Pickleball — a hybrid of tennis, badminton and ping pong — is growing in Ottawa, and the city is considering altering more tennis courts to allow the sport to be played.
The game started out in the United States and has quickly caught on with seniors. It's played with a graphite paddle and a whiffle ball.
There are three facilities where tennis courts are marked to play the sport in Ottawa, and the city has told players two more facilities would be converted to allow for the game to be played.
But city officials said they want to see how much demand there is before they add any further courts.
The Pickleball Canada Association lists four courts where the sport can be played in the Ottawa area:
- Orleans: Two outdoor marked tennis courts at 998 Valin St., near Maple Ridge Elementary School,
- Stittsville: One outdoor marked court at 10 Warner Colpitts Ln. at Alexander Grove Tennis,
- Nepean: One outdoor court at 1665 Apeldoorn St., at Carleton Heights Park.
Sport popular among seniors for low-impact exercise
Mike David plays at the Carleton Heights Park off Prince of Wales Drive up to four times per week.
David, who played tennis for about 40 years, said he stopped playing for a year due to a chronic shoulder injury.
"A lot of players that pick up and play pickleball… not always but a lot of them have injuries and stopped playing tennis," David said. "It's a little less abusive to your body, let's say. You don't have to do as much running because the court is smaller."
Marcie Taylor plays the sport six out of seven days per week while she and her husband spend the winter in Florida.
She said people get a lot of exercise playing the sport, with low impact on the body.
"I saw this man practically stumbling, and I thought, how the heck is this guy going to play? He can hardly walk," Taylor said. "He's 82 years old and he's one of the best players there."
Pickleball will make its debut at the Ontario Seniors Olympics in Brampton next month, and 10 athletes from Ottawa will represent the city, including Taylor.
"We're just thrilled to be able to represent our city of Ottawa, and 10 of us, in the first year ever. I find that pretty exciting, that 10 of us can go," Taylor said.