Skip to content

A 'fixture' in the community: Ruben Yli-Juuti Pool expected to reopen in May

Renovations almost complete after a nearly two-year shutdown

The history of Elliot Lake’s indoor pool – the Ruben Yli-Juuti Pool – and the Elliot Lake Aquatic Club was presented by Elliot Lake Secondary School principal and son of Ruben Yli-Juuti, Rick, at the local historical society monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Rick Juuti took the audience through the initial plan to build an indoor pool that started in 1970 when a committee was formed to look at the possibility. His father spearheaded the idea and undertook extensive fundraising efforts to move the project forward.

Several audience members knew some of the history having worked at the beach or the pool in the past. mostly as lifeguards.

“My dad began the process of raising funds to build a pool because he remembered seeing kids shivering at the lake for swimming lessons and he said we need an indoor swimming pool in northern Ontario.”

The fundraising included a $100,000 contribution from each of the two mining companies in Elliot Lake another $100,000 from city council and a Wintario grant as well as residents from the community, some who questioned the need for an indoor pool but contributed to it. The school board also donated the land the pool sits on adjacent to ELSS.

“My dad was able to generate this excitement about building an indoor pool. His tenancy and his drive allowed for an indoor pool in our community to be built,” Rick Juuti said.

He remarked about the current renovations that have closed the pool for almost two years with an expected reopening in May. Something that many residents may not know is the pool has closed twice for upgrades before since it was opened in 1976.

The municipal pool was renamed in honour of Ruben Yli-Juuti when he passed away in 2011.

His son also talked about the formation of ELAC and how much it has given a number of local swimmers an edge in competitions locally, provincially and nationally. He also talked about ELAC swimmers who are now coaches for the current roster of swimmers, like himself.

The club has been a “big fixture in our community,” he said taking part in events in Elliot Lake in a fundraising or support capacity.

“We support swimming and youth being active,” Juuti added. “They have the social benefit, health benefit and psychological benefit.”

“It’s difficult to compete with a cell phone in your hand,” he joked.


About the Author: Kris Svela

Kris Svela has worked in community newspapers for the past 36 years covering politics, human interest, courts, municipal councils, and the wide range of other topics of community interest
Read more