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The rise and fall of tennis in Prince George?

Posted on 11 September 2013

Prince George has a lot of tennis courts. Until recently, there were 63 maintained courts in the city. For comparison, Kamloops has 26 and Kelowna has 27. I got those numbers from the city’s core services review process. The process suggested 63 is too many, and council agreed- on Monday, they voted to reduce the number of maintained courts  to 34.

I had noticed Prince George seems to have a lot of courts for its size- and the comparison to Kamloops and Kelowna reinforces this. Why so many?

Here’s one possibility (completely unverified) by a frequent commenter named “gus” on the website Opinion250.

“When Desmond Parker, the Architect and City Planner who was at the peak of his career during the 1960s and 1970s, planned the subdivisions west of the bypass, he riddled those neighbourhoods with tennis courts, in part because he was from Australia, which had the highest number of tennis courts per capita in the world at the time, and because he was an avid tennis player himself.

It was said that for that part of the city, we had more PUBLIC tennis courts per capita than any other city in Canada. Not sure if that was true but, having grown up in Ottawa, it sure felt like it.”

And using the same form of history, here’s 250 commenter P Val:

“I used to play tennis all the time, but back then it was rare to see a open court, having to wait for one was expected. These days things are different, you rarely see a tennis court have anyone on it, see a bunch of kids playing scrub baseball, playing football or even tossing around a frisbee.”

I’m fascinated by the notion that we once had lineups to use the tennis courts in a city that has more tennis courts than most. The courts are still there, but that level of play obviously isn’t. I live near a court that is staying open, and have never had to wait to use it- even for games of hockey that use the whole thing. So what happened? I’m interested in hearing from you in the comments, or on twitter.

Filed under: cities, Prince George

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