Cambie Bridge North Tables
A Brief Introduction…
Updated: March 20, 2022 – There are now two Tiger Ping Pong “Plaza” tables tucked in under the north end ramps of the Cambie Street Bridge with the second table arriving sometime in the early months of 2022. A second Tiger Ping Pong table was added to the south side of the bridge as well bringing the total number of weather-protected tables in the city centre to four. These tables have held up well somewhat sheltered from the elements. The tables on both sides of the bridge are in great shape with few differences in wear between the new and old tables. It looks like the community respects these installations and they aren’t marred by alternative uses like the tables at Empire Fields which are chipped from skateboarders. The absence of skateboarder-induced damage is simply because the plaza on which the tables sit is constructed from brick versus asphalt. As for playability, the Tiger Ping Pong tables possess more of a standard table bounce and speed, unlike the super-dense, super-fast, aggregate stone and concrete tables at Concord Pacific Community Park a few hundred metres northeast.
Ping Pong In Vancouver's Evaluation
Like we’ve mentioned, the tables placed here are pretty, pretty, good. Not as lively as its stone sisters down the way at Concord Pacific Community Park, but crisp and responsive. The minimal design of this German-made Tiger Ping Pong “Plaza” model, 4 sold legs and a top, gives the playing surface a sense of floating, while beneath, the legs, tucked out of the way, angle futuristically. Our only complaint, and it’s minor, is the brick surface of the plaza. This pertains to the tables on the south side of the bridge as well. The uneven brick underfoot makes tracking and chasing down the ball somewhat unpredictable but, as mentioned earlier, it does prevent skateboarders from damaging the tables.
At first glance the playing area is perfectly fine. Both tables were dry on the rainy day we played there in mid-March. Someone’s done a pretty good job of placing the tables on the flattest section of the limited space of this plaza under the ramps of the bridge, but the brick-surfaced area does have a perceptible slope and with all the little ridges and joints, it presents a somewhat uneven playing surface. This is not a big deal given the ample space around the table for safe play. Expect the ball to travel a ways to the west and north. The south end of the table is bounded by a garden area that acts as a ball stop. The east side of the table transitions from the brick surface to an area of sparse grass which was mostly muddy on the rainy day we visited.
Expect your best shots to travel long or act erratically on any windy day here at the Cambie Bridge North Table. With the massive bridge structure overhead and with massive buttresses all around channelling the wind, one would expect one heck of a Bernoulli effect on a windy day.
Ping Pong In Vancouver editors chose a rainy day to play for the first time on the Cambie North Tables. That’s because it is only one of two public ping pong installations with protection from the rain. Both of these twin-table installations are located under the superstructure of the Cambie Street Bridge: two tables at the north end and two at the south end. Sheltered from the rain, amid a collection of bright yellow picnic tables, the Cambie Bridge North Tables sits in a busy pedestrian thoroughfare beneath the bridge adjacent to the iconic False Creek seawall, a bike route, and a recreation area featuring a basketball court and skateboard park. Surrounded by towers of condominium units, these could be a busy tables. We played for nearly two hours. Passersby smiled, gave thumbs up, and a few asked if the tables were recently installed, as if noticing the set-up for the first time now that people were playing. But there were no other players stopping by to play during our session. This is likely to change. Players seeking shelter from the rain or sun will find this location a satisfying reprieve from the elements.
PS: Which is the best place to play, Cambie North or Cambie South?
Cambie North, no question.
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Coming Soon: Vancouver’s First Dedicated Table Tennis Court
Good-bye Vancouver Parks and Recreation! We’ve moved on to work with the Vancouver School Board, and specifically Windermere Secondary School, to fundraise and help plan Vancouver’s first dedicated outdoor table tennis court. The proposed court has the support of Windermere PE Department Head Brad White, the visionary behind the Windermere Community Fitness Park, phase one of which was completed in July of 2022. In Brad White’s opinion, it was a no-brainer to see that the remaining undeveloped strip of the new fitness park would be a perfect fit for a table tennis court, the first of its kind in Vancouver but common within the big cities of Asia and Europe.
Moody Park Tables (New Westminster)
It’s great to see examples outside of Vancouver of table tennis tables safely located within the leafy green confines of parks. This latest discovery is located in Moody Park in New Westminster, and this past September when the Ping Pong In Vancouver crew checked out the two tables nestled under the canopy of big trees, we found a small community of players who meet to play nearly every day.
Someone recently contacted PingPongInVancouver.com to tell us about a public outdoor table tennis table in North Vancouver near First and Lonsdale. We don’t normally include tables in municipalities other than Vancouver unless the installation is an example of what was done right (i.e. Edmonds Tables in Burnaby) or what was done wrong. An initial glance of this installation (via Google street view) showed what appeared to be an example of where NOT to put in a public ping pong table. We hopped on our bikes on a fine summer afternoon to see for ourselves what a dangerously placed table looks like…
Edmonds Park Tables (Burnaby)
While this table tennis table installation is in Burnaby, it’s worth mentioning because, 1) it is a table tennis installation in a park; and 2) it’s a table tennis installation added next to existing tennis courts in a recent park redevelopment. The Edmonds Park Tables are the closest local example of a municipality adding table tennis infrastructure to an existing park. We ask: we can’t this be done in Vancouver?
K8 Strings for Ping Pong Gear!
Since the launch of Ping Pong In Vancouver, we’ve searched for a local table tennis gear store we could promote and send readers to who want to buy brand name entry-level ping pong gear at a good price. We contacted all the big players nationally as well as a few local stores, all of whom ignored our offer for free advertising. Too good to be true, we suppose. But we found a tiny gem of a shop at Renfrew Street and First Avenue, and to make things even more auspicious, the shop’s about one mile from the best outdoor ping pong tables in town, Empire Fields.
The Players Directory
Ping Pong In Vancouver has finally created a players directory, one of the three main goals we set out to accomplish when we launched the website. We list places to play table tennis and we advocate for ping pong infrastructure in Vancouver parks (although all of our efforts so far to connect with Vancouver Parks planners has been completely ignored). Now we connect ping pong players with partners!
Kits Beach Table
The Vancouver Rotary Club recently unveiled a ping pong table at Kits Beach. Situated behind the buildings along the main promenade of the beach, surrounded by trees and grass, the ping pong table itself is great. It’s got a beautifully finished aggregate concrete top yielding a superb bounce, a fine art-quality metal net, a sturdy, immovable concrete base…but there’s real danger underfoot, literally.
Orchard Commons Tables, UBC
The Orchard Commons Tables are excellent aggregate stone tables with a surface more like 400 grit sandpaper than polished marble. Does it affect the ball? You be the judge when you visit. The ping pong tables are centred in a playing area that is… well, a pit, basically. This pit consists of a playing surface of undulating gravel that has a deepish hole at each end of both tables, a testament to the grinding duels that must have occurred here…
Save On Table
The Save On Table is a really lively and generally awesome stone aggregate table but… it’s right in front of the busy entrance of a large grocery store! The Foosball table and nearby benches suggests that this set-up is someone’s vision of an outdoor rec room…
Oxford Place Tables
In the heart of downtown, the Oxford Place Tables is a peaceful ping pong oasis. Two tables are positioned on a small shady plaza just far enough away from busy Hastings Street. Pedestrian traffic is minimal, and the playing area is ample and without any significant objective hazards. Ball containment is pretty good with walls and low barriers in most directions. This is a very nice place to play!
Building Awareness Of Our Goal
Ping Pong In Vancouver advocates for public table tennis. Our goal is to bring safe, permanent public ping pong installations to Vancouver’s many parks. There are a lot of ping pong players out there who’d love to play their fave sport outside within the safety of a park. Our main problem so far has been trying to get the attention of city officials and bureaucrats. The people who make decisions. We have pursued the recommended routes of communication over the past 4 weeks, since the launch of this website, but so far our efforts have been unsuccessful…
Table Tennis Players Need Room
Ping pong is actually a sport. The sport is table tennis. It is the second most popular sport on earth. Players begin by playing ping pong, but as skills sharpen, ping pong players grow into table tennis players, and table tennis players need room to play the sport safely.
Back and Forth Bar
From Google: Cocktails, craft draft beer & snacks offered in a hip, upbeat space with Ping-Pong tables & games. The Back And Forth Bar has 6 ping pong tables for recreational and serious players, board games (Cards of Humanity, Jenga, Checkers, What the Meme), a TV dedicated to Nintendo Classic, beer and wine on tap, a small selection of spirits, snacks and friendly staff who want to make you feel at home in comfortable surroundings. Play and hang out!
We ask you where you’d like to see ping pong tables in a park near you. Our goal is one hundred surveys. If you love the sport of table tennis and you want to play on safe, permanent, outdoor ping pong installations, complete the quick anonymous survey now. Add your voice to the chorus of table tennis players who are asking for the opportunity to play our beloved sport safely outdoors.
Let’s Take Ping Pong Player Safety Seriously
Ping pong players playing on any of the public ping pong installations we’ve reviewed on this website face objective hazards. Public ping pong tables are currently offered as “afterthoughts”, haphazardly placed, without much regard to a player’s safety, in busy pedestrian areas around the city. In Vancouver, there are no ping pong tables situated in safely within the grassy regions of a park as in the standard in the UK and Germany. Ping pong players deserve for no less than the safety considerations afforded our sister sport, tennis.
Public Ping Pong Survey
Besides becoming a go-to listing for places to play ping pong in Vancouver, we want to be a voice for promoting public ping pong in Vancouver. Specifically, we would like to see ping pong installations in Vancouver parks consisting of a slab of asphalt or concrete with a table in the middle, surrounded by a safety barrier of lawn, a recreational installation very common in European parks from Derbyshire to Berlin
Bryant Park Tables, New York City
From the film’s description: “In the middle of New York City, tucked away in the corner of Bryant Park, sit two outdoor ping pong tables where anyone is free to play. Young or old, rich or homeless, it doesn’t matter. During the day, the park provides paddles and balls, but after 7pm the regulars show up, armed with their own. Every night they come together to play each other and battle the elements, playing in the wind, rain and even snow. And out of this shared love of the game, a bond was formed between an unlikely group of people. Filmmaker Jon Bunning profiles the many lives these tables have touched, including the former gangbanger who helped put them there.”
City Hall Tables
All things considered, this is a nice spot for playing ping pong. And a nice gesture by the city to place public ping pong tables this close to the corridors of power. It gives a ping pong fanatic hope that public ping pong is within the purview of city officials who need only to look out their north windows and gaze down onto the plaza, where two tables, one great, the other so-so, become a momentary focal point for joy, exercise and friendship…
Cambie Bridge South Tables
Two of the four weather-sheltered public ping pong tables in Vancouver are located under the south end of the Cambie Street Bridge. The other two are under the north end of the bridge. The Cambie Bridge South Tables, like the tables under the north end of the bridge, are the German-made Tiger Ping Pong Plaza model: a great design and a lively bounce. Situated among picnic tables in the middle of a slightly cambered pedestrian plaza, there’s enough room to play safely. Keep in mind the several objective hazards like the boulder field about 15 feet behind the east side of the table, and the roadway and bike lane just a few feet from the tables. Some may call this unsafe; we call it multi-tasking.
Adanac Bike Route Table
This funky ping pong table is located at the Vernon-Adanac Plaza, a blocked-off section of Vernon Drive, right where the Adanac-Union bike route takes a wee jog north one block from Union Street onto Adanac Street. It’s an interesting location for a ping pong table to say the least, and it’s easy to see the hipster connotation in locating the table on a bike route…
A Call For Public Table Tennis In Vancouver Parks
Unlike parks in other western countries like Germany, parks in Vancouver, despite the vast unused lawns available, do not contain table tennis playing areas by default. In fact, not a single ping pong table installation exists within a Vancouver park. We are late to the game when compared to our European friends. But what potential we have given our numerous parks for ping pong installations within the safety of a public lawned area. Ping Pong In Vancouver has written this post to help define a standard for a table tennis playing area within any public park.
Empire Fields Tables
The three steel tables at Empire Fields, in the shadow of Vancouver’s beloved wooden roller coaster offer the ultimate outdoor table tennis – ping pong – experience in Vancouver. For the breathtaking setting alone, this is the #1 place for free outdoor ping pong. Big open sky, breathtaking mountain views, an historic setting where the tables are nestled between the one of north America’s last remaining vintage roller coasters and the track where the first sub-four minute mile was won. The Beatles played mere metres from where today, right now, you can play on melodious metal tables…
Stonehenge Tables, are three tables in the Concord Pacific play area in the expanse of asphalt north of Science World. Named for the large arranged stones embedded in the grassy knoll immediately east of the tables, Stonehenge Tables offer the best of outdoor table tennis in Vancouver. These are stone tables with a great bounce. The area behind both sides of the tables is bounded by a low continuous concrete wall serving as a long bench, providing a stopper for most balls that pass your opponent.