Dianne Moore is making the world a better place, one ping pong table at a time.
The alumna has spearheaded a movement to install concrete ping pong tables in public spaces throughout the Toronto area, Windsor, and even in Europe and Asia.
Moore BA ’83 has played the game most of her life, initially competing against her father in the family basement. Her original goal was to populate Toronto parks with concrete tables, to make it an inexpensive pastime for other families.
Moore wants to encourage people of all ages to become more physically active and socially engaged. “Anyone can play and anyone can watch,” she says.
When she moved from Windsor to Toronto in 2010, she became aware of the high cost for families of swimming and hockey lessons. “I thought that outdoor ping pong doesn’t cost a lot—those interested can pick up inexpensive paddles and balls.”
Moore presented her idea to install concrete tables to Toronto Parks & Rec, who were very supportive. “They told me to go for it.”
The alumna approached Alpha Precasts, a Toronto concrete company, who liked the idea and built a prototype table. From this small beginning, there are now have more than 100 outdoor ping pong tables installed in Toronto parks and schools.
The tables cost about $5,000 to $6,000 each. Some have been funded by donors, including several Rotary clubs, others by development charges.
One of the tables has also been installed on the University of Windsor campus, courtesy of a donation by John and the late Norma Brockenshire, friends of Moore’s.
Two tables were donated by her own Rotary Club of Toronto-Forest Hill to the Cross Lake First Nation in Manitoba.
Moore’s concrete ping pong table movement is now international in scope. One is located in a park near Canada's Vimy Ridge monument in France, and there are four in Pakistan.
“Those four were the result of my conversation with a Rotarian from Pakistan who attended our club meeting when she visited Toronto,” explains Moore. “She was excited by the idea of children in Pakistan playing Ping Pong outside.” The Rotarian and her local club found a builder to adapt the idea.
Moore was born in Chatham, Ont., but grew up in Windsor. She took university courses while working at Hiram Walker and continued part-time while her children were young. She eventually completed a degree in psychology and communications.
“I enjoyed the interactions with my professors and fellow students, and especially with people I interviewed in my research,” she recalls.
Moore says that her program gave her a comfort with public speaking that has served her well. Together with her husband, Jim, BSc’60 MA’67 she is a partner in Moore Global, a consultancy they launched while living in Windsor. It assists client companies in the preparation of claims for research and development tax credits.
The couple haven’t forgotten their roots. They donated a table to Windsor’s Kiwanis Park, adjacent to their former Windsor home, in honour of her father.
In addition to working with clients and volunteer work, Moore enjoys reading, walking, travelling and playing ping pong, of course.
“I keep paddles and balls in my car and stop and play whenever I go by an outdoor table.”