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Two table tennis players with SPiN Toronto, community manager Lindsey Fletcher, left and director of marketing Shawn Topp, test out a table at Stanley Park on Thursday. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
Two table tennis players with SPiN Toronto, community manager Lindsey Fletcher, left and director of marketing Shawn Topp, test out a table at Stanley Park on Thursday. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

RECREATION

A new way to paddle in the park Add to ...

The basics about the new outdoor Ping Pong tables

 

New toys have sprung up in some of Toronto’s parks, and they’re not just for kids. Two outdoor Ping Pong tables have surfaced in a downtown park, and another has appeared in a parkette by the Junction Triangle.

The tables are made entirely of concrete and the net is a metal grate to withstand harsh weather conditions. The surface is supported by concrete spheres for legs.

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The request for an outdoor Ping Pong table initially came about a year ago from residents who live near Ritchie Avenue Parkette near Dundas Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue. The residents had set up a regular table in their park, but it was getting weather-beaten. So when their councillor, Gord Perks, asked them how the parks in his ward could be improved, a permanent, weather-durable Ping Pong table was their first request.

Mr. Perks said Toronto looked at other parts of the world that provide the same amenity, especially Germany and Paris, before deciding to install them in Toronto. “They are all the rage in Europe,” he said.

Each table cost $5,600, including delivery and installation. There are two in Stanley Park near King and Bathurst streets, and a third is in the Ritchie Avenue Parkette. A fourth will soon be installed in the Mel Lastman Square, north of Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue.

 

Positive reactions to the new furniture:

 

“The response from people that I represent has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic,” Mr. Perks said. “People just think it’s a neat and delightful thing.”

People walking through Stanley Park on a sunny Thursday afternoon pointed at the table in surprise. “It’s the first thing I saw as soon as I walked into the park,” said Dillon Herbison, an enthusiastic table-tennis player. “I think that’s really cool.”

Mark Kasaboski works in the neighbourhood and cuts through the park on his lunch break. He is not a regular Ping Pong player, but now that he has access to a table, he says he will buy a paddle and table-tennis balls.

“I was telling my friends about it yesterday,” Mr. Kasaboski said. “We’re all pretty excited about coming down here.”

 

Negative reactions:

 

The city is concerned about graffiti marring the tables. Maintenance will be required if the tables are vandalized.

“I find it disrespectful, but it wouldn’t stop me from playing,” said Jocelyn Bedard.

“Hopefully people just leave it alone,” said her friend, Mr. Herbison.

 

A couple of people took to Twitter to question why taxpayers should pay for the people who want to play recreational Ping Pong, and to tell Mr. Perks that the city needs to address more urgent priorities. However, Mr. Perks said the tables cost each person in Toronto one cent.

“I can’t understand why anyone would be upset by that,” he said. “I think even Ebenezer Scrooge would see his way clear to investing one cent to making our parks more fun and delightful places to be.”

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said the tables had painted white lines down the middle that would be subject to weather abuse. In fact, the tables have a white line made of inlaid cement.

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