By Carson Ellis For the Independent
On occasion, I find myself wanting to go to places that no longer exist. There’s always a brief moment where I get sort of excited to go to a place I haven’t been in a while. Then, of course, the heartbreaking realization that particular place no longer exists. I will never miss walking aimlessly around a Wal-Mart, but I have missed the heck out of walking around G & H. I think It’s the uniqueness of the certain places that I miss.
One particular building that I fear I will never see the likes of again is the Stettler Centennial Swimming Pool. The white, rectangular building was really a simple and straightforward construction, which some people may not appreciate but I always thought was rather novel. The long front entry that bottle necked slightly in the center for in-and-out traffic and the cashier booth. The staff bullpen that created the T-intersection where you would split off for the men or women’s locker rooms. I never once remember walking in there and not having one of the staff greet anyone who walked by. Granted the winter time was a bit chilly in the front entry with a single row of glass doors that always seemed to be frosted over.
If you ventured up to the second floor, a bulk of it was a mostly over-sized bleacher. They were pushed back a fair ways from the edge and unless something was right there in the main pool, watching what was going on seemed a bit difficult unless you were in just the right spot. At least That’s how it always seemed to me. The rest of the upper floor was a fairly extensive gym that I used really only once and that had been a rather half-hearted effort.
The pools were, of course, the gems of the building. When I was younger, I spent hours in the regular pool. Usually only venturing to the diving pool for one or two dives on the low board. I do remember using the high dive voluntarily once and that was only because once I was up there and realized it was a bad idea, I was too afraid to climb down, since I have always been rather uncoordinated and climbing down a ladder did not seem like a safe alternative.
The pool was constructed in 1967 to mark Canada’s centennial celebrations. It was a joint project between the school district and the town who would split operation of the pool until 1994 when the town took over the school’s stake in the building for a dollar. The pool would close in 2006 with the Rec Center opening a newer pool facility. It was finally demolished in 2012.