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Montreal companies see business boom as demand for backyard activities soars

Click to play video 'Coronavirus pandemic leads to business boom for Montreal companies amid high demand for backyard activities' Coronavirus pandemic leads to business boom for Montreal companies amid high demand for backyard activities
As the coronavirus pandemic continues into winter, local companies in Montreal are working to meet a higher demand for backyard activities. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – Nov 27, 2020

With COVID-19 restrictions in place limiting families’ outings, local companies are seeing sales of outdoor activities for kids soar.

As public health officials recommend staying home this holiday season, backyard games and toys to entertain the children are in high demand.

Read more: Businesses, cities look to give Canadians outdoor rec options during pandemic winter

Montreal’s Play Snow says it has easily doubled its sales compared to last year.

Despite barely having any snow on the ground, the sale of buildable plastic igloo structures continues to climb.

“Sales went through the roof this year,” company president Eric Villiard said.

“Families are looking for things to do in confinement this winter.”

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This year the igloos are selling faster than ever before, with up to 4,000 units sold already.

Villiard says while it is great to see his young business thrive, it is difficult stocking the shelves.

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“Each week it’s busy the igloos sell out in 24 hours. We can’t even keep up with demand.”

Read more: City of Montreal unveils plans to encourage outdoor sports and local shopping

Ice N’Go, which sells backyard ice rink kits out of the Town of Mont-Royal, has also seen a drastic increase in demand, not only in Canada but across North America.

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“This year with COVID, it just went bananas,” co-founder Blair Robertson said. “In Connecticut, they just announced they are closing their arenas and our phones are going off the hook.

“People are looking for alternatives, right? Their kids are at home.  It’s tough for parents to keep their kids occupied.”.

In the Greater Montreal area, public rinks are being installed but depending on where you are, playing ice hockey in groups is not allowed or recommended.

For this reason, Ice N’Go has seen parents looking for alternatives, such as their backyard rinks.

“We’re trying our best to really crank out stuff,” Robertson said.

“I mean, when it rains, it pours. We’re happy, we’re excited. But we’re really trying to push and meet the demands for everybody.”

Read more: Montreal public health says ‘less is more’ for holiday gatherings as COVID-19 crisis continues