Every Calgary skater has gone through skate withdrawal for 6 or more months every winter when the weather turns to crap, making skateboarding pretty much impossible. Unless you have a basement skatepark or can drive to Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, or Medicine Hat, the only time you can skate is when you brave the cold and shovel snow at mills. Our town has over a million people and in excess of 40 000 skaters, it should be able to support an indoor skatepark.
Calgary Indoor Skatepark History
Calgary has had many indoor skateparks come and go over the years.
- Skatopia1 (1977-1979)
- Rich Speed & Sport
- Powderstick Skateworld
- Skate Jungle (1989-1993)
- All School (1999)
- 403 (2000-2003)
- The Source (2003-2006)
Each of these skateparks had enthusiastic, hard working owners and skaters travelled from all corners of the city to skate there. In the end, none of them were able to make a go of it as a business despite the hard work, energy, enthusiasm and money invested. Truth is, it’s pretty much impossible to pay the high rent and utilities, expensive insurance, staff salaries, maintenance, and other expenses while charging skaters a few bucks to get in. Even sponsorship money from skate bands and shops won’t cover the huge overhead costs. From about October to March lots of skaters will come, but the rent, utilities, and insurance still have to be pad in the summer when Mills and the local skate spots can be skated for free. The only way a for-profit skatepark will stay open is if they have a generous donor willing to lose a bunch of cash, and it will stay open only as long as the generosity continues.
Successful Indoor Skateparks
Where indoor skateparks have survived, they have been operated on a not-for-profit basis, which opens opportunities to receiving grants, donations, and even casino funds to cover the costs. In Regina, the city has partnered with the SK8 Regina Association with the city providing the building and insurance while the association applies for grants and fundraises to cover the rest of the costs while managing the park. CASE believes that the Regina approach is the right one for our city too and we are promoting that idea in our discussions with the City (along with the need to change the ramp bylaw and build a network of outdoor skateparks). If you want to see an indoor skatepark in Calgary, an email or letter of support to the Mayor and to your City Councillor will go a long way. Especially if one came from every skateboarders house in the city!
Read More to see some photos of Calgary’s old indoor parks
Skatopia was an indoor concrete park that was open in the late 70’s
Rich Speed & Sport (1983-84)
Powderstick Skateworld (1986-89)