It’s All Here at MacDonald Island Park
Fans and enthusiasts of every sport in Fort McMurray eventually find themselves at the local sport and recreation hub of the Wood Buffalo region: MacDonald Island Park.
The history of sport and recreation on the Island begins over forty years ago with the development of the Miskanaw Golf Club and has grown over time to encompass the many amenities and sports options found at MacDonald Island Park today. Each expansion of the facilities at the Island have added to the many sport and recreation options, and community members and visitors now have the opportunity to participate in a variety of leisure pursuits.
The Suncor Community Leisure Centre, home to the Syncrude Aquatic Centre, the Nexen Concert and Nexen Activity Field Houses, CNRL arenas, curling ice surface, running track, squash and racquetball courts, fitness centre and climbing wall offers diverse options for recreation. Shell Place adds two amenities completely unique in the region at the indoor turf field house and the region’s only dedicated badminton facility at the Don Scott McMurray Law Office Badminton Centre, as well as the new High Performance Training Centre. Along with Miskanaw Golf Club, these amenities add up to a “one stop shop” of recreation and sport facilities in the region.
“It’s all here,” says Jodie Mercier, Regional Recreation Corporation of Wood Buffalo (RRC) Director of Sport and Recreation. “Whether someone is an avid rock climber, a dedicated ice sport player, a badminton enthusiast or virtually any other form of sport and recreation, the amenities at MacDonald Island Park are ideal for the pursuit of their passion.”
The opportunities for sport and recreation don’t end at the amenities available, though. The team of Sport and Recreation professionals at MacDonald Island Park are constantly designing and developing new recreation and sport programming for the community, including the adult sport leagues.
“I think most people in the region are aware of the wide variety of sport leagues available for children and youth,” says Mercier. “At MacDonald Island Park we believe health, wellness, fitness and sport are life-long pursuits, and we seek to offer both traditional sport leagues for adults as well as some innovative programs.”
Traditional sport leagues include squash, volleyball and women’s hockey. These sport leagues attract a large number of enthusiastic participants on an annual basis, with fun, friendly competition the name of the game along with a desire to refine skills.
Additionally, these leagues present opportunities for members of the community to connect with each other over a shared passion.
“It can be tough for adults to meet other people, particularly if they might be new to the community,” says Mercier. “Many of our sports leagues offer the ability to sign up as an individual and be placed on a team if it is a team sport. This can mean meeting new people in the community and developing a sense of belonging through sport and recreation.”
In addition the sport and recreation leagues for adults, MacDonald Island Park also offers sport and recreation opportunities for children and youth, including seasonal sports camps in which the participants can try the variety of amenities and sports available at the Island.
“With the variety of sport and recreation leagues and amenities at the Island, individuals and families can truly spend every day of the week in our facilities and still try something new every day,” says Mercier. “And with great options like our annual membership, monthly membership or new continuous membership, the sport and recreation opportunities are endless as well as affordable.”
For those who are less inclined towards sport but still interested in the pursuit of recreation and leisure activities, the MacDonald Island Arts and Culture department offers a wide variety of paint parties, visual arts workshops and dance classes for adults. And for those interested in outdoor recreation, the beautiful and recently redeveloped Miskanaw Golf Club stands as one of the best courses in Alberta, while the newly opened TOTAL Aboriginal Interpretive Trail offers the chance to enjoy two exciting public art projects in a stunning setting framed by the forest and rivers that surround the Island.
“We take pride in serving our community and delivering a wonderful experience no matter what sport, amenity or recreational pursuit our guests and visitors wish to participate in,” says Mercier. “Given our vision to make a difference each day for our region, our passionate team seeks to ensure there is something for everyone to enjoy at MacDonald Island Park.”
Photos by Layla Leininger