February 14, 2019 8:11 am
Updated: February 14, 2019 12:03 pm

Warm Winnipeg destination offers year-round escape to ‘The Beach’

WATCH: The Beach Volleyball Centre in East St. Paul, Man., opened in 2018. It's a tropical oasis inside, no matter what the weather conditions are outside.

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In Manitoba, the winter can feel never ending. Temperatures drop, people bundle up and many dream of a warm getaway.

But that dream is much closer than you might think and you don’t need a passport or a plane ticket.

READ MORE: Canadian prairies colder than North Pole, almost as cold as Mars

The Beach Volleyball Centre in East St. Paul quietly opened in the spring of 2018.

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The 19,000-square-foot facility houses four full-size sand courts, a licensed “tiki bar” and plenty of palm trees.

“It’s kind of a getaway for the winter,” facility supervisor Evelyn Kampen said.

“We do leagues, birthday parties, team parties. We have school groups during the day, Monday to Friday.”

From the outside, the location looks like nothing more than a large warehouse. But when you walk inside, it’s a tropical transformation — hot, humid and always set to 20 degrees.

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It’s a place that started as a dream two decades ago.

Local residents Daryl Didyk, Kelly Crerar, and Bill King partnered in developing the centre.

Crerar worked as a volunteer during the 1999 Pan Am Games and knew he wanted to start something.

“He had this vision for the whole place and thought we should build beach courts in Winnipeg of all places,” Kampen said. “He was the visionary.”

Slowly but steadily that vision became a reality.

READ MORE: 27 Canadian beaches with the cleanest water

Lauren Siddal and her volleyball partner practice at the Beach year round to help keep their skills up. But on top of the training, it’s also about escaping the elements.

“It’s always great coming inside,” Siddal said.

“You don’t have the wind and the sun to deal with at all,” she said. “It’s always really funny cause you’re in here in your shorts and your tank top and you have to put your parka back on to go outside and bundle right back up.”

On a cold day, it’s a chance to kick off your winter boots and put your toes in the sand.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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