OUR HISTORY: Recalling outdoor pool

Next time you visit Mission’s public library on Second Avenue, pause for a moment — under the parking lot used to be the community’s first outdoor pool.

“The welcome news was given at a meeting of Village Commissioners on April 19, 1928, that the province was providing 100 lots along Lane Creek for park purposes — for the nominal sum of $100. It is the ideal spot for making a playground, and the delightful little stream running through makes it possible to establish a dandy swimming pool …”

Variously referred to as Centennial Park, and then Ravine Park, the official opening was June 4, 1933.

Much credit was given to Commissioner McRae — not surprising, as his family lived on Third Avenue and children and grandchildren were to spend years enjoying the creek. The local Kinsmen Club was credited with providing picnic tables, fireplaces, footbridges. The creek was dammed at Second Street and a band stand erected; and a road provided access into the heart of the park. In 1959, the park was turned over to the Town of Mission City, by Kinsmen president Charles McPherson.

Old photographs at the Mission Community Archives show various changes over the years. In 1964, the Kinsmen Club got approval to upgrade the facilities — including a new wading pool, six-lane competitive swimming pool and change rooms.

Many of Mission’s swimmers got their start in that outdoor pool, where Mission Marlins swim club held competitions. Gary McDonald became Mission’s Olympic hero; Liz Guest was a high-ranking swimmer too, and Brent Hayden likely paddled in the pool there. Wendy McCormick, recently retired after 30 years with the district’s parks, recreation and culture department, received her first lifeguarding job there.

The Lane family, after whom the area was named, had settled in Mission in 1908. On April 7, 1910 the newspaper stated that “Mr. Clarence Lane has opened his store ‘The Palace Shop’ on Washington Street and is doing good business.” The store was located next to the Masonic Hall on First Avenue, known as Lane’s Department Store. His brother Aja, who had come to Mission to work for the CPR, was also involved. In the 1940s his son Merrill joined as a working partner and took over in the 1960s after the death of his uncle Clarence. On March 18, 1959 Lane’s Ltd. celebrated the 50th anniversary of their business in Mission. The houses on Second Avenue (near Grand) were home for many members of the Lane family. To many people who grew up in Mission, Lane’s is an important part of its history.

Next Week: Parks named after athletes Gary McDonald, Mr E Lighburn, and Tom Jones. If you have memories or old photos to share, please contact Sharon at 604 615-6082 or email Bethsdottir@gmail.com.

Sharon Syrette will be writing a number of columns on Mission parks and trails history in recognition of BC Heritage Week’s theme of parks and nature preserves.