TIMMINS -- While many sporting events and activities remain closed, the Timmins Wake Park was able to reopen due to its ability to offer a more pandemic-safe option as the world continues to battle COVID-19.

Justin Bonney co-owns the park and got the OK from the province to start its usual seasonal operations just before June.

Narrowly missing the widespread economic shutdown as Ontario transitioned from 'Phase 1' to 'Phase 2' of the government’s reopening plan, Bonney said residents now have a chance to experience a new sport and relieve some of the stress brought on by this crisis.

"This is what we’ve been waiting for," said Bonney, "to actually get some physical activity going, being outside."

The activity lends itself to physical distancing, he said, with the equipment needed to run it only having capacity for one person on the water.

Edgar Smart
Avid wakeboarder Edgar Smart moves atop the water at the Timmins Wake Park on Gilles Lake. June 13/2020 (Sergio Arangio/CTV News Northern Ontario) 

That played a large part in getting his business the go-ahead from the local health unit and the province.

"We’re lucky that we get to operate," said Bonney.

"We just make sure that everyone’s on the other side of the fence, family members only, one at a time."

Calls and social media messages have been pouring in, he said, which signals a promising summer ahead.

Sam McGinn’s daughter Brooke-Lynn has been wakeboarding for around four years.

With her usual hockey, ringette and dance no longer options right now, he said it’s a relief to at least have one of her favourite activities open.

"Going from nothing, including no (in-person) school for the last three months, it’s great to get back outside," said McGinn.