History and facilities
The first organized sport in Stouffville was curling in 1890 on the Mill Pond (today site of the Latcham Art Gallery and the Mennonite Care and Share Thrift Store). Lacrosse was also played at this time, and in 1897, Stouffville won the Ontario championships. The first hockey team was organized about 1900, and at the turn of the century the Stouffville rink below Burkholder Street was considered “the largest and best arranged rink in Canada.” Lawnbowling has also been played in Stouffville since the early 1900s as well as organized men’s and women’s baseball.
The most important recreational facilities in Whitchurch–Stouffville are the Stouffville Clippers Sports Complex, with two NHL size ice pads (completed 2010); the Stouffville Arena, with two ice pads; the Lebovic Leisure Centre, with a 25 meter pool, hot tub, gym and fitness centre; Stouffville Outdoor Pool (25 meters with wading pool), and Bethesda Park, with two ball diamonds, a senior soccer pitch and four mini sports fields (completed 2010). In 2008, 47% of residents noted that had they used the town’s Department of Leisure Services in the past twelve month period with a high rate of satisfaction. A 2010 survey of residents identified the need for accommodations for desired activities like curling, indoor soccer, racquetball, squash, and indoor tennis.
Whitchurch–Stouffville’s residents are increasingly concerned about the connection between health and the recreational options available in the town. A 2008 survey on Parks, Recreation and Culture services indicated a large gap between the level of importance of walking/bike trails and children/youth recreation programs to residents on the one side, and their level of satisfaction with these services on the other. Whitchurch–Stouffville’s children have become increasingly inactive: for senior Kindergarten children in those areas of Whitchurch–Stouffville experiencing the most growth, the average score in “physical health and wellbeing” decreased 8.1% between 2003 and 2006 (in comparison, York Region’s average was a drop of 3.5%).
Hockey and skating
Whitchurch–Stouffville is home to the Stouffville Spirit Junior “A” ice hockey team. The Stouffville Amateur Hockey League (men’s and women’s leagues), the Stouffville-Markham Girls Hockey Association, Whitchurch–Stouffville Minor Hockey Association, the Whitchurch–Stouffville Skating Club, and the Stouffville Adult Skating Club offer programs in the town’s arenas.
1,142 hectares of the twenty York Regional Forest tracts (or slightly more than half of the total) are found within the borders of Whitchurch–Stouffville.
The Whitchurch Conservation Area covers ten hectares, and is accessed on Aurora Sideroad, three kilometers east of Woodbine Ave. It is connected to a larger York Region Forest Tract and to trails of the Oak Ridges Trail Association.
The Pangman Springs Conservation Area is accessed from Kennedy Road between Davis Drive and Aurora Road or from the Porritt tract of the York Region Forest using an Oak Ridges Trail Association side trail.
Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Whitchurch–Stouffville is the northern gateway to Rouge Park. The Master Plan for the conservation area includes not only a trail system within the park, but also future trail connections to inter-regional trails.
An extensive trail system within urban Stouffville is being developed that connects to the larger forested areas of the Whitchurch–Stouffville. The most significant trail begins in town along the Stouffville Creek and leads through a mature forest around the Stouffville Reservoir.
Whitchurch–Stouffville is home to many golf courses, including Emerald Hills, Rolling Hills, Spring Lakes, Maples of Ballantrae, Ballantrae Golf & Country Club, St. Andrews East Golf & Country Club, Timber Creek Mini Golf & Family Fun Centre, Sleepy Hollow, Meadowbrook and Station Creek.
The Whitchurch–Stouffville Soccer Club was established in 1977 and had 1,250 members in 2010. The club uses fields at Bethesda Park, the Stouffville Arena, Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area, and fields owned by Teva Canada.
The Whitchurch–Stouffville Softball Association is a volunteer run house-league organization. The association uses eleven ball diamonds in town plus five in the neighbouring villages of Goodwood and Claremont.
Outdoor water recreation
Whitchurch–Stouffville is home to a number of kettle lakes, which are ideal for outdoor water recreation.
Musselman’s Lake provides public access for swimming, boating and fishing through Cedar Beach Trailer Park. Public access to Preston Lake was lost in the 1990s, when Landford Development purchased the west-shore beach and trailer park and built a subdivision of estate properties with a shared private beach. The town failed to secure a public access point. Though this glacier-formed kettle lake is crown property and regulated by all levels of government, it is encompassed by private property and access is restricted to circa seven hundred residents with private/deeded access rights. In 2008 the town’s development plans included a trail system with access to the lake, but this was met with opposition from Preston Lake residents who desired to protect their exclusive access. Interest and support for the purchase or expropriation of land for public access to the town’s natural lakes has grown with the town’s development.
The Town of Whitchurch–Stouffville operated an outdoor public swimming pool until 2010.