Pickleball Continues to Expand North of the Border
Posted on June 30 2018
Unlike the United States, it is not known for sure when the sport of pickleball began to expand into Canada. According to the Pickleball Canada website, when snowbirds in the 1970s would return to Canada from the southern United States, they brought the game with them.
Courts were hard to find, of course. In the 70’s, some were built on the roof of the Daon Development building in Vancouver, BC. Fast forward to 1984 and upwards of 48 leagues made use of the courts.
Much like in the United States, the game continued to grow over the years quietly. By 2009, there was enough growth to warrant the formation of the Canadian National Pickleball Association. The growth hasn’t stopped.
The Vernon Pickleball Association recently hosted their second annual Bannister Honda Cruising into Spring Pickleball tournament. Over 150 people from all over British Columbia ranging in age from their 20’s to 80’s competed. With 12 dedicated pickleball courts soon to be complete at Marshall Field, the VPA looks forward to hosting larger tournaments in the future.
According to Don Friesen, Chair of the Dedicated Court Committee (via the VernonMorningStar.com):
“The 12 dedicated pickleball courts at Marshall Field will be maintained by the V.P.A. in a five-year lease agreement from the City of Vernon, with scheduled V.P.A. play times and public access times. Access to the Marshall field clubhouse, kitchen and washrooms will also be available to the V.P.A.”
Last month, there was a pickleball tournament held at Nipissing University’s Robert J. Surtees Athletic Centre (in Northern Ontario). It was the first tournament in the area to be officially sanctioned by Pickleball Canada.
Over 100 competitors from all over the province took place. Plans are already in place for the 2019 edition to be held there as well but from June 21-23.
Another tournament will soon take place in New Brunswick. It will be hosted by the Fredericton Pickleball Club at the Grant Harvey Centre June 9 and 10. According to club president, Alden Briggs, there are upwards of 1000 pickleball players in the area. It’s not hard to see why.
"It's an easy game to learn, but it's a hard game to master," he told the local media. "I've been playing for two years now and play just about every day. It's a wonderful sport."
Probably the hardest part about taking the sport up is finding a place designed for pickleball. Enthusiasts in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary will soon not have too hard a time finding pickleball courts. Thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Columbia Basin Trust, the community of Oasis will soon have a pair of pickleball courts to call their own.
If all of that isn’t enough to convince you that pickleball is on the move in Canada, then head to West Kelowna next month for the First ever Canadian Super Seniors Pickleball Tournament. The tournament is scheduled to take place from August 23-26.
As of June 4, there were 276 people registered, most of whom are locals. But some players are coming in from out of province and even some from out of the country.