Quadra St @ Pembroke (3.5/5 stars)
I’ll admit, I bought a membership to this place because it’s only a 10-minute walk from my studio. A downtown establishment, Crystal Pool is known for its large bulbous skylights that invite great amounts of daylight.
It’s an older fitness centre with cracks in the pool and a variable population, but the steam room, sauna and hot tub are always hot. And they have 50-metre lengths for several hours daily! Yay.
I find that this pool attracts plenty of men who enjoy holding forth on everything from climate change to local politics – in the sauna, of all places. A few months ago, I was privileged to hear one guy going on at length about a skin growth that he had to get removed eventually. A lovely story, especially told at full volume in a tiny room, when the hot bake/cool splash ritual is supposed to be your happy place. Frown.
That aside, Crystal Pool is a versatile, comfortable aquatic centre with fitness machines lining the stands, swim clubs, kids’ swimming lessons, and a diverse population that means you’re welcome whether you’re young or old, sane or insane, rich or poor.
Supposedly it is being rebuilt after years of consultation and planning, however no one knows quite where and when. I’m bound to keep showing up until they tear it down!