Pool party taps 1960s theme

Turner Valley: Festivities set for 50th anniversary of Dr. Lander pool

By: By Ian Tennant

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Aug 06, 2014 01:33 pm

Patrons walk in front of the Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool in Turner Valley on Monday. A 50th anniversary celebration will be held for the facility on Aug. 8
Patrons walk in front of the Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool in Turner Valley on Monday. A 50th anniversary celebration will be held for the facility on Aug. 8
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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Be prepared to wiggle into swimsuits from the mid-1960s to help the Town of Turner Valley celebrate the 50th anniversary of its swimming pool.

The Town has a full day planned Aug. 8 to commemorate the 1964 opening of the Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool.

“It will be like an old-time pool party,” said Hazel Martin, community events coordinator for Turner Valley.

Martin said organizers are hoping to see moms, dads, the kids and grandparents dressed in 1960s garb.

The 1960s swimsuits and fashion sense is not a requirement for attendance, Martin said, but in-keeping with the theme the cost of admission will reflect prices from 1964, although the actual amount has yet to be set.

The day will kick off at noon with speeches from dignitaries like Mayor Kelly Tuck, a bit of history about the pool and a ceremonial cake.

The pool party, complete with music from the 1960s and giveaways will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Martin said staff will toss a “huge pool toy” into the water for everyone to play with, although it sounds like there might not be much room in the pool after the toy gets tossed.

“It’s going to fill up the pool,” said Martin chuckling.

Finally, the facility will host a night swim starting at 9 p.m.

People who attend the event on Aug. 8 are asked to leave their dogs at home.

The pool is named after Dr. Harry Lander and his cousin David Lander, two doctors who served the Turner Valley area for decades. According to a history of the area, In the Light of the Flares: History of Turner Valley Oilfields, the Landers were instrumental in helping establish the Turner Valley Hospital.

The Turner Valley Women’s Institute helped establish the first pool in the community in 1936. That pool was unique because it was apparently fed by a hot water spring and could be used year-round.

According to S. Brown’s article in In the Light of the Flares, several members of the Women’s Institute were walking near the Royalite plant and the Sheep River in 1935 when they noticed “a great deal of hot water running down the hill.” They decided a pool was in order and one was built by 1936 with mostly volunteer labour.

That pool closed in 1960, however, after a sulphur plant was built nearby and health authorities decreed swimmers’ were at risk and that the pool had to have purified water and install a filtration system.

A photo in In the Light of the Flares shows Dr. David Lander turning the sod in February 1963 for what would become the Dr. Lander Memorial Swimming Pool.

The pool was dedicated on May 30, 1964, a little more than a year after the death of Harry Lander, who helped pay for David’s medical education, on May 22, 1963.

David Lander died in 1993.


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