Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #4. Because We’re Mad for Ping-Pong

Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #4. Because We’re Mad for Ping-Pong

Reasons to Love Toronto 2014: #4. Because We're Mad for Ping-Pong (Image: Dave Gillespie)
 

Like the humble ukulele, Ping-Pong was once seen as kitschy and slightly embarrassing to play but has since been embraced by young downtowners celebrating their escape from the burbs by appropriating suburban cultural bric-a-brac. (See also: grilled cheese sandwiches, board game bars, picnicking, etc.) First came Spin Toronto, a King West club dedicated to the paddle arts. And now the sport has a concrete symbol of its revival: nine parks and public spaces across the city have brand-new, permanent Ping-Pong tables. They look a little like minimalist sculptures, cost $6,200 to build and install, and have a metal mesh ridge for a net—you need to bring your own paddles and balls. The tables are the brainchild of Dianne Moore, a Forest Hill Rotarian who asked a Brampton concrete company to design and build a prototype, and with that, was able to get community groups and like-minded councillors onboard. Funded by various means—private donations, development charges, infusions from the existing parks and rec budget—the tables started going in last summer, and have already given spaces as aesthetically unforgiving as Mel Lastman Square and as geographically remote as Scarborough’s Tall Pines Park a dose of quirk. More are in the works, which means pock-pock-pock will soon be the new sound of summer.