ST. THOMAS, ONT. – “We knew we had to get here early if we were to go out and play,” says Catherine Upfold, a pickleball player in St. Thomas, Ont.
Courts were clogged early in the morning as people were anxious to get back to court after restrictions were lifted for the first time since April 17, 2021.
“We’ve been on the side of all the medical experts who said outdoor recreation should start right away so we can’t wait to get out and play,” says Upfold.
“It’s been tough last year so it’s really good to play out here.”
In nearby Port Stanley, Ont. Many leisure activities were used on Saturday.
The boaters were delighted when the city boat launch opened.
“We just bought a Seadoo this year so we were so excited,” says Katie Helmeczy.
“We picked it up from Grand Bend yesterday, but the launches are still closed. We waited until this morning, got up at 8:30 and came down here and it’s just nice to have something to do.”
On the other side of the start, Francisco Dacosta got his boat back in the water for the first time in five years.
“We put a new wire in the engine and drove off, and the thing flies,” says Dacosta.
“Hopefully we can get over viruses and enjoy life.”
Vlad Moya skateboarding in Port Stanley, Ont. on May 22, 2021. (Brent Lale / CTV London)
In the skate park on the other side of the village, Vlad Moya took advantage of the reopening. “I couldn’t be more excited,” says Moya.
“It’s just a great form of exercise and you know that you can just drive around, jump up and down freely, and do some tricks that you know is something you’ve been waiting for.”
And golfers have been the loudest in the past six weeks about their frustration, claiming the whole game of golf is safe.
“We’re all fortunate enough to still have work and no outdoor activities or publications in a house that I think drove us all a little crazy,” says Cassandra Lee, a golfer who played at the The Bluffs in Port Stanley.
“As soon as we heard that the golf courses were opening, we went straight to the cell phone to book some golf times.”
Cassandra Lee, a golfer at the Bluffs in Port Stanley, Ont. on May 22, 2021. (Brent Lale / CTV London)
Saturday was the opening day for the season at The Bluffs as they hadn’t started before the provincial home stay was issued.
“It will definitely take a long time,” says Daryl Sinden, the club’s professional.
“We have a full tee sheet today and the phones have been non-stop and we’re just looking forward to getting started.”
The province’s roadmap for the reopening says that more outdoor activities will open in Phase 1, slated for June 14th. This includes outdoor sports, exercise and personal training for up to ten people.