The recent controversy over the failing 20-year-old registration system for the City of Toronto's public recreation programs has added to what was already an uncertain summer for recreation in Toronto, after last week's news of a potential union strike or lockout. City spokesperson Wynna Brown confirmed a CUPE Local 79 work stoppage would postpone registration for spring-summer recreation programs.
What no one seems to be talking about, though, is the real reason why it's so hard to get your kids registered for recreation programs in Toronto: there just aren't enough spots.
Even if you've armed yourself with everything you need to know to register online for summer programs such as swimming and summer camps, you're probably going to be out of luck. For a city of over 5.5 million people, there just aren't enough swimming lessons available at Toronto city pools.
Beyond dated technology, the reason that the online registration system is so stressed is because every parent in the city knows how limited spots are: if they don't make a mad dash to register their kids for swimming lessons on the very second that the online registration opens, they won't get a spot.
There is likely a backlog of years of demand, since it takes years to learn to swim, and there are only 5 sessions all year: Fall, Spring and 3 fast-track swimming lesson session in summer (mostly daytime lessons that working parents can't attend). If you miss a couple of registration dates, you'll be still trying to register for that same class next year.
So, if you are as hell-bent on your kids learning to swim as you should be (for obvious safety reasons), here is a list of places you can go to learn to swim in Toronto when all of the city swimming lesson programs are (inevitably) fully booked. Or when the registration system fails, or the Union craps out, whichever comes first.
9 Places to Get Swimming Lessons Outside of City Pools in Toronto
- Swim Secure (www.swimsecure.ca) Operating out of Central Technical School, located at Bathurst and Bloor, Swim Secure specializes in private swimming lessons, tot lessons and parent & tot lessons.
- Felix's Swim Schools (www.felixswimschools.com) Multiple locations Downtown, Junction, Beach, Markham, Woodbridge and North York.
- Shendy's Swim Centre (www.shendys.com) 22m saltwater pool in North York.
- Zodiac Swim School (www.zodiackids.ca) North York
- AquaMobile Home Swim Lessons (aquamobileswim.com) They teach all across Toronto and the GTA. Private swimming lessons in your own pool.
- Olympian School of Swimming (www.olympianswimming.com) North York, Scarborough and Markham.
- Beach Swim School (www.beachswimschool.ca) Various east-end locations.
- Jack of Sports (www.jackofsports.com) Various locations east, west and central Toronto.
- G.S. Aquatics (www.gsaquatics.com) In Bayview/401 area and Bayview/Eglinton area.