Cooling off at Davidson’s Pool

local people found their way to the refreshing waters of the North and South Alouette rivers, Kanaka Creek and Whonnock Lake

On a sweltering hot summer day, nothing beats the cooling effect of fresh running water.

Before the time Maple Ridge had built outdoor or indoor swimming pools, local people found their way to the refreshing waters of the North and South Alouette rivers, Kanaka Creek and Whonnock Lake.

The chilly North Alouette River is fed by snow melt, and the slightly warmer South Alouette River drains the south end of Alouette Lake.

There are swimming holes at various locations along the South Alouette before the two rivers join in Pitt Meadows.

One of the most spectacular and popular places to swim is Davidson’s Pool, located a little way upstream from Maple Ridge Park.

An earlier name for the swimming hole was Smedly’s Pool, changed to recall the next landowner, J. Davidson.

In earlier days, long before there was a dam controlling the flow of the South Alouette River, the Katzie First Nations fished the waters of Davidson’s Pool. They were careful to keep their canoes and paddles from colliding with the natural rock formations, in order not to disturb the spirits of the place.

After the arrival of European settlers here, loggers used the swift flowing waters to float logs downstream.

Today’s photo of the crowd at Davidson’s pool was taken in the 1940s by the late George Clark. You will notice a cement block supporting a diving board, located over the deepest part of the pool.

A 1935 photo in the Maple Ridge Museum collection shows a log bridge built over the river, but it was swept away by high winter water.

Another attraction that people remember was a rope tied to an overhanging tree on the north side of the pool. Daring young people would swing out over the water for a quick splashing entry.

The diving board was used and abused, with some daredevils riding their bicycles down the path, along the board and into the pool, with no regard for swimmers below.

The Maple Ridge parks department took over the dilapidated row of Cross’s Cabins on the north bank of the river to create a parking area and a picnic park.

The district also made a small parking place on the south side, with interpretive signage provided by the Maple Ridge Community Heritage Commission.

Probably with fear for public safety, the district removed the diving board and fenced off the cement platform. People still follow their irresistible impulse to dive or jump into the pool.

Another favourite way to enjoy the cool waters of Davidson’s Pool is to drift downstream on an innertube or other flotation device.

People enter the South Alouette River further upstream, then float downstream, bumping into the occasional rock.

The sun heated ‘hot rocks’ around the pool offer the perfect warming or sunbathing place.

Thanks to the tree growth nearby, there is always a shady retreat as well.

Despite all the other swimming options now available around Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, Davidson’s Pool remains a cherished and well-used summer retreat.

 

Sheila Nickols is past president of the Maple Ridge Historical Society.

Just Posted

Ridge paddlers named to provincial team

Malfesi leads group of six athletes from the Whonnock club

SFU creates fund in memory of Aiden Serr

A celebration of his life on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 1 p.m. at Maple Ridge Baptist Church.

Should Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows partner on pools?

Pitt Meadows mayor suggest joint planning with Maple Ridge

UPDATE: Alert issued for South Alouette River

River is flowing high due to a controlled release from the Alouette Dam.

Ridge Meadows Flames run winning streak to five games

Junior Bs host Steelers on Friday night

Can’t kill bears for eating honey

Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows farmers encouraged to use electric fencing

An adopted cat is the best 10 pounds you’ll gain this season

BC SPCA encouraging families to add a forever feline friend during adoption event Nov. 24 to Dec. 3

Uber official says public needs to push for ridesharing in B.C.

Mike van Hemmen tells Kelowna Chamber of commerce ridesharing would be ‘win-win-win’

B.C. co-ops relieved with Ottawa’s housing strategy

Federal government to have a new co-operative housing funding model in place by 2020

B.C. NDP referendum plan sparks legislature battle

David Eby says public will decide on proportional referendum

Hammy has been freed of his threads, a purple antler remains

The iconic Prince Rupert buck with a piece of hammock attached to his antlers was caught by COs

Court adjourned again for man linked to Shuswap farm where human remains found

Curtis Sagmoen will appear back in court on Dec. 14

Kirk McLean, Dave Babych in Surrey for Rogers Hometown Hockey stop

Roadshow event in December will include meet-and-greet with the NHL alumni

B.C. family advocating for drug decriminalization following death of son

Federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has noted the New Democrats would decriminalize personal possession of all drugs

Most Read