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Pickleball coming to Toronto

June 20, 2012
By MARK J. MILLER - Staff writer , The Herald-Star

TORONTO - Pickleball comes to Toronto.

The game, which is similar to ping pong, tennis and badminton, involves two players, paddles and a ball, according to local sport organizer Linda McFerren.

"An exciting new game, called pickleball is now being played in Toronto," said McFerren, adding the game has been imported from Florida. "Pickleball is a racquet sport played on a court with the same dimensions as a doubles badminton court. The game is played with a hard paddle and a polymer ball similar to a whiffleball.

Article Photos

PICKLEBALL – Mindy Jones, left, and Sheila Brown recently played a game of pickleball, a game played with a hard paddle and ball similar to whiffleball. The sport is now able to be played at the Toronto public tennis courts.


"Although pickleball is similar to tennis, there are key differences that make pickleball more accessible to a wider range of players," McFerren continued. "The court size is just under one-third of the area of a tennis court. The speed of the ball moves typically at one-third of the average speed of a tennis ball."

McFerren said the game, originally invented as a backyard pastime, now is an organized national sport. Invented in 1965, it is quickly spreading across the U.S. and Canada, she added.

"The U.S. Pickleball Association estimates there are more than 100,000 active pickleball players in the country," she said. "And now, thanks to Mayor John Geddis, Pickleball can be played in Toronto."

McFerren said her husband, Chuck, of Toronto was introduced to pickleball in the Florida Keys last winter.

"He enjoyed the game so much that when he left Florida in April he was determined to find a place to continue to play," she said. "It just so happens that Toronto has a tennis court that is in very good shape and is hardly used by anyone for tennis. So Chuck went to the mayor and asked if it would be possible to lay out a pickleball court on the tennis court."

McFerren said the mayor agreed, and her husband and his friend Dave Carnahan measured and masked off a pickleball-sized court, while city crews painted the lines. Tennis still can be played on the court as well, she added.

"Paddles and balls were ordered, and pickleball is being played by Chuck and his friends, weather permitting, weekday mornings at 9 a.m.," McFerren said.

"Pickleball is easy to learn but can develop into a quick, fast-paced competitive game for experienced players. The court is below Ridge Avenue beside the shelter house, between Euclid Avenue and Trenton Street. Anyone interested in playing is more than welcome to come, and paddles and balls are provided."

(Miller can be contacted at

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