Everyone Invited to Play Pickleball at O'Connor Playground

Sep 6, 2018

The City of Greater Sudbury officially opened its first outdoor courts dedicated exclusively to the popular sport of pickleball.

The courts, located at O’Connor Playground, 140 St. George St. in Sudbury have permanent pickleball nets and are open to the public, first come, first served.

Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre, Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger and Deputy Mayor/Ward 12 Councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann were on hand today to celebrate the grand opening and try the sport, with the help of Greater Sudbury Pickleball Association volunteers.

“Pickleball is a fast growing sport in North America,” said Mr. Lefebvre. “Snowbirds are encountering this sport across the border and once home, they want to continue to play. The new outdoor court at O’Connor Playground is an excellent example of an initiative that enables seniors to live active and socially-connected lives for the benefit of families and quality of life of the entire community.”

Construction began in May 2018 on a 13,310 square foot area previously designated for tennis to create six permanent pickleball courts, accommodating up to 24 players at a time. The new pickleball facility has been made possible with a $23,500 investment through the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program and $28,000 under the City of Greater Sudbury’s Healthy Community Initiative Fund and capital budget.

“Pickleball is a perfect complement to our provincial age-friendly designation, to an affordable access to recreation strategy and to our overall goal to achieve population health,” said Greater Sudbury Mayor Brian Bigger. “Pickleball is low cost and accessible. People of all ages can enjoy the sport on centrally located courts at O’Connor Playground, free of charge and without advance booking.”

Pickleball is a mix of tennis, badminton and table tennis. It is played by either singles or doubles with a light plastic whiffle ball and a large paddle on a badminton-size court. No previous experience is necessary. Players new to the sport require some degree of mobility, balance and cardiovascular health.

 “Pickleball really is an ideal sport,” said Ward 12 Councillor Joscelyne Landry-Altmann. “It requires only a net, paddle and a ball and it’s friendly to aging bodies, but not exclusive to seniors. Youth love the sport as well. One of our goals is to work with the Greater Sudbury Pickleball Association to engage our local youth. It’s a healthy way to connect with like-minded individuals.”

During the winter, more than 120 pickleball players have access to indoor venues shared with other sports in downtown Sudbury, Dowling and Valley East. In warm weather, additional outdoor courts are shared with tennis players at Lo-Ellen Playground.

“Pickleball is addictive and has a fun and social aspect to it,” said Greater Sudbury Pickleball Association President Mike Gardner. “It’s a game of strategy, patience and placement with less emphasis on power, strength and speed. We expect the numbers of pickleball players will explode as more people become aware of this wonderful sport and more facilities become available.”

For more information about the Greater Sudbury Pickleball Association, and their introduction to pickleball clinics, email sudburypickleball@gmail.com