British Columbia·Video

Jump, roll and flip through massive new outdoor parkour space

The traditionally urban freestyle sport of parkour is growing in popularity, and new spaces designed specifically for the activity are popping up.

New outdoor parkour space opens in Langley on Thursday

The traditionally urban freestyle sport of parkour is growing in popularity 0:39

Langley is now home to one of the largest parkour practice spaces in Canada. 

The 10,000 square-foot Penzer Parkour Park opened to beginners and enthusiasts Thursday alongside a new pump track for bicycles.

The sport is part gymnastics, part obstacle course navigation — and it's growing in popularity.

Traditionally urban

The challenge is to move quickly through an urban space by running, climbing, jumping, and swinging your way through a series of obstacles.

Lead designer Colin MacDonald has been practicing parkour in public urban spaces for more than 10 years. 

The sport is traditionally a sort of freestyle gymnastics that takes place in existing public spaces which aren't specifically designed for parkour. 

"Parkour is a found sport. You go out into a city and there's a wall there, a staircase there, and a lot of time, you see those elements and they're too far apart or the wrong size or shape," he said.

MacDonald said he drew from his own experiences in various cities to create a space that would be friendlier than concrete courses but still challenging for users. 

Local materials

The new space in Langley was constructed with yellow cedar from Vancouver Island.

MacDonald said he chose to leave the wood in the form of large beams and poles because he had the luxury of working in such a large space.

The design is meant to give beginners a space to try their first jumps of three or four feet as well as provide seasoned veterans space to challenge themselves.

Participants can try their hand at leaping from posts, swinging from bars and climbing over wooden walls. 

Those who swing and miss will land on a rubberized surface that's also integrated into the design of the course.

The flooring itself is dotted with red circles to create a game: avoid touching the coloured spots because they're "like lava."

Macdonald said the sport has a broad appeal, but it really resonates with teenagers who have "aged out" of traditional playgrounds and maybe don't love organized sports.