Calgary's first indoor beach gets ready for sand sport enthusiasts

Sometimes winter can really spike your volley. But Calgary is being served a new option for beach bums — and it's weatherproof.

22,000-square-foot warehouse filled with sand will help keep the beach in beach volleyball for winter

A local man is creating an indoor beach so Calgarians can enjoy summer sports all year round no matter the weather. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

Sometimes winter can really spike your volley. But Calgary is being served a new option for beach bums — and it's weatherproof. 

In September, just as the leaves think about changing, a new facility called The Beach YYC will open in the city's southeast.

The recreation facility promises to be a beachy spot for active Calgarians who might just want to feel the stuff between their toes or play sports like volleyball, ultimate Frisbee or soccer. 

"There's a lot of people here who want new activities and different recreational activities and ways to kind of hang out and stay active and play around with their friends," said owner Elliot Weinstein. "They want to fill their evenings with something that's not snow-related."

Facility a first for Calgary

He said the concept is definitely a Calgary first, but there are other setups like his in Canada. One in Vancouver was actually the inspiration for his business venture. 

"The idea was actually my dad's, originally," Weinstein said. 

His dad's scrap metal recycling business in Vancouver is right next to an indoor beach. 

"He kind of put me onto this little work-life tangent and said I should look into it here in Calgary and see what's around," Weinstein said.

Weinstein had been laid off from his consulting job at the end of 2016 and he was looking for what to do next. After a few trips to some sunny places like California, he decided the indoor beach biz was the way to go.

Warehouse filled with sand

Now he has a 22,000-square-foot empty warehouse in Ramsay and a plan to transform the space.

Weinstein said it will be filled with 800 tonnes of sand with five removable volleyball courts, a picnic table seating area for spectators and a licensed mezzanine cafe overlooking the indoor slab of paradise. 

There will be showers and change facilities on-site for those looking to beach before work, or maybe on a lunch break. 

Weinstein said one of the big draws is the recreational, intermediate and competitive beach volleyball leagues they are setting up. The facility hopes to also offer youth leagues as the business grows. 

Before the sand, The Beach YYC is just a big empty warehouse. The facility is set to open to the public in September. (Elliot Weinstein)

No swimming area

Unlike some of the more fancy European indoor beaches complete with pools, Calgary's version won't have a swimming area — although he said there will be a fish tank.

And Weinstein said it won't be hot in the facility: they're aiming to keep the beach at room temperature. But they are looking to create some ambiance with painted murals.

They are hoping to test out different events in the space, like a sandy indoor market. 

"It's available for all sorts of community and cultural things," he said. "Beach volleyball is obviously very popular, but really it's about the recreation space."


Helen Pike


Helen Pike led CBC Calgary's mountain bureau in Canmore. She joined CBC Calgary as a multimedia reporter in 2018 after spending four years working as a print journalist with a focus on municipal issues and wildlife. You can find her on Twitter @helenipike.