First time: Panicking About LeisureOnline, Then Loving 311

August 28th, 2012 by Emma Durand-Wood

I’ve really enjoyed reading the new-ish blogIt feels like the first time” over the last couple months, especially the posts on Winnipeggy stuff. I had my very own “first” today, and as for this post’s title, well, you know what they say about imitation. Anyway, today was my first time using LeisureOnline to register my kiddo for swimming lessons. I really wanted to get him into this one particular class, as it is only offered twice during the fall session, and only one of them is at a time that works for us.

Having lived in Winnipeg for the past 4 (!!) years, I knew that the first day of registration on LeisureOnline (or campsites, or folk fest) can try the patience of saints, but I, myself, had not yet experienced it. The time I’d ever signed up for was a few weeks into the registration period, a couples country dancing class that we never even got to go to, because registration was so low that they cancelled it. (Probably “couples country dance class” should have tipped me off, but what can I say? I’m a nerd.)

Anyway. Since swimming lesson registration starts a day earlier than everything else, I knew I would be in for a special kind of frenzied chaos. A week ago, I made sure I had my login and password and the course code for the class we wanted. I practiced logging in and finding the course. I set myself an email reminder to register at 9am. I was prepared and was not going to do anything that could jeopardize my chances of getting registered!


At 9 this morning I was working away at my desk and opened a separate window to get “in line” at LeisureOnline. I thought it seemed like a pretty good system: if the site is too busy, it puts you on a 5 minute countdown and tries to connect to the website again. You just sit there while the work is done for you. I kept working away, waiting to get onto the site. After about an hour and twenty minutes, elation! I was on! I logged in and quickly found the course I wanted. Hit “register”. Score!

Nope. I then got a message saying that I didn’t meet the age requirements for the class. (I’m not 6 to 36 months.)

Turns out that each member of the family has to be registered in the “family account”. When I signed up for LeisureOnline a couple years ago, it was just me and my husband. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’d need to add my son, but of course, that makes sense. And so, I learned I had to call 311 or visit a pool in person to add him to my family account. I called 311. It’s busy. 311. Busy. 311. Busy. I feared this was a losing battle.

At 11:05 there were only 4 spaces in the class left. 311 was still busy. There’s no callback system, so I kept trying until I got through at 11:15. I get put on hold. At 11:27, a very friendly agent comes on the line. He adds my son to the account and asks if I’d like to register for something over the phone. Joy! Within 2 minutes I was off the phone, having snagged one of the four remaining spots.

So, two and a half hours of mild panic, annoyance, self-reproach, and then delight,  I am now officially a Winnipegger who has faced the wrath of first-day registration with LeisureOnline and survived, thanks to a little luck and the helpful folks at 311. There’s a first time for everything!

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