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Summer CAMPS Guide: All kinds of new sports at the Gem on the Rideau in Central Ottawa

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By Ottawa Sportspage, For Rideau Sports Centre

There is a long sporting history of 100+ years at 1 Donald Street (formerly the Rideau Tennis Club), but this summer will mark the first time ever that a full slate of summer camps across many sports will take place at the new Rideau Sports Centre.

“We’re really excited to show off all the great things that will make summer camp special at RSC,” highlights Nicki Bridgland, who purchased the former Rideau Tennis Club last year and has already invested $3 million into upgrades.

The facility now features a new multi-sport dome, which paved the way for dedicated volleyball, basketball and soccer camps this summer. Tennis remains central at RSC, while the multi-sport camp mixes everything together. All campers also get the chance to swim at the large onsite outdoor pool.

Though it’s the first time for summer camps, it’s not a rookie undertaking by any means for RSC. Bridgland hired a director with deep roots in delivering camp programming locally, who was able to bring along many seasoned counsellors.

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“Their enthusiasm level and their experience working with children is phenomenal,” Bridgland signals. “I feel so proud of the team we’ve built.”

At the end of the recent March Break camps, parents received feedback forms and were asked to give a rating out of 5. RSC scored an average of 5.

“I know we did it right and we’re just building on that foundation,” adds Bridgland, also the founder of the Ottawa Sport and Social Club.

Home to after-school sports programs as well, RSC strives to be as accommodating as possible to parents’ needs.

Included with summer camp registration is childcare from as early as 7:30 a.m. and as late as 5:30 p.m. (formal programming runs from 9-4).

There are multi-week and sibling discounts, and a lunch plan for the week is available from The ClubHouse Restaurant onsite.

‘Stunning’ 4 acres in the heart of the city

The ClubHouse Restaurant is one of the newest additions to the 4-acre property along the Rideau River.

“It’s absolutely stunning and beautiful here,” underlines Bridgland, who is pleased to have advanced the Rideau from the private members club model. “It’s really great to open it up to the public and introduce more diverse sports so that we can all enjoy this wonderful space together.”

RSC is also enthusiastic to give back to the community through initiatives like the CAMPS Project.

“It’s nice to be able to open the doors to all socio-economic backgrounds, and make sure we’re supporting them,” Bridgland indicates. “It’s been wonderful to witness the Rideau’s storied past blend with the future.

“We’ve got a fantastic community atmosphere building here and we’re looking forward to having more new people join us and experience everything that makes this place special.”

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