Canadian swimming badges

All you Canadian kids out there probably recognize these little morsels, and so will Mom and Dad. When I was little my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons, tossing me half-naked into a group of other kids I barely knew in order to ensure I wouldn’t sink to the bottom of a pool like a stone. Well, it worked and today I can swim like doofus whenever I need to.

The Canadian Red Cross swimming lessons were broken up into “colors”. When you completed a level you were awarded with that badge color. I always liked the design of those badges, really smart with the swimmer aligning with the wave. I managed to find these online last week and wanted to show them off, mostly because these are the four I got when I was a kid. Maroon basically meant “He can dive, but not well.”

Not sure if you have these in other countries, or if us Canadians were the lucky ones. I’m not even sure if these are still being used. Anyone know?






17 responses to “Canadian swimming badges”

  1. castlenes Avatar

    I have those! Looks like there are numbers instead of colours:

    No indications as to badges.

  2. Christoph Dennenmoser Avatar
    Christoph Dennenmoser

    In Germany we have a seahorse badge for the small kids. Then there are bronze, silver and gold badges.

  3. andyweak Avatar

    Wow!! Many memories came rushing back when I saw these. I still have my original card and patches all the way to the color white. You should at least have the white badge Mr. White.

  4. J Marsh Avatar
    J Marsh

    Dude. I miss the colours. They changed to numbers in Canada as well somewhere during the 90’s. I became a lifeguard and awarded the number badges to kids, but the colours were still the best. :)

    I have seen a few badges from other countries. Some places use animals (I think the YMCA has an animal system, or did at one time). And when you get past the colour/number levels a metallic system is really common.

    The Royal Life Saving Society system (Bronze Medallion, etc.) is suprisingly common around the world too.

  5. Ryan Avatar

    It depends on what age/level they’re in. The kids are in lessons now. Alexis just gets stickers, but Shannon get badges. I’m not sure if he got any yet – they finish this week. But I’ll have a look to see if they still look the same and let you know.

  6. Chris Pecora Avatar

    Yes! I still have these at home somewhere. My mom stitched them to a towel. The new ones aren’t nearly as cool.

    Thanks for posting!

  7. Kevin Avatar

    Dang. This brings back memories. Going to go hunt for them now.

  8. Dartmouthy Avatar

    Nice! I don’t know where mine are but I must have some…somewhere

  9. Shelby White Avatar

    Ooooo. The yellow and orange badges are money.

  10. David Kanigan Avatar

    Ohhhh, James this brings back memories. (Mostly painful ones at that). Thanks for the post.

  11. Christopher Avatar

    Hi when I young 6 years old my parents brought me local aquatic centre to take swimming lesson I found it was hard and a waste of Time it took me 7 years just to get all the badge I complete when I was in sec 2 then I went for lifeguard training it took me 3 years when I was 17 I got a job a local aquatic centre pcac as a lifeguard
    Then when I was 19 my apparment when up in flame I lost everything the badges and medal I want to replace it to show to my kids I 35 years old

  12. chris yu Avatar
    chris yu

    i left a message where is it

  13. Marie Avatar

    I lost my sons’ badges in a move. I need yellow, orange & grey. Please help me replace them!!!

  14. Crystal Avatar

    Hi There,
    As everyone else here, I have very fond memories of my swimming classes and my achievements in swimming. I still have my swimming card with all the levels completed but sadly I cannot find my badges anywhere. I would really love to find them online if possible. Can anyone recommend how I can do that? I have moved many times but have everything else…it is a mystery to me as to where they have disappeared to. Thanks so very much!

  15. Deb Avatar

    Thanks for posting these! To anyone who still has their cards, can you please tell me what the treading water requirements were for the various colour levels? My husband I remember it being pretty onerous, but wonder if it wasn’t actually that bad. Didn’t we also have to do mouth to mouth resuscitation?!

  16. coffeedrinker Avatar

    This will tell my age lol , but mine had the little guy, the cross , large round patches and S marks on them , for beginner, inter and senior , lifesaving 1 and 2 , synchronized swimming 1 and 2, was going for my gold medallian which required 3 or 4 more badges ( needed 1 more ), you can try searching for them , the Red Cross are where the badges come from.

  17. Tyler Avatar

    When I was young I took swimming lesson it was in colors Yellow was easy orange was ok after red it was hard I push a lifeguard in the pool because I could not earned the badge.Green

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