Photo: Michael Chisholm

Tennis Canada today unveiled the first completed, fully covered tennis court project through the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program presented by Rogers. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at Premier Racquet Clubs Markham presented by Rogers in Markham, Ontario to celebrate the grand opening of its new, six-court domed facility.

Markham was confirmed as one of the first four municipalities selected to receive funding from the Year-Round Community Tennis Courts Program announced earlier this year. Completed on schedule, the Premier Racquet Clubs project ensures its courts will remain active throughout the fall and winter seasons, increasing its capacity by approximately 4,500 additional hours per week between October and April. The project has more than doubled the number of indoor municipal tennis courts in Markham from four to ten.

“I am very proud to bring affordable winter tennis to Markham,” said Karl Hale, President of Premier Racquet Clubs in Markham. “This is how my passion for the sport started and we are happy to pass it along to our community.”

Various dignitaries, including Michael Downey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tennis Canada, Karl Hale, President, Premier Racquets Club Markham, Andy Sutton, Tennis Director, Premier Racquets Club Markham, Frank Scarpitti, Mayor, the City of Markham, Caroline Cameron, Sportsnet Host and Rogers representative, and Canadian tennis legend Daniel Nestor attended the opening ceremony held at Premier Racquet Clubs in Markham, Ontario on Thursday.

“Today’s unveiling in Markham, and the others that will follow in Ancaster, Waterloo and Calgary, is a moment of great significance for this program,” commented Michael Downey, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tennis Canada. “We would like to thank our partner, Rogers, for their support in making these projects a reality through the instrumental capital seed money they have provided. Our thanks must also go to the municipalities of Markham, Ancaster, Waterloo and Calgary, as well as the local operators at each of the clubs. These projects are just the first of many as we continue to deliver on our promise to make year-round tennis available to Canadians across the country.”

“We are proud to join Tennis Canada in enabling the growth of the sport through new year-round covered tennis courts which will provide even more opportunities to keep young people active in their communities and support the next generation of Canadian athletes,” said Robert Dépatie, President and Chief Operating Officer, Home and Business, Rogers Communications.

Funded jointly by Tennis Canada and Rogers, the $5.6 million Year-Round Community Tennis Court Program will make year-round tennis a reality for thousands of Canadians and help foster increased participation amongst youth. The program aims to build 160 year-round courts at up to 30 facilities over the next seven years. The investment addresses the fact that Canada currently falls behind other leading tennis nations in providing access to the sport 12 months a year, with only 750 publicly accessible covered courts across the country. This represents only one year-round court for every 50,000 people.

In addition to the project at Premier Racquet Clubs, three further air-supported “bubble” installations are set to be unveiled at Ancaster Tennis Club in Ancaster, Ontario, Club de Tennis François Godbout in Waterloo, Quebec and the Osten & Victor Alberta Tennis Centre in Calgary, Alberta in the coming weeks. Collectively, these four projects will increase court time opportunities for their communities by roughly 15,000 hours. 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 coveredcourts@tenniscanada.comto find out how you can help kick start a project in your municipality.