Wet and wild

Want to make a big splash this summer? Look no further than your own neighbourhood for some fun in the water, Mike Carroccetto writes

Get wet to beat the heat.

One of the best ways to have some family fun on a hot summer day is to hit the water. This is not only a fantastic way to stay cool, it’s also great exercise. 

Spread widely across the city of Ottawa, there are nine outdoor pools, 56 wading pools, over 100 splash pads and four public beaches. 

Beaches are always fun. A place to put some warm sand between your toes and get your skin wet. In the west end, Westboro Beach features free parking, a cafe and washrooms etc. 

In the far east end, Petrie Island Beach is a hive of activity on most summer days. This is also the home of the annual Carivibe Festival, which is not only fun and colourful, but also a kid- and family-friendly event. This year, the first annual Ottawa Beach Soccer Festival will be held at Petrie Island from July 5 through 7.

Britannia Beach, located in the Bayshore area, is perfect for picnics, or just to watch the sailboats go by. The water is shallow at Britannia, making it perfect for youngsters. There is free parking, plus a full list of amenities including washrooms, outdoor showers and play structures.

Mooney’s Bay not only has a beach, but also a fantastic children’s playground. It features a lighthouse slide, orca-shaped monkey bars, a ship that rocks back and forth as you move, a log cabin, and a canoe-shaped teeter-totter as well as a multitude of play structures. There are also swings for children of all ages, as well as an accessible swing seat, and a raised sandbox. 

At all these beaches, lifeguards are on duty from about mid-June to late August. 

Splash pads are always a hoot. Kids can have fun and stay cool at the same time. The centrally-located Brewer Park splash pad even has a small water slide, plus lots of mature trees for shade. The Citiplace Splash Pad (off Colonnade Rd. N.) includes a windmill and spray loop, plus a covered sitting area for adults. Whether you live centrally, or in the far ‘burbs such as Kanata (Walter Baker Park), Barrhaven (Longfields Park), Riverside South (Claudette Cain Park) or Orleans (Millennium Park), there is a splash pad or two and likely more, located within a short drive.


Crestview, the outdoor pool located at 56 Fieldrow St. in Nepean, is perfect for those who live in the west end.

For families with toddlers who love to play in the water, too, try a local wading pool. They tend to open early, usually before mid-June.  

Should inclement weather get in the way, there are also 20 indoor pools, plus three wave pools within city limits.

There is no cost to use splash pads, wading pools and beaches. There are fees for parking at both Mooney’s Bay and Petrie Island beach locations.  

For more info, including user fees and/or memberships costs for outdoor and indoor pools, plus a full list of locations, check the city’s website at Ottawa.ca.

Wherever you may go to have fun on the water, don’t forget to play safe.




Useful information

Swimming pool, wading pool and splash pad locations: 


Applicable user fees can be found here:




Did you know?

Every year, about 160 people drown in Ontario. Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children under five years old, and statistics show that children under 12, boaters, young men and seniors 65+ are at greatest risk. Basic water safety skills are essential. Swimming pools, lakes and rivers offer year-round fun if they are enjoyed safely. Drowning is fast and silent, but every drowning death is preventable with water safety knowledge and common sense.

Source: Royal Life Saving Society Canada



Water safety tips

  • Learn to swim
  • Always swim with a buddy
  • Children and non-swimmers should always be supervised around water
  • Wear a lifejacket whenever you are in a boat
  • Alcohol and water don’t mix: don’t drink and swim and don’t drink and drive your boat