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Top Ten Sports & Recreation Wants

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Earlier this year, MacDonald Island Park surveyed residents as to what we wanted in the future (and much-needed) northside recreation centre. My initial response, and one that I got all of my friends and family to respond with too, was bowling.


We have now gone a few years without bowling in our community since the old lanes in Gregoire shut down, and it is a glaring sports and recreation gap. Simply put, everyone loves bowling. Sure, we all enjoy it for different reasons, but that’s the delight of the sport. You can be out for a few drinks with friends, a child playing with the bumpers, or a seasoned vet trying to bowl the elusive perfect game. Regardless of who you are, you still love rolling that ball and taking a few pins.

The northside recreation centre survey and my love of bowling got me thinking, what else is missing in Fort McMurray right now from our sports and recreation lives? And with that, I give you my Top Ten Sports and Recreation Wants – some are serious and a few are just for fun.

  1. Monster (Haul) Trucks: I’m not talking about those puny trucks like Grave Digger and Bigfoot, I want to see a Caterpillar 797B crush a row of old station-wagons and Dodge Aries.
  2. Outdoor Swimming Pool: Our summers get hot here… real hot. What better way to cool off in mid-summer than a dip in a giant outdoor pool?
  3. Bungee Jumping: Set it up on the side of the Provincial Building downtown. It would be a heck of a view of our community before taking that leap of faith.
  4. Go-Karts: Like bowling, we also used to have go-karts once upon a time. Now what’s replaced the old go-kart track is the new bridge over the Athabasca River where, well… people speed and drive their Hemis like go-karts. So I guess we can scratch this one.
  5. Pro Football: One thing that really excites me about the Shell Place expansion at MacDonald Island Park is the prospect of the Canadian Junior Football League coming to Fort McMurray. Let’s take it a step further and get CFL action here one day. I’m sure Ottawa will be ready to relocate around 2019…
  6. Running of the Ravens: Spain has the running of the bulls. We can have our own version where folks run down Franklin Avenue and a massive unkindness of ravens is unleashed on them as they race down the street. Alfred Hitchcock would be jealous.
  7. Outdoor Wipeout Course: Toss this one on top of the outdoor swimming pool or move it out to Gregoire Lake. You could even charge admission to watch people literally “wipe out” as they try to tackle the course.
  8. Indoor Paintball Circuit: Paintball is always a fun time. Let’s take it a step further and turn old McMurray relics into paintball venues before they’re demolished. An opportunity was lost with the Fort Theatre.
  9. Cheese Rolling: This may be the most dangerous sport I’ve ever watched. Just go find it on YouTube right now. Then imagine this happening on Thickwood Boulevard or in Beaconhill.
  10. Tarsand Beetle Racing: Yeah, horse racing would be a great addition, but could you imagine betting on tarsand beetles as they race toward the finish line? With Fort McMurray’s bug season right around the corner, you’d be wise to catch a few and start training them as soon as possible.