Ambleside had a fantastic outdoor pool 60 years ago

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I was surprised to come across this photo while digging through the West Vancouver Archives for another story.

It’s picture perfect — a pool overlooking Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge on a sunny day.

Even though my parents and grandparents have lived on the North Shore for years, they never told me an outdoor pool existed at Ambleside Park 60 years ago.

The Kingsmen Pool opened on July 9, 1954 (the year the photo was taken) and was in use until 1977.

It cost $65,000 to build and was a collaboration between the Kingsmen’s Club, the public and local businesses.

But the pool had seen its day by the time the West Vancouver Aquatic Centre was built in 1976. It was deemed too costly to operate and, after 22 years of life, it was filled in. Plus, money was being lost due to the West Coast’s lengthy rainy seasons, despite the pool being heated.

Even though it was a long shot, this photo got me thinking.

With talk of Ambleside revitalization constantly being brought up at West Van council, would Ambleside ever be home to a similar pool?

Not likely.

With the success of the new West Vancouver Rec Centre nearby (numbers are exceeding expectations), the needs of swimmers are already being taken care of, district spokesman Jeff MacDonald told me.

So this image, shot 60 years ago, will have to remain in history.

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