Christine Legault, Director Campus & Community Recreation, University of Alberta; Alan Mackin, CEO of Tennis Alberta; Daniel Nestor, 12-time Grand Slam doubles champion; Russ Sluchinski, Tennis Manager, University of Alberta; Bruce Saville, long-time donor; Andrew Sharman, Vice-President of Facilities & Operations, University of Alberta; Dan Xu, Board Member, Tennis Canada; Don Abraham, Senior Manager, Rogers Business, Rogers Communications; Anita Comella, Senior Director of Facilities Development, Tennis Canada (Photo: Brad Hamilton)

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies held at Saville Tennis Centre at the University of Alberta and Club de Tennis François Godbout

Tennis Canada today unveiled the two latest completed projects as part of the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers. A combined 1.63 million community members in Edmonton, AB and Waterloo, QC will now have access to tennis 12 months a year thanks to the construction of air-supported domes over their existing courts.

Funded jointly by Tennis Canada and Rogers, the $5.6 million Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program will make year-round tennis a reality for Canadians and help foster increased participation amongst youth. The program aims to build 160 indoor courts at up to 30 facilities by 2029. With the addition of Waterloo and Edmonton, in only the second year of the program, 26 tennis courts have been covered at five facilities in five municipalities spanning three provinces, with another completed project in Stratford, ON set to be unveiled later this month.

Home of the 2023 Canadian Women’s University Tennis champion Alberta Pandas, the Saville Tennis Centre at the University of Alberta’s new year-round facility comprises six courts and will serve 1.54 million Edmontonians. Its model ensures the facility will make tennis accessible to a diverse group of players, from adults to juniors and students, with 595 additional court hours per week being made available during the winter months. This unique partnership between Tennis Canada, Rogers and a University on a major facility project showcases the increasing viability of the Canadian University system for aspiring tennis players. Additional funding for this project was provided by long-time donor Bruce Saville and the Canada Community Revitalization Fund.

“This new facility, which provides increased access to tennis to the community, students and varsity athletes year round, will help ensure that tennis continues to thrive in Edmonton and at the University of Alberta,” said Andrew Sharman, University of Alberta Vice-President, Facilities and Operations. “Of course, this is made possible by a continuous commitment to excellence of Tennis Canada, Rogers and Edmonton philanthropist and long-time University of Alberta supporter, Bruce Saville.”

Jean-Marie Lachapelle, Mayor of Waterloo; Eugène Lapierre, Special Advisor at Tennis Canada; Edith Cloutier, President, Rogers Quebec; François Godbout, Donor; Catherine Allen-Dénommé, president of the board, Caisse Desjardins de la Porte-des-Cantons-de-l’Est, Norman Rothsching, president of the Francois Godbout Tennis Club; Peter Kruyt, president of Tennis Canada. (Photo: Sarah-Jade Champagne / Tennis Canada)

The first project to be completed in Quebec, Waterloo was confirmed as one of four municipalities to receive $200,000 in funding from Tennis Canada and Rogers in 2022. The new François Godbout Tennis Club Dome presented by Rogers is a product of the strong partnerships between the club, Tennis Quebec, Tennis ENRJ and Tennis Canada, with significant support coming from long-time donor François Godbout and the City of Waterloo as well as the involvement of multiple schools throughout the region. Four courts at the Club de Tennis François Godbout have been covered by an air-supported dome and will serve 90,000 Canadians. As a result of the project, 420 additional winter court hours per week will be made available to the community with the goal of creating a high-performance program at the facility.

“We’re delighted to be the very first Quebec indoor court project to be launched as part of the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers,” said Norman Rothsching, President of the François Godbout Tennis Club. “Offering tennis year-round in Waterloo was a project that had interested us for a very long time, and thanks to the support of multiple partners, this dream became a reality. We’re already looking forward to the launch of our first winter program and to offering over 420 additional hours each week of tennis to the citizens of Waterloo”.

“I’d first like to congratulate the club operators at Saville Tennis Centre, University of Alberta and Club de Tennis François Godbout,” said Michael Downey, Chief Executive Officer of Tennis Canada. “In just the second year of this program, we are seeing fantastic results and our pipeline of interested municipalities and clubs just keeps growing. We would also like to thank Rogers for the crucial capital seed money they provide. With more year-round projects set to be announced next spring, this program is well on its way to achieving its objective of providing more opportunities for Canadians to play 12 months a year. We encourage other communities and facility operators to explore potential projects in their municipalities.”

“Rogers is deeply committed to helping Canadians thrive through access to sport, including improving the facilities and communities in which current and future athletes can play,” said Tanya Witty, Senior Director, Sports Partnerships, Rogers Communications. “It is a privilege to work with Tennis Canada to grow participation through new covered courts and connect youth to the sport they love all year-round.”

Tennis Canada and Rogers’ investment in the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program addresses the fact that Canada currently falls behind other leading tennis nations in providing access to the sport 12 months a year. At the program’s outset there were only 750 publicly accessible covered courts across the country, representing just one for every 50,000 people. Collectively, the three facilities being unveiled in Edmonton, Waterloo and Stratford will increase court time opportunities for their constituents by more than 1,500 hours per week. Previously, these outdoor-only courts were rendered unusable for 50-75% of the year.

As momentum for the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers continues to grow, with 90% of Canadians agreeing that municipalities should work with Tennis Canada on the initiative, you can learn more about the program and email to find out how you can help kick start a project in your area.