Oshawa’s Rotary Park

By Jill Passmore, Visitor Experience Co-ordinator

In 1925, Rotarians in Oshawa were looking for a worthwhile service project. One of the suggestions was a new playground near the Oshawa Creek. In 1926, they purchased land with frontage on Centre Street for $2,000.

In November 1926, local industrialist and philanthropist, J.D. Storie, donated an additional $2,000 to purchase a second, adjoining, plot of land. The playground included swings and other equipment for children. In 1931, construction began on the swimming pool and only took three weeks to complete.

For $1,200 and gifts of materials, local contractors Bathe & McLellan built the pool. The pool seen in the postcard is 125 by 50 feet with sloping depth from the wading end to allow small children to paddle and swim and was rebuilt in 1960. Swimming lessons have been a regular feature at Rotary Park until the pool’s closure in 2019 due to structural issues and declining use.

3 thoughts on “Oshawa’s Rotary Park”

  1. Interesting well researched story. I used to swim ( wade ) in the pool as a youngster in the early 50’s as I lived nearby on Gibb Street. Used to be reluctant to put my head under the water due to Polio epidemic that was raging. Thanks for the informative piece. Ironically I have been a Rotarian for 40 years.

  2. I would optimistically say that the rotary pool had seen an increase in use after offering free admission in the summer of 2019. The demand is there for sure. I really feel like the rotary pool is deserving of a heritage designation. Is there any political will to save the pool? Would perhaps bathe and McLellan be willing to sponsor a restoration in conjunction with other investors? The rotary pool is something worth preserving I think. It’s a unique slice of Oshawa’s history and a much needed amenity in central Oshawa. You’ve inspired me to look into it a little more and see what the general consensus might be!

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