Please Note:  As the City works to slow the spread of COVID-19, there may be restrictions on our aquatics programming and facilities. Visit our COVID-19 page for the latest updates.

Aquatics Safety - Winter 2020/2021 

While we try to stay active outdoors this winter, either with your household family or partner, this checklist can help prevent potential accidents related to ice and the cold winter water. 

Stay safe this icy winter with the aquatics winter safety checklist below:

Winter Safety Checklist

Remember that drowning doesn’t just happen in the summer and that you can only survive a few minutes in cold water!

Stay Ice Smart: Ice Safety Videos

How thick should ice be before you go out on it? What should you do if you fall through the ice? Check out our aquatic team's videos below for answers to these questions and more on ice safety.

Stay Ice Smart: Ice Thickness

In this video St. Catharines aquatics team member Susanne will walk you through just how thick ice needs to be in order to support various activities and weights. Remember its best to just stay off the ice, even if ice seems thick enough repeated freeze-thaw cycles can impact its strength, creating safety risks.

Stay Ice Smart: Escaping Cold Water

In this video St. Catharines aquatics team member Julie walks you through just what to do if you do fall through ice.

Stay Ice Smart: H.E.L.P.

The answer is the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP) to prevent heat loss as you wait for help if you fall into cold water and are unable to get out.

Winter Weather

The STC aquatics team has a few tips on how to stay warm and safe before heading out into the cold, and what to do if hypothermia strikes.

Winter Weather: Dressing for Warmth 

Everyone loves to get out and enjoy the snow, but remember going outside in the cold can cause hypothermia if you aren't prepared. Join Julie from the STC aquatics team as she walks you through some tips for staying warm while enjoying the great, frosty, outdoors.

Winter Weather: Hypothermia

It's always great to get out and enjoy the outdoors, even if the weather is on the cold side. There are risks however, notably hypothermia if your body's core temperature drops. Join Julie from the STC aquatics team as she walks you through the signs and symptoms, and what to do if you encounter someone with hypothermia.

Pools and Splash Pads

The City's outdoor pools and the pools at the St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre provide citizens and visitors with the opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of healthy activities for all ages and skill levels, including recreational swimming, swimming lessons and fitness.

The City of St. Catharines also operates four splash pads, located throughout the city, which operate late May to September.

St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre information - reopening March 2

Reservations per week

To accommodate as many community members as possible we are offering two swims per week per person for Lengths Swimming, Leisure Swims and Water Walking. 

Reservations are limited to one reservation per day. 

Resident First Swimming for All Programming

In order to provide an opportunity for residents of the City of St. Catharines, reservation for all programming (Lengths Swimming, Leisure Swim, Soak and Stretch, and Water Walking) will occur in advance before the reservation for guests who reside in other areas of the Niagara Region.

Reservation for St. Catharines Residents will occur at 9 am two days prior to the selected swim.

Reservation for Everyone including guests who reside in other areas of the Niagara Region will occur at 9 a.m. one day prior to the selected swim.

Aquatic Fitness Classes

While in the Control – Red category, Aquatic fitness programs in the lane pool and leisure pool will be cancelled. 

The City is encouraging people who are unable to participate in a Therapeutic class in the Leisure Pool to join a Leisure Swim.

Swimming Lessons

Swimming lessons for Winter Mini Session One are cancelled in order to comply with the new criteria. Refunds will be issued, and credits placed on accounts. Please email to request a credit refund.

All advanced Leadership courses will continue to run.

After months of closure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Kiwanis Aquatics Centre reopened on Monday Aug. 31, 2020 with enhanced safety and prevention measures in place.

Guests will require a reservation to access the pools for all swims. As a result of COVID-19, swim programs will have a limited number of spots.

All guests will need to arrive 20 minutes before their booked time slot to:

  • Don your masks
  • check in
  • sanitize your hands
  • COVID-19 screening
  • process payment

Anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to enter.

Guests are encouraged to arrive in swim attire and change and shower at home afterwards.

Change rooms will be open, but capacity will be restricted and lockers will not be available.

Spectators will not be permitted on the pool deck or in the viewing area.

Everyone inside the facility will be required to wear a mask or face covering, except when swimming or showering. Children under the age of five and those who are unable to wear a mask or face covering as a result of a medical condition or disability are exempt.

No outside equipment is permitted to be brought into the facility at his time

There will be no pool toys in the leisure pool. Lifejackets (PFDs) will be available and disinfected after each use.

Flutter boards will be available for lane pool only. Diving blocks will be closed.

Floatation Belts will be available for soak and stretch and water walking.

To ensure equitable access to as many community members as possible, the maximum length of each swim session will be 50 minutes and guest are required to only book one swim per day.

As modified programming is in place there will be limited programs offered, this include Lengths Swimming, Water Walking, Women's Only, Leisure Swims and Soak and stretch.

Membership pass holders may choose to use their passes as payment toward the lane and leisure swims. They may choose to leave their membership on hold until further notice or request a prorated refund.

For membership questions, email or call customer service at 905-688-5601 ext 1800.

Hours of operation may vary, visit  

Modified Swimming Lessons

Available swim lessons can be found on ActiveSTC.

Through our innovative learn to swim continuum, as well as public education, the Red Cross helps Canadians develop healthy, positive attitudes and stay safe in, on and around water.

The Canadian Red Cross Learn to Swim Program offered at the City of St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre are modified so that physical distancing can be maintained.

Modified Red Cross Swim Lessons for pre-school age (Sea Otter, Salamander, Sunfish, Crocodile and Whale) and Swim Kids Levels 1 - 4. These levels require an adult be in the pool with the child.Typically this is the instructor however current protocols require swim Instructors maintain six feet physical distancing from participants except in case of an emergency.

Beginning in the Fall of 2020 a caregiver 15 years of age and over will be required to be in the water with each child at all times during the lesson. The caregiver must be comfortable in chest deep water and able to hold the participant as needed as they practice skills.

Take a virtual tour of the St. Catharines Kiwanis Aquatics Centre


 Policies & Guidelines

  • The City of St. Catharines reserves the right to cancel any swim in order to accommodate special events or course.
  • Pool Facilities may close due to maintenance, thunder, lighting or pool foulings.
  • Parents or guardians must supervise their children at all times when using the splash pads.
  • Patrons who do not have bowel control must wear plastic pants or swim diapers underneath their bathing suits. No diapers please.
  • Water wings, bubbles and floatation devices are permitted only when the child has direct adult supervision in the water.
  • Children 8 years of age and older must change in appropriate change rooms where a family change room is not available.
  • Please leave all valuables at home. The City of St. Catharines is not responsible for lost or stolen articles.
  • Day use lockers are available at most facilities. Locks must be removed nightly. Remaining locks will be removed at the end of the day.
  • Camera cell phones and cameras are not permitted in the washroom or change rooms.
  • For the privacy of all swimmers, picture or video taking is not permitted from the viewing area. To take a picture of your own child please speak to a lifeguard.
  • No glass containers, food or beverages are allowed in the pool and splash pad areas or the area immediately surrounding the pool or splash pad.
  • Do not enter the pool or splash pad if you have an open sore or rash, or are experiencing nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Dogs are NOT permitted on pool decks or splash pads.
  • Conducting Private Training, Instruction and Coaching in City Aquatic Facilities Policy - Independent instructors, trainers, or coaches are not permitted to offer private instruction in City owned aquatics facilities except where they have rented the aquatic facility for the purpose of private instruction, coaching or training in accordance with the City of St. Catharines facilities rental policy.

Going out onto frozen bodies of water poses serious risks, falling through ice can lead to hypothermia, cardiac arrest and even death, so what do you do if the worst happens and you fall through the ice and can’t get out of the water?


The answer is the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP) to prevent heat loss as you wait for help.


In this video St. Catharines aquatics team member Julie walks you through the HELP.


No ice is safe ice, stay ice smart!


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