Kits history lesson: How we got our iconic Kitsilano Pool Wind Swimmer

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windA little while back I asked readers what our neighbourhood icon should be, in light of Main Street getting a controversial, and to many tacky, piece of public art known as the Main Street Poodle.

The emails flew in. And guess what? It turns out Kitsilano already has the perfect icon: the Kitsilano Pool Wind Swimmer weather vane, located at Cornwall Street and Yew on the upper deck of the Kits Pool.

I’m sure you’ve noticed it as you stroll Kitsilano Beach Park. Do you know how this sleek creation came to be?

History of the Kitsilano Pool Wind Swimmer

The Wind Swimmer sculpture by artist Doug Taylor was inspired by the artist’s meeting with an older man who swam regularly off Stanley Park. Taylor decided to build him a mate to swim along with him.

The prototype was made in 1993 for the Artropolis exhibition and installed in Stanley Park, but it was smashed by a log. The Parks Board pursued their cause and found a donor: Mary and Herb Auerbach.

The current Wind Swimmer sculpture is made from wood, steel, aluminum, lead and bronze and was installed at Kits Beach in 1996. The mechanism is specially engineered so that at winds of more than 55mph, it turns sideways and slows down.

 Were you living in Kits when the swimmer went up? Tell us what you remember. Thus ends the Kits history lesson.

Last modified: March 1, 2013

One Response to " Kits history lesson: How we got our iconic Kitsilano Pool Wind Swimmer "

  1. Ko Kimura says:

    Thank you for the story.
    I fell in love with the Wind Swimmer when I first saw it over ten years ago. It makes me smile every time I walk by and I have been wondering about the story behind it at somewhere in my head for quite some time.
    The swimmer now looks a bit rusty and color seems fading. I hope there is a plan to clean or refresh a bit.