Where to play outdoor ping pong in Toronto
Concrete ping pong tables are rapidly invading Toronto's parks, and it's all thanks to Dianne Moore, an energetic enthusiast from the Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill who believes everyone in the city should have access to the game. Starting last summer in Mel Lastman Square, Moore has worked with advocacy group Park People and city councillors to have 21 precast concrete tables (and counting) installed in public parks and squares across the city.
The inspiration came from Moore's childhood. She used to play with her father on a daily basis. "I moved from Windsor to Toronto, and when I moved here I was reading in the paper about how expensive sports are for kids," she says. "And I'm thinking, 'you know what, ping pong does not cost a lot.'"
The tables are made by Alpha Precast in Brampton, a company that makes outdoor concrete furniture like benches, planters, and chess tables. Each one costs between $4,000 and $6,000 (depending on whether a base and landscaping is needed) and weighs about two tons. "They're indestructible, so they can be there in snow and rain," says Moore.
In some locations, individual donors and charitable organizations have stepped forward to cover the cost of a table, which includes legs sculpted to look like ping pong balls and a permanent steel net. Elsewhere, the money has come out of the city's park improvement budget.
Moore hopes to have one of her ping pong tables in every Toronto park, and she's won the support of several councillors keen to find a low cost way to improve the sports facilities in their wards. Some of the tables have proved so popular that there's often a queue, she says.
"I'm thrilled. My whole goal is to see kids and families playing ping pong, and that's what's happening."
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