The doors were locked at the northwest Calgary TommyKplay indoor playground on Monday.
The sign on the door said the location and its south facility were closed indefinitely, with no explanation.
All morning, families walked up to the play centre, surprised to find it’s no longer open.
Lauren Demytruk would bring her four-year-old son to TommyKplay often.
“I can’t imagine what rent costs in a building this size.”
Another mother, Shona Wilson, was surprised that the closure notice wasn’t more visible.
“I’m surprised there isn’t bigger signage before you park your car, get your kids all excited, walking up to the building,” Wilson said.
Parents who live nearby will now have to find another play centre to take their kids.
Big Fun, a 30,000-square-foot indoor inflatable playground has found success in Calgary, but one of the owners, Derek Fuller, said it’s not easy.
“We’re doing OK because we’re very cautious,” Fuller said. “The costs are continually increasing… Our insurance costs went up nearly 15 per cent just over last year and we’ve had no claims.”
Fuller said it’s scary to see another children’s play centre close its doors in Calgary. He said the marketplace was a lot different when Big Fun opened just under two years ago.
“The minimum wage was much less, business tax was much less, there’s really been a lot of factors. The unemployment is affecting the consumer’s ability to come and spend money when you don’t have a job,” Fuller said.
“Our lives as a family, we’re not taking fancy holidays, we’re paying our bills at home… We have to keep those costs tight.”
Global News reached out to the owner of TommyKplay to find out reasons for the closure but received no response. Alberta Health Services confirmed to Global News that the closure of TommyKplay in Calgary was not because of any health violations.
In a statement to Global News, the City of Calgary’s Tracy Hayter, a credit and collections co-ordinator, said: “With the elimination of the business tax in 2019, Calgary businesses who don’t own property no longer pay tax directly to the City of Calgary. Non-residential property owners do pay property tax based on their assessed value, which they may pass onto their tenants.”
“Costs such as taxes, utilities, upkeep and etcetera, which the owner of the property chooses to pass to the tenant, would be detailed in their leaseholder agreement. The city doesn’t have information on tenants’ leaseholder agreements,” the statement said.