There’s a new way to beat the heat in Toronto this summer.
A company called Swimply is letting users rent out backyard pools by the hour for a private swim experience. The website is an online marketplace similar to Airbnb where homeowners can list their pools for rent.
There are nearly 40 pools available on Swimply in the Greater Toronto Area, with enticing names such as Tropical Oasis and Escape to Paradise. Prices per hour range from $33 to $250, and owners can set limits on how many guests are allowed to swim in the pool.
“Founder and CEO Bunim Laskin came up with the idea in New York one summer after noticing a neighbour’s pool which was rarely in use,” a company spokesperson told Daily Hive via email. “He rented their pool in exchange for assistance paying for the pool’s upkeep.”
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Laskin wanted to grow that informal arrangement into a business and started Swimply in 2018. He pitched it on Shark Tank in 2020 but didn’t get a deal. However, the exposure garnered interested in the business and demand for private pool rentals exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the US, Swimply has 250,000 users and more than 10,000 pools available to rent. Prices for the pools are currently listed in USD on the site, but the company is working to update prices to CAD for Canadian users.
Some of the pools listed offer other backyard amenities such as a barbecue, patio seating, and sport courts.
Hosts aren’t obligated to allow guests access to a bathroom, but about 85% of currently Swimply hosts do, according to the company. Hosts who don’t have washroom facilities available for use can only rent the pool for one hour at a time to a maximum of five guests.
With Toronto’s public pool reservations filling up quickly while capacity is reduced because of COVID-19 restrictions, people looking to cool off may want to check out private pool options.
Swimply also operates Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg.