Tennis P.E.I. is searching for a new home court. Renovations at the Royalty Crossing mall in Charlottetown have closed the courts for good, leaving the club working on alternatives.
It has been used as a year-round court for tennis enthusiasts, including young players training for competitions, for 43 years.
Sunday marked the final day of play. "It was kind of sad, but we knew it was going to happen at some point," said president Tennis P.E.I. president Bob Gollaher.
"So we have to move on and see what we can do with the permanent facility at some point down the road."
The mall had shut down the indoor tennis courts and swimming pool located at the Spa Total Fitness Centre on Sept. 1, 2022. At that time, Tennis P.E.I. asked Killam and APM to lease the space until renovations began, creating the Reality Racquet Club.
Tennis P.E.I., with more than 400 members, has already secured programming during the winter at schools, at the APM Centre in Cornwall, at UPEI, and at the Stratford Town Centre, Gollaher said. "From an adult perspective, we'd like to have some continue to play, but more importantly from the kids perspective and the high-performance kids, they need facilities all year round to be able to continue to compete in Atlantic Canada and in the Canada Games."
Les Wong said his daughter, Charlotte, trained on the courts at the mall. Her skills got her a scholarship to an American university and as a result she has a "wonderful career and a wonderful education." "We're really, really sad to see it go and we'll certainly miss it, but it's been a wonderful facility here that's provided that avenue and that opportunity for juniors and for kids that aspire to go further in their career," Wong said. For now, young tennis players will have to practise in different locations while Tennis P.E.I. looks for a permanent home. "We've spoken to the city of Charlottetown, the town of Stratford, the province, the federal government and we have developed a plan potentially of a multi-sport racket facility which would include four tennis courts, four squash courts and pickleball courts," said Gollaher. He said there have been no commitments so far.