The Future of Outdoor Table Tennis
VSB commits to hosting Vancouver's first dedicated outdoor table tennis court!
Good-bye Vancouver Parks and Recreation, hello Vancouver School Board! One of our main goals at Ping Pong In Vancouver is to advocate for safe, standardized table tennis courts to be located in parks much like tennis courts, but only much, much cheaper to build. After years of failing to connect in any meaningful way with anyone in charge of planning parks for the city of Vancouver, Ping Pong In Vancouver has partnered with the VSB, an agency committed to educational and recreational opportunities for all, to assist in fundraising for Vancouver’s first dedicated outdoor table tennis court.
The new dedicated table tennis court sporting twin tables will be the main feature of phase two of the development of Windermere Community Fitness Park (WCFP), located on school property adjacent to the street at 27th Avenue and Lillooet Street in east Vancouver. Serendipity played a big role in our involvement with the VSB on this project.
It began two years ago when one of our editors who lives just down the street from the proposed WCFP got involved in helping the fitness park become a reality. Our guy worked closely with Brad White, Windermere High School PE Director and mastermind behind the WCFP project. He volunteered to build a website and designed an online educational system that allows users of the WCFP to scan QR codes with their smart phone to view animations of exercises performed on each of the 16 stations comprising the fitness park.
Casual conversations between Brad White and our editor during the project often drifted to a mutual interest in racquet sports and specifically table tennis. Both sportsmen commiserated on lack of designated outdoor table tennis infrastructure in Vancouver, unlike other international cities in Europe and Asia that have invested for decades in outdoor table tennis courts. “We put a lot into public tennis courts”, says Brad White, “And the result is Canada has produced awesome junior players over the past decade. Why not do the same for table tennis at a fraction of the cost per court?”
By late July of 2022, phase one of the Windermere Community Fitness park project was completed and opened to the public. The fitness park was a big hit right away and warmly embraced by the community. But there remained an undeveloped strip of grass and weeds approximately 80 by 18 feet bordering along the south edge of the new fitness park. Ideas were floated as to what to do with this space, the main focus of phase two development. Aware of the lack of real table tennis infrastructure in Vancouver, Brad White ultimately suggested that the space would be ideal for a table tennis court. Measurements followed and the space proved both wide and long enough to house two table tennis courts set end to end. Each court would be approximately 18 feet wide and about 38 feet long, well within the court size definition for recreational play set forth by the ITTF. Concrete experts from the VSB visited the site to assess the logistics and to provide an estimate of the cost. The concrete pad is estimated to cost $22,000, while the aggregate stone tables built to last indefinitely will cost about $5000 each. Vancouver’s first dedicated outdoor table tennis court will cost about $32,000. While this may seem like a lot of money, compare the cost of a table tennis court to the cost of a two-court tennis installation, priced at well over $230,000. It’s one tenth the size, requires no fencing or anchored posts, and doubles as a picnic table when no players are around.
Help make this project a reality by donating today:
If you’re a table tennis fan and you’re hoping to see dedicated outdoor table tennis courts in Vancouver, then help set the standard for future TT courts by donating to this unique project, a model for safe and enduring table tennis courts to follow. While it may not be apparent once you’re in the VSB donations portal, be confident that 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go towards Vancouver’s first dedicated table tennis court at Windermere Community Fitness Park.
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North Shore Table Tennis Club
Where other private table tennis clubs we’ve visited cater to members, the North Shore Table Tennis (NSTTC) is the most integrated into the community through affiliations, outreach programs, classes for beginner and intermediate players of all ages, classes and programs for players with Parkinson’s and other disabilities. This an organized table tennis club and operated like a well-conceived business, and the online accolades from many sources are the proof. We’ve awarded the NSTTC twin laurels: Best Organized Club, and Most Inclusive Club
Killarney Table Tennis Club
If you are looking for the very best table tennis program Vancouver community centres have to offer, then you have found the right place. Celebrating its 30th year of operating within Killarney Community Centre, the Killarney Table Tennis Club welcomes all ping pong players from beginners to advanced. Killarney’s TT Club is unique among clubs in Vancouver by offering one-on-one coaching sessions with a nationally-certified table tennis coach for beginners to intermediate players.
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!
VTTC – Vancouver Table Tennis Club
The Vancouver Table Tennis Club (VTTC) bills itself as “one of the best table tennis club in the Greater Vancouver area”. This is an understatement. In terms of the level of play, this is where elite players show their stuff. The VTTC offers high quality tournament-level tables in a comfortable, well-lit playing environment including a wooden gym-style floor.
GVTTC – Greater Vancouver Table Tennis Club
The GVTTC or Greater Vancouver Table Tennis Club is technically in Burnaby but since there are so few clubs in Vancouver, we felt this venue at Hastings Street and Sperling Avenue should be included. The club, founded in 2019 by Wilson Peng Zhang who is also the head coach, bills itself as “Neighbourhood Table Tennis Club” and it seems to be an accurate claim.
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.
Cambie Bridge North Tables
There are two excellent table tennis tables sheltered from the weather under the Cambie Street Bridge on the north side. Like the pair on the south side of the bridge, these tables are the Tiger Ping Pong “Plaza” model, and they are positioned on the brick plaza under the infrastructure of the bridge in an east to west orientation. One ping pong table is a bit better positioned; that is, sheltered better from the rain, but both tables are club-quality outdoor tables and on a fine day this location, with all of the recreational activity going on around, is inspirational and will bring out your best game.
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.