Nice while it lasted: Warm fall let outdoor sports fans linger longer

·2 min read

Temperatures plummeted Wednesday, but before that, many Islanders were able to fit more outdoor sports in this year due to the warm fall and possibly extra leisure time due to COVID-19.

People were still out enjoying golf and tennis into mid-November and trying their hand at new things like kayaking this year.

Golf P.E.I. says it was the best October the province has ever seen.

The Belvedere Golf Club in Charlottetown is closed now, but management says 2020 was a good year.

"The demand… to get out and play didn't stop all season long and we were virtually 100-per-cent capacity all day, every day, all year," said Jamie Moran, head professional and director of golf for the Belvedere Golf Club.

"Probably as busy as it's ever been here. We did over 45,000 rounds of golf this year and typically we're around 30,000 rounds of golf, so a lot more people [were] wanting to play and the weather was fantastic so a lot more opportunity to play."

Some sporting-based businesses say Islanders were looking for ways to be active while still physically distancing themselves.

A Morell kayak business says interest in the pastime exploded during the pandemic.

"This weather this year was amazing and the interest in kayaking with local people was incredible," said Donna Glass, owner and operator of seasonal business Kingfisher Outdoors.

"A lot of people were working on like a — some people call it a bucket list, I like to call it a life list — but people were ticking off things that they've never done before."

Glass said the local business didn't entirely make up for the lack of tourists, but because of the good weather and demand, her operation stayed open later this fall than it had in 21 years.

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

People were also eager to bounce onto tennis courts in the Charlottetown area, and happy to keep playing as the weather had stayed warm.

"It's fantastic to be outside and get some fresh air," said player Terry Lynn MacNeill. "Last year, I think my last day was the first week of November, but this year on November 17th, we're still out playing."

Laura Meader/CBC
Laura Meader/CBC

Tennis coach Rene Gagnon says the courts were busy in Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall.

The program was full, he said, with a lot of people asking to play and requesting coaching time.

He said P.E.I. is the right place to be during the COVID-19 pandemic and the months of good weather certainly helped people cope.

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