One of the fastest growing sports in the United States, pickleball has caught on in the North Country. Now, Canton residents don’t have to go far to enjoy the game.

Canton’s new pickleball courts are located at Priest Field, behind the Social Services building at 8 Judson St. (Photo courtesy of Tom Graser, St. Lawrence Plaindealer)

The joint town and village recreation department’s Priest Field tennis courts behind the Social Services building at 8 Judson St. have been resurfaced to include four brand new pickleball courts, along with two tennis courts. The newly painted courts came to fruition through a budgeting plan three years in the making. 

According to Recreation Director Meghan Richardson, making the courts multipurpose will accommodate more users and helps pickleball grow locally.

“In my opinion, and probably most, pickleball has definitely entered the class of a ‘lifetime sport,’” Richardson said. “Historically tennis, golf, and swimming are the activities that you can enjoy for your entire lifetime. Pickleball is a wonderful sport that someone can participate in from 10 years old to 80 years old and beyond.”

Smaller courts and an easier playing style than tennis have lent to the popularity of the sport, Richardson said. Its accessibility, along with the social aspect of playing with several others and in close proximity to other groups, make it ideal for casual recreation. 

Richardson recognizes the role recreation plays in the Canton community, and said the resurfaced courts are just the first step in the recreation department’s plans to revitalize Canton’s aging recreational infrastructure. 

“Recreation is vital to the overall well-being of a community, especially a rural community like Canton. We don’t have extravagant entertainment opportunities nearby, making recreation opportunities an important offering for the community,” Richardson said. “The newly resurfaced courts were desperately needed in order for Canton to effectively enjoy pickleball and also for the tennis community to begin enjoying their sport again.”

Richardson said the Canton Pickleball group plays every Tuesday and Thursday night, weather permitting, at 5:30 p.m. and all ages and skill levels are welcome. The layout of the court prohibit tennis and pickleball to be played simultaneously, but Richardson said the recreation department is developing a priority schedule for each sport, and the equipment available is easy for participants to move for their preferred activity.  

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