swim in a lake (two lakes, actually!) in a bit, but I went for a swim this morning in between the rain and the epic thunderstorm and my suit is drying, so I'm telling myself I can't possibly pack anything else right now...

But I must share the best little swimming hole before I go...

On the day before my oldest kid ended daycare, I drove west to meet up with one of my dearest pals for our *second* annual swimming road trip day (last year, we went here!). We started at Pinehurst Lake for a swim and a picnic and it was lovely. The beach isn't huge, and cordoned off swimming area wasn't too big, but we ducked under the rope and swam and treaded water and chatted. Then I swam as much of the lake as I could (it's very reedy by the edges!) and we picnicked and it was tremendously fun.

But we were two moms sans kids, and didn't want to stop at just one swimming hole, so we ducked over to Shade's Mills Lake for dip #2.

The beach was big and the lake was shallow, with a lovely sandy bottom. Across the lake was a bunch of hydro towers, but I liked to think of them as extra large lifeguard towers). We ducked under the rope and treaded water, trying to avoid the weeds. (Oooh, also we didn't, but you can also rent canoes there!)

And so, when I had my newly brave swimmer out of daycare, with a whole day in front of us, I decided that even though it's near Cambridge, just under an hour's drive from Toronto, Shade's Mills was the perfect lake for a mid-August swim.

It was perfect – the beach was big, the sun was hot, the lake was not (but also not too cold) and it was shallow enough for my 4.5-year-old to get really comfortable in the water. We swam, and picnicked, and swam again, then read and wrote letters, then swam some more and built sandcastle with our lunch containers and it was a most perfect day.

  • Lindsay
  • Sunday, August 18, 2019

Mid-July glory

It's mid-July, which means the end of July is fast-approaching, which means August is nigh and I'm trying not to panic about ALL THE SWIMMING I WANT TO HAPPEN! There are some grand swims on the horizon—a swimming hole date with one of my best ladies (sans kids!), a trip to Toronto Island, swimming lessons for my oldest timed so I can swim while he does, a trip to my favourite Haliburton lake...but as I sit here with my hair dripping with chlorinated water, I'm pretty excited about the last few weeks.

I woke up at 5am for my first training swim in 23 years (!). It was a beautiful morning—Sunnyside pool was still and glorious, the sun just rising over the Gardiner Expressway. My hope was that the triathlon team I was swimming with was going to swim the length of Sunnyside, but alas, we did widths. It was fun to swim with others—I so rarely do! And it was a bit of a confidence boost to note that I'm a stronger swimmer than I'd previously given myself credit for. If it was lengths, I'd be all for 5am starts, but I'll stick to sleeping in to 6:30 and doing my widths whenever I can rustle up childcare.

One of my first dips was in my newly beloved Smythe Park Pool—down a windy, tree-lined path to its 50m glory, and waiting for me in the parking lot was a snapping turtle! And then I had the glorious 50m to myself for a long stretch and it was magic. I've been back a few times and it's such a lovely, quiet spot.

I also remembered that the 50m Giovanni Caboto pool has an 8:30-9:15am swim (strange time, I know!) on Mondays and Wednesdays so I biked over on a daycare day and went for a glorious swim. I've heard it gets a lot more full in the evenings, so if there's anyway you can swing it, I highly recommend it!

I also just wrapped up a poolsitting gig (and the house attached to it!). There were a lot of cannon balls and star jumps and I even hosted my very first pool party (and then another because it was so much fun the first time 'round!)  My youngest is a water baby through and through and would wail every time it was time to take her suit off (I feel you, kid!), but the best part about it was that my not-particularly-exuberant-around-water kid FELL IN LOVE with it. He started swimming (in a puddle jumper) on his own, and was just bursting with joy. It was the greatest.

And one of the very best things about this summer has been everyone's responses to our crowd-sourced user guide to Toronto pools! I've gotten so many notes from SO many people, some I know and many I don't, with tips and intell about pools, and notes about how they're trying out pools for the first time, or have been inspired to gor for a dip. It's all so very inspiring. Holler if you have questions about a pool, or if you have any info about one not on the list yet!! (List is here. I just updated it today!!)

Oh, and we started an Instagram account! All turquoise blue and beautiful. Come find us there!

  • Lindsay
  • Monday, July 15, 2019

Blog Archive


2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 52 lakes A Big Deep Breath A Comparison a veritable miracle A-plus west end pools accessories alex duff pool algonquin park all the pools all the swimming holes aquafit Aquatic Centre in Regent Park argentina Art Art of the Swim atlantic ocean Awenda baby shampoo backyard pools Backyard wading pool badges bancroft bancroft and the Kawarthas bathing caps bathing suits Beach bears berlin bingo blogging blowing bubbles books Buckskin Lake buenos aires bunchfamily butterfly cambridge Camp Tanamakoon canoeing carilo Catskills CBC CBC Radio cheddar ontario Chicago Chlorine christie pits christmas claire cliff jumping coach dave Coaching insight cocktails cold water swimming Collecting Colouring cottage cottageing courage COVID-19 Covidcation Craft crowd-courced crowns ctv news dave ling Dawson's Pond docktail docktails Donald Summerville Pool dreaming of swimming driveway puddle earlscourt park edmonton elora elora quarry English Channel Etobicoke etsy Europe every single fast lane Extreme Heat Alert Fall 2017 fall swimming fast lane first swim Flesherton flipturns floating fouling French 75 Gallagher Centre gary clement gatineau Gatineau River Georgian Bay germany gifts Giovanni Caboto Giovanni Caboto pool goggles Great Lake great lakes Grey County guardian swim Guest blog guest swim Habermannsee Haliburton halloween Hampstead Heath Ladies' Pond Hanlan's Point heaven High Park high park pool highlight reel highlights homebody homemade badges Homstead hotel pool iceland illustration inclusive change rooms indoor pool Indoor Pools instagram Intercontinental Yorkville interview jack jessica j. lee jon klassen Joy julia zarankin jump jumping jumping in kate greene kate pugsley kawartha dairy kawarthas Kelso kerry clare kiddos kiki and polly Killbear Provincial Park kinmount Lake lake erie lake huron Lake Kennebec lake la peche Lake Louise Lake Ontario Lake Ontario and pools lake swimming Lake Temiskaming lakes lambton kingsway pool Laura Wills leanne shapton leeches length swim leo lionni lessons Letting Go lido lidos lifeguard towers lifeguarding Lindsay Lindsay Recreation Centre lindsay sutherland Lindsay Zier-Vogel lisa congdon lisa golightly local swimming hole london long distances long hair long hair caps Long point long point provincial park loons love love lettering project Lucky Peach manhattan pools margrit talpalaru Marilyn Bell mark tewksbury martha graham martingrove bears master swim club mat leave matisse Meaford meghan markle melodrama memoir Memory Mendoza Metro Morning michael phelps Michigan lakes Middle America Miles Nadal JCC minnow bathers miracle miranda july missing MoMA my local myvatn nature baths natural pools nebraska new pool new pools new year New Year's Eve new years new york city Newfoundland night swimming nightswimming norman hardie nova scotia novel ocean ocean swimming olympic pool olympics olympics 2016 ontario Oshawa Oshawa apartment pool outdoor pools outdoor swimming pack and play paddle paddling pam mcconnell aquatic centre pandemic pandemic swims papirmass park lawn pool parklawn pool parks and rec patrice hall pattern design PEC pells pool penny olesiak perfectionist PFDs photos picton pinehurst lake pisces poetry Polar Bear Dip pond Pondering Pool pool swimming Pool: Sunnyside pools poolsitting prairies pregnancy pregnant prince edward county prince harry PSA public pools quarry Quebec Radiohead railcar cottage rain reading recipe recipes relay report cards resolutions Rhya Tamasauskas Rio de la Plata River river swimming rivers road trip road trips roadtrip rocktails rosehall run royal wedding runner running salt water saltwater pool sandbanks Saskatchewan sauble beach Saugeen Schoolhouse Riviera sculpture seaweed secret swim shade's mills Shannon Litzenberger Shebeshekong Bay Sketchbook skimmer skinny dipping skinnydipping slow lane smores smythe park pool smythe pool snacks sprinting st. john's legends swim club stedmans Stirling submission suburbs summer summer 2016 Summer 2017 summer 2018 summer 2019 summer camp summerary sundhollin Sunnyside Sunnyside beach Sunnyside Pool sunrise sunsets superhero splash suzanne moreau swim swim art swim blog swim crown swim goals swim lit Swim Mantra Swim Meme Swim retreat Swim Rituals Swim Scenes swim tether swim weekend Swim-ventures swimiracle swimlit swimming swimming attire swimming caps swimming friends swimming hole swimming holes swimming hotel swimming lessons swimming pool swimming pools swimming song swimmy swimply Swimsuits tall poppy tanamakoon tanis rideout team mermaids Team Swim technique thanksgiving the 6ix The Beach The Beaches The Deep End this is not my hat tilley hat tips TMU toddler toddlers Toronto Toronto Island Toronto Masters of the Universe toronto pools trackpants transistor radio travel ontario Travel Stories travel writing triathlon turning twelve mile lake Twitter Two Lakes UK underpants uniform University of Toronto Uruguay user guide Varsity vicki smith wading pool warming stations Wasaga Beach Water water therapy waterfalls watermarks weeds Weisser See west end west end phoenix West End Toronto westview beach villas whip kick wild swimming Wilder Lake Wills Laura winery winter picnic winter stations winter swimming worlds smallest bookstore writing xmas Yorkton zier-vogel lindsay
©2016 Lindsay, Rhya & Laura.
... Powered by Blogger.