A group of swimmers enjoying the water and warm weather during the Gorge Swim Fest in 2018. (Black Press Media file photo)

Swim-enthusiasts ready to make a splash at the 2019 Gorge Swim Fest

On July 21, swimmers of all ages make their way to the Banfield Park dock

July 2019 may not be the warmest on record, but that doesn’t mean swimming is off the table. Those looking for a spot to swim can look no further than the Banfield Park in Vic West. On Sunday, the eighth annual Gorge Swim Fest is taking place at the public dock in the park.

From noon until 4 p.m., swim enthusiasts will gather for an afternoon of swimming, crafts, games, food and music. Gorge George will also be in attendance in his signature vintage black and white striped swimming costume to hearken back to the good old days at the swimming hole. In its heyday from the 1890s to the 1930s, the Gorge Waterway was the site of many swimming competitions and galas.

READ ALSO: LGBTQ-themed swim at B.C. pool cancelled after online backlash

The free event celebrates the history of the Gorge Waterway and welcomes families for swim and sand-based activities, says Jack Meredith, a member of the Gorge Swim Fest Society — the group hosting the event. The Gorge Swim Fest is actually a revival of the original swim galas that used to take place over 100 years ago, he says.

He swims at Banfield Park frequently and people are always surprised to see him come out of the water as they assume it’s not clean. It was polluted for a long time, but the water was deemed safe for swimming in 2000, following a major clean up in the ’90s, he says.

The goal of the event is also to promote sustainable initiatives to ensure the safety of swimming in the Gorge and assist with organizations who want to host swim-oriented events, Meredith explains.

The water at Banfield Park is sampled by Island Health (VIHA) bi-weekly from May 19 to Sept. 7 in accordance with the Canadian Recreational Water Guidelines. According to Joanne Lum, a senior environmental health officer with VIHA, the latest sample results for Banfield Park will be available on Friday. The recent results from the Esquimalt Gorge Park showed that the water is safe for swimming and no issues were found with water safety at Banfield Park last year. Similar results can be expected this year.

So grab your swimsuit, your water wings and lots of sunscreen, and head down to the city-wide swim party in the warmest open water in the area.

Free tickets are available online for those who wish to register.


@devonscarlett
devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Eric Ross dives in head first at the Gorge Swim Fest at Banfield Park in 2018. (James MacKenzie/Black Press)

Just Posted

Ongoing Saanich Schools strike forces production of ‘Matilda the Musical’ to Esquimalt High

Four Seasons Musical Theatre had to find alternative venue for production

Saanich Peninsula parents accuse district of leveraging deadline

Support workers receive show of solidarity from parents during rally outside school district office

Saanich ranked third for participation in FortisBC energy-efficient upgrades program

800 older apartment buildings in B.C. have received upgrades since 2015

Provincial funding allows Greater Victoria immigrants, refugees better access to counselling services

The Vancouver Island Counselling Centre for Immigrants and Refugees was a recipient of new funds

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 12

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

Former B.C. youth pastor guilty on one of five sexual assault allegations

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Cloverdale couple not guilty of majority of charges

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Most Read