Names left to right are: Kourtney Penner, Ward 11 Councillor, City Of Calgary Sheila Taylor, CEO, Parks Foundation Of Calgary Stephanie Kusie, MP, Calgary Midnapore Robin Emin, Director, Enterprise and Commercial, Rogers For Business Rick McIver, Minister Of Municipal Affairs, Province Of Alberta Ron Ghitter, Chair, Board Of Directors, Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre Michael Downey, President and CEO, Tennis Canada Danny Da Costa, CEO, Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre Al Osten, Founding Donor and Honorary Director, Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre

Installation of a tennis bubble over five outdoor courts is expected to provide 3,700 additional court hours per year, grow membership and have a positive economic impact of close to 10 million dollars

Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre (ATC), Calgary’s premier, state-of-the-art tennis facility, began construction on the installation of its first covered courts project. Part of Tennis Canada’s campaign to expand Canada’s network of indoor courts, the tennis bubble will allow year-round play for ATC’s five outdoor courts. The new covered courts will yield an additional 3,700 hours of court access to members and visitors. The project is expected to be completed by fall.

“We absolutely love the sport of tennis and are determined to share its benefits with more Canadians,” says Danny Da Costa, CEO of Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre. “We’ve been working with our partners on this project for many months and are thrilled to offer the public greater access to year-round tennis coming this fall.”

Danny Da Costa, Al Olsten, Ron Ghitter, Michael Downey, Tom MacInnis, Alan Mackin

“This soil turning ceremony is of major significance to the ATC Board, staff and tennis community. We are one step closer to achieving our vision of providing the very finest tennis facility of its kind in Canada. By covering the five outdoor courts, we will be able to accommodate the tremendous growth of our sport in Calgary and surrounding areas as well as the high demand for our facilities”, said Ron Ghitter, Chair, Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre.

The bubble is being installed by The Farley Group, North America’s leading tennis bubble supplier and a partner that is committed to Tennis Canada’s plans for expansion of covered courts. The funding comes from various partners including Rogers Communications, the Province of Alberta, the Parks Foundation of Calgary, donations coming from the tennis community, and the ATC as part of Tennis Canada’s Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers. The $5.6 million multi-year program, jointly funded by Tennis Canada and Rogers, is making year-round tennis a reality for thousands of Canadians.  

“Canadians want to play more tennis,” says Michael Downey, President & CEO of Tennis Canada. “Our nation has become a leader in tennis, with millions of people who play the sport when the weather allows, and yet we seem to forget about this reality when the snow falls. We must work collaboratively with government and other financial supporters to grow our network of covered courts. Doing so is a sure investment both economically and, most importantly, for the health and well-being of Canadians of all ages.”

In early 2021, Tennis Canada and Rogers announced their partnership with the aim of building 160 new year-round courts at up to 30 facilities by 2029. Earlier this year, Tennis Canada announced the beginning of similar bubble construction projects in Waterloo (QC), and Ancaster and Markham (ON). In total, the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers will have helped to fund 20 covered courts in all four communities, each set to open this fall. The program addresses the fact that Canada lags other leading tennis nations in providing access to the sport with only 750 publicly accessible covered courts across the country. This represents only one year-round court for every 50,000 Canadians.

A 2018 survey from Tennis Canada revealed that 51% of Canadians say they would play more tennis if they had access to convenient and affordable covered courts nearby. That number skyrockets to 90 per cent for Canadians who play tennis at least four times per year. According to The Farley Group, only 10 per cent of outdoor tennis courts get covered during the winter and 85 per cent of these courts are located in Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.

As a result of the ATC expansion, the club will be able to grow several programs. The club’s High Performance Training Program is expected to take in an additional 30-50 children per week, meeting Tennis Canada and Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) guidelines. The ATC’s SHE CAN PLAY Girls tennis program, School Tennis Program, Wheelchair & Autism programs anticipate significant growth.

“We are proud to invest in Alberta and the terrific work Tennis Canada is doing to enable year-round tennis to increase participation locally amongst youth, community members, and the next generation of high-performance athletes,” said Larry Goerzen, President of Alberta & Prairies, Rogers Communications. “Congratulations to the Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre on beginning construction of its first covered courts as we continue to help grow the sport of tennis and providing even more opportunities to keep youth and our community active in Calgary.

The new bubble will provide ATC with the ability to host events. Club leaders plan to support the growth of the Calgary National Bank Challenger by hosting the event, making it the only indoor, combined (men’s and women’s) professional sporting event in Canada.

Photo: Kyle Clapham

As the sport of tennis continues to grow in popularity, Tennis Canada encourages all Canadians to reach out to their local elected officials and municipal recreational departments to request greater access to the sport. Learn more about the program and email to find out how you can help kick start a project in your municipality.