Pointe Claire summer pool gearing up for 50th season

Marc Lalonde
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Half-century in books for Lakeside Pool

Lakeside Pool president Tom McKenzie and 50th-anniversary committee chairman Pierre Drolet discuss plans for the weekend of July 13th last week in Pointe Claire.

They’re looking pretty good for 50.

The golden anniversary of aPointe Clairesummer pool is a time for reflection and celebration – not only of a community symbol but of the idea that kids need a place to have fun in a healthy way and help them make friends for life, its president said.

“It’s an important milestone for the pool and for its members, some of which have been with the pool since it opened so many years ago,” said Lakeside Pool president Tom McKenzie.

One of eight summer pools in the city,Lakesidemight be the toughest to find. Tucked into a corner ofOvideParkinPointe ClairebetweenLakeshore Roadand Highway 20 inPointe Clairesouth, the pool has thrived over the years, turning out high-level athletes and fostering a sense of community for the neighbourhood surrounding it.

“You can’t begin to measure the impact a pool likeLakesidehas on its community. It’s like a town square would’ve been 100 years ago, or the church 50 years ago – a place for members of the community to gather and socialize. All winter long, people mostly come home from work and go right into their homes. Summer comes and the pool allows us to share the neighbourhood, if only for a few months,” he said.

McKenzie, whose daughter Laura worked as a lifeguard for at Lakeside for eight summers and managed the pool in the summer of 2008, saidLakeside“becomes a part of you.”

It’s a special place, said the president of the pool’s 50th-anniversary celebration committee said, and the pool’s philosophy of getting all of its members involved in pool activities -- other than free swim – will continue to be a priority, he added.

“Kids come to the pool in the morning and they spend the day swimming, diving, playing water polo and otherwise are enagaged in healthy activities outdoors, which is something we embrace strongly,” said Pierre Drolet, who spent many years as an international rugby official when he’s not helping out atLakeside.

Gord Raza joinedLakesideas a member in 1963 when he moved to the neighbourhood as a child. Now, after watching his daughter Jessie and son Reid grow up at the pool has been extremely satisfying.

“It’s a great place and it’s one of those places that is greater than the sum of its parts,” said Raza, who is also the pool’s social director this summer. Raza took on the responsibility for creating the menu for the pool’s 50th-anniversary Green and White gala slated for July 13.

“It should be a lot of fun – like pretty much all the activities we have. That’s what it’s about,” he said. In addition to the gala, the pool will honour significant builders and athletes with a plaque in the pool’s new Hall of Fame and will sell souvenir albums commemorating the occasion.

The Lakeside Pool 50th-anniversary Green and White gala will be held July 13th starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include meal with wine. To reserve your ticket by July 6, send an e-mail to lakeside50th@gmail.com  or visit them online at www.lakesideinfo.ca.

Geographic location: Pointe Claire

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