Staff with the City of Kenora say they’re excited to see a new activity being offered to families in the community through Garrow Park’s new Disc Golf Course, which already has plans to expand.

“We’re always looking for interesting things to do to add amenities to all of our parks,” explained Parks and Facilities Manager for the City of Kenora, Shaun Clifford.

“One of the things we learned through COVID-19 is that parks are a very integral part in people being able to get out, mingle and enjoy some of the sights. Our parks were super busy through COVID. So, we’re hoping to do a few more things to make them even better.”

Clifford explains that while the city was searching for a usable green space to develop its Dog Park last year, which was later built behind the A&W Ball Diamonds, they had identified space in the Garrow Park area and trails system that could be used.

That’s when Director of Community Services, Stace Gander, decided to explore the idea of a disc golf course for Kenora as he had personal friends who enjoyed the sport. With a great trail system already in place, Clifford explains that Garrow was already the perfect location.

“There are some beautiful trails back there. It’s a nice gentle, enjoyable walk. And it’s really multi-generational. This is something that grandparents can do with their grandkids. That’s the whole intent. To draw out more people.”

The city’s Parks and Facilities department approached the Manitoba Disc Golf Association for advice on developing the course before they began work to line up the holes, baskets and course. Clifford says test runs took place this spring and more tweaking will take place, but the course is officially open.

“We still have some work to do. Right now, it’s 9 holes. We’re hoping to expand that to 18 holes as time allows. We have some artwork we’re going to get at the entrance of each hole. It will be a really nice user experience,” explains Clifford.

“We want to make sure that we balance between having a very difficult course versus having something too easy. We want to give new users a good experience and not a frustrating one. Yet, challenging enough for people who do it lots to enjoy the game as well,” he adds.

Disc golf is played with discs instead of balls and clubs. One throw from the designated area is counted each time the disc is thrown down range, and the hole is completed when the disc rests in the disc golf basket.

Residents are reminded to never throw their disc when other players or park users are in range, and park users should always be given the right of way. A grand opening event is expected soon.

''A map of Garrow Park’s Disc Golf Course courtesy of the City of Kenora.

Other recent upgrades at Garrow Park include an expansion of the beach area in 2021, washroom upgrades, new Pickleball courts, bleachers and a canopy area, as well as an expanded trail network. Upcoming work includes a new dock and an upgraded seating area.

“We have some really exciting things coming over the next few years,” adds Clifford. [There’s] a really large playground at Norman Park. We have the one going in at Central Park. We’re always looking to try to evolve.”

Upgrades at Norman Park include a newly-built accessible pathway, as well as a ramp down to the beach area for accessibility and a device to allow wheelchair users to enter the water safely. Norman will also soon see a new playground area, a rock wall and a zip-line.

The playground at Central Park is being developed through a $260,000 funding commitment from the province and is set to be built in Central’s east-north corner, around the current small baseball diamond.

Other recreational upgrades to Central Park are set to include a new outdoor rink, a new open rink area, replacement of the boards surrounding the hockey rink, paving and lining the ice surface, construction of a player bench area and the new Central Community Club.