Monday, March 3, 2014

Verdun to Get an Aquatic Centre

Fantastic news out of Verdun borough hall today. The local council has been quietly working towards building an indoor aquatic centre since 2009. Today, they've gone public with a budget - $18.6 million - and a projected opening date - 2016.

The complex will be built in Therrien Park, a riverside park in the south east corner of the borough. It's the last park before you hit Highway 15 South to Nuns' Island. Therrien Park already has baseball diamonds, football fields, tennis courts, a skateboard park, an outdoor pool and wading pool with water features, a playground, chalet and dog park. 

The park is also close to the Verdun Auditorium, a sometime home to junior hockey, heavy metal concerts and pro wrestling bouts. The borough is looking at redeveloping the Aud to get more use out of the arena. This could be the beginning of a new cultural and sporting axis in southwest Montreal. Woot woot!

Verdun already possesses one of the nicest outdoor pool complexes in Montreal. Our Art Deco Natatorium, built in the 1930s, was at one time considered the largest public swimming complex in Canada. It was built during the Depression and finished in 1940. Olympic swimming gold medalist Johnny Weismuller, who was also the star of the Tarzan movies, inaugurated the Nat in 1940. For indoor swimming, Verduners have had to use pools inside local high schools.

Today, the Nat has  a heating wading pool. Navi, a kayak-rental company, operates from a kiosk outside the Nat all summer long. It remains a beautiful swimming pool, with sight lines on the blue water of the St. Lawrence River.  Dreaming of summer. . .

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