I belong to the YMCA of Mississauga, a beautiful facility right next to the Square One mall and the central branch of the Mississauga Library. I joined for swimming. They have a great pool, I'm a 5-minute drive away, and it's only $50 a month for a basic membership.
In New York, because we didn't live in an upscale neighbourhood, I either walked - not a pleasant walk, but a congested, annoying walk - to a low-budget, low-service gym, or schlepped on the subway to swim in an overpriced basement - and paid well for the privilege. The Mississauga Y is nicer than any health club I could afford in New York City, and half the cost.
Of course, that means you're living in Mississauga, not New York City, which for most of my life was not a tradeoff I would have chosen. When co-workers would come back from vacation extolling the low rents or housing prices in Houston, or Atlanta, or Cleveland, I'd think, Yes, rents are low, but you have to live in Cleveland. I didn't move here for the inexpensive health clubs. It's just a nice bonus.
So anyway. (Notice I didn't say "But I digress"? I'm waiting impatiently for that one to die out.) Now it might get even better.
We live right near the Mississauga Valley Community Centre, one of many community centres out here. This one houses a branch library, teen and senior programs, and all kinds of sports and recreation. Walking and driving past it, I've seen a sign for the Terry Fox Aquatic Centre, and kept meaning to check it out.
I finally did, and I'm amazed.
You don't even have to register. You just show up.
It's in walking distance, and it's free. Wow.
Hours are limited, as length swimming has to share time with swim lessons, but I should be able to work with it.
Naturally I'll check it out before I end my Y membership. But if it works, it will be completely amazing.