Kaitlyn Age 12 High 5 Full

Hub Staff

The Centennial Pool in Port Elgin held a week of events and activities from Tuesday, July 14th to Sunday, July 19th to celebrate its 40th birthday.

Tuesday was Party Games Day where such events as bobbing for apples, a piñata and Pin the Rescue Tube on the Lifeguard.

There was a free barbecue held on Wednesday outside the pool between 12 and 3pm where burgers, hot dogs and freezies were on the menu and afterwards a free party hat fun swim.

Thursday was contest and demo day. Lifeguards, with the help of children volunteers, demonstrated lifesaving rescues in the pool for various situations such as unconscious swimmers, panicked swimmers and possible spinal injuries. After the demos were some fun contests including belly flops and a rope swing.

Friday evening the pool held its 40th anniversary open house party and reunion. Junior Saugeen Shores Lifesaving Club members lined the steps to the pool and welcomed guests as they arrived. Inside people were given name tags and were able to sign a special guest book and write a few words about their connection to Centennial Pool.

Aquatics Supervisor, Shanna Reid was the master of ceremonies for the evening with Director of Parks and Recreation, Jayne Jagelewski starting off the proceedings by welcoming and thanking everyone for being at the evening's event.

Ray Fenton, who helped spearhead the fundraising for the pool, spoke of how it came to be. He explained that in the mid 1960s the high school was in need of an expansion and in 1967 a new school was approved to be built in Port Elgin. Fenton, who was a teacher at the school, said that a pool was discussed but it became obvious that the funding wouldn't be provided by the ministry so they started a joint venture between the school board and the municipality. The land was purchased by the Board of Education and the pool portion was severed. The municipality then purchased the deed for the land on which the pool sits today. The Chamber of Commerce formed a committee and numerous fund raising events were held from 1967 to 1974.

“You wouldn't believe it, skate-a-thons, walk-a-thons, bingos, dinners, dances, everything you can think of,” said Fenton. “All the service clubs in the area pledged a huge amount of support."

Mayor Mike Smith spoke about how both his daughters had learned to swim at the facility and about all the successful programs held at the pool over the years. “We're currently putting through approximately 3,000 school children each year for Swim to Survive program and the largest swim program hosts 2,500 children each year taking our Red Cross and lifesaving programs. Just a small capsule of what happens up here and that happens on a daily basis,” said Smith.

Smith, along with Fenton, who helped cut the ribbon at the original opening of the pool, helped with the ceremonial ribbon cutting at this year's event, along with councillors Neil Menage and Mike Myatt and two of the junior members of the Saugeen Shores Lifesaving Club.

Huron-Bruce MP Ben Lobb presented the National team members of the Saugeen Shores Lifesaving Club, who won first place in the National Championships in Brantford in June, with congratulatory certificates. “What a great program you have here with the lifesaving program. Just tremendous results and something that we can all truly be proud of,” he said.

Shanna Reid spoke about individuals throughout the pool's history who have made a big impact with regards to the pool. She also gave praise to volunteers at the pool. “We would not be able to run the programs that we do today without them. We thank the volunteers then and now.”

Staff and Junior Saugeen Shores Lifesaving Club members put on a show at the end of the proceedings, which included rescue demonstrations. Cake and a mocktail bar were available for everyone to enjoy afterwards.

Saturday and Sunday concluded the week's events with an open invitation to the Main Beach in Port Elgin to watch the Sunset Competitions, where the seniors competed on Saturday and the juniors on Sunday.

CLICK HERE to see the full video of Centennial Pool's 40th Anniversary Party.

CLICK HERE to see more photos of the Centennial Pool's 40th birthday celebrations. 


Ribbon Cutting Full

presentation to SSLC senior members Full