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Pool market will test the strength of the ‘staycation’ philosophy in 2016


Similar to its easterly neighbour, Ontario also suffered from back-to-back extreme winters. In fact, a CMOS-SCMO report said temperatures in Toronto, the provincial capital of Ontario and most populous city in Canada, were colder than Edmonton during February. It was the coldest month on record dating back to the 1840s. And, when spring finally arrived, it poured in buckets in June, providing the province with enough rain for the entire summer.

Once again, the weather in this province kept builders on standby as to when they could start building pools. Optimism is important in this industry, especially with the probability of facing yet a third consecutive season where it was questionable as to when Mother Nature would actually co-operate. That said, after permit registrations between January and April fell 23 per cent in 2013, and an additional 30.5 per cent (122 fewer permits) in 2014, who would have thought it would only get worse. In 2015, permit registrations decreased again; this time by 12 per cent.

Similar to trends seen in 2013 and 2014, permit registrations continued to decrease over the next four months (May to August). Although an additional 810 permits were registered during this period, it represented an 18.8 per cent decrease year-over-year.

Thanks to the weather, amongst other factors, the pool season has had a tendency to continue later into the year. In fact, this trend is highlighted by the increased number of registered permits between September and December. This period was the lone bright spot for the province as 369 permits (66 more than last year) were registered, representing a 21.8 per cent increase.

Of 15 reporting CMAs in the province, three showed no change (Oshawa, Peterborough, and Thunder Bay), while permit registrations decreased in eight and increased in four.

On the positive side, pool permits in Toronto increased by 22.4 per cent, from 228 in 2014 to 279 in 2015, which ranks third in the country in terms of increased building permit registrations. The city has not made this list since 2012. Pools were also popular in the city of Brantford where 59 permits were registered, which is 28 more than in 2014, representing a 90.3 per cent increase.

On the other hand, permit registrations in 2015 continued to decline in the region of Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, which was down 41 per cent, as well as the city of Hamilton, which decreased by 34 per cent.

Ontario represents 18.9 per cent of the total number of building permits issued in Canadian CMAs, representing an increase of 3.4 per cent.

Top five major urban centres with decreased building permit registration in 2015

Region 2014 2015 (-) Change
Hamilton 283 187 96
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 146 86 60
Sudbury 107 89 17
Saguenay 84 67 17
Guelph 59 42 17


From extreme frost conditions in the spring and wildfires in June to an early summer drought, tornadoes and hail storms, the Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta) experienced a vast number of weather challenges across all provinces. According to CMOS-SCMO, half of the province of Alberta was under a fire advisory in June, while the spring mountain snowpack in the Rockies was less than half of what would be normally recorded. In fact, rain and snow across the Prairies were the lowest on record since 1947.

When looking at the region’s building permit records, and taking into account the climate conditions described above, it really goes to show how extreme cold, snow, and rainy conditions negatively impact the pool industry. Despite the destruction some of these storms can bring, only one of five CMAs recorded fewer pool permit registrations in 2015. The Prairies region experienced a 13.3 per cent increase in 2015 after declining by 5.3 per cent in 2014.

When looking at the individual CMAs, it is interesting to note pool permit registrations increased in Winnipeg by 58.3 per cent and despite permits increasing again by more than 20 per cent in Edmonton, the former knocked the latter out of the fifth position in the top five urban centres with increased building permit registrations in 2015.

Next to British Columbia, this region was one of the country’s most stable markets. For instance, Manitoba was up 18 per cent, Alberta increased by 10.4 per cent, while Saskatchewan held steady with 2014 permit registrations.

The Prairie region represents 2.9 per cent of the total number of building permits issued in Canadian CMAs, which is an increase of 0.9 per cent over 2014.

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