When it was recommended we take a look at the Toronto Swim Centre while we were visiting Lake Macquarie last weekend, I went along with an open mind. But, I wasn’t sure I’d see anything I hadn’t already seen in our travels, but I was wrong. The Toronto Swim Centre has gone the extra mile with accessibility, providing a truly inclusive swimming environment for people of all abilities.
TORONTO SWIM CENTRE ACCESSIBILITY
Everyone enjoys choice, and Toronto Swim Centre offers visitors the opportunity to decide which pool suits their needs best. Hoisted facilities provide easy access to all of the pools.
Although this is standard practice in the US, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, in Australia we are often lucky to see even one pool with access, let alone all of them!
The unique feature at Toronto Swim Centre, which I’ve not seen before, is the pool wheelchair lift. There’s one fitted to both the hydrotherapy pool and the lap pool.
A swimmer can use the hoist in the Changing Places bathroom to transfer to the pool wheelchair, which then clips on to the lift and lowers the wheelchair and swimmer into the pool.
The pool wheelchair has movable arm rests which lift out of the way for easy transferring from a wheelchair if needed.
When we visited, many seniors were using the hydrotherapy pool for rehabilitation for aches and pains, injuries and post surgery exercise. The aquatic bike fixtures were proving popular with the users who smiled and chatted to us assuring us it was a low impact way of exercising.
A thoughtful inclusion at the Toronto Swim Centre is the Changing Places bathroom facility which is located conveniently near the hydrotherapy pool.
Push button access, a ceiling hoist, shower facility with bench seat, or shower chair, and an adult change table make a visit to the pool more accessible for people with high support needs. Along with the Changing Places bathroom facility, two unisex stand-alone accessible bathrooms are also available.
The spa at Toronto Swim Centre is popular with locals. One clever gentleman has even solved the age old problem of the spa turning off and the need to get out to press the button to get it going again. I was told about him when I asked about a random stick lying near the spa. The man wasn’t able to get out of the spa to press the button to get it going again each time it switched off, and with a desire to be independent (rather than asking others to help him) he brought along a stick which is just the right length to reach the spa button, while staying in the spa.
PARKING AT TORONTO SWIM CENTRE
Two accessible parking spots are available near the entry to the swim centre.
If you’re visiting the Lake Macquarie area and looking for an accessible indoor swimming pool, we can highly recommend the Toronto Swim Centre. You can check opening times and admission fees on the Toronto Swim Centre website.
You may also like to read our tips for other wheelchair accessible activities to do in Lake Macquarie here.