It was a warm morning in July when we pulled into Craig Complex. It seemed strange to be back, I never thought I would ever see her again, let alone come back to play paintball. They changed the name, PRZ Paintball, a new banner for a new beginning. I had heard rumors of airsoft events being held there, but also of the horror of what damage the Canadian Forces had done via the new â€œGatecrasherâ€ explosives. I was informed ahead of time that only the two story building was in play and that the 3 story was still under repair, so I didn’t know what to expect. My mind raced back to 2007, before she was closed to the public, and the first time I saw her. The weekend of a game of epic proportions, a game still talked about to this day. The weekend I fell in love with a paintball field.
Decommissioned in 1969 by the Canadian Military, it became a hospital for the mentally challenged and housed up to 450 patients at any given time. It closed down in 1997, but not officially until 1999. The property contains 4 large buildings, 2 of them suitable for urban cqb play. The first, a large 3 story building much like a hotel, complete with adjoining rooms. The 2 story is setup in the configuration of a horseshoe. It puts me in a mind of my old high school.
It’s evident the military has been back, with a vengeance, as all the doors have had the locks blown with breaching blasts from a shotgun, many still bore the boot print of JTF elites. Many of the walls have had door size holes blown right out.Â All in all what the military has done has only added to atmosphere and playability of the field with the cool explosive burns and many additional routes of movement.
Talking with the new owners I’m amazed to hear all the plans in the works. Led lighting, Insertion Vehicles, CCTV systems, Alarms & Traps. Amazed, I guess is a bit of an understatement. The whole conversation had my mind racing to the possibilities. I can see a great deal of expense has been put into the field already, barrier guards across the second story windows, all the broken glass removed, everything looked bare and clean. Jumping in and out of first floor windows can be done safely without worry of sliced hands, everything is safer, it’s apparent a lot of time an expense was allotted to making the field as safe as possible.
Steve informed me that the field was recently sponsored by Valken Paintball & Tri-Canadian Energy Corporation. They will be shooting Valken Graffiti balls, and powering their thousands of LED lights with green energy. A row of what seem to be Spyder clones line the rental racks in the registration area. We are informed that the air is included with admission, but Co2 is available for an additional cost.Â The 3 story building I’m told will be open and playable sometime in the near future. Walls damaged by high explosives, are now being skillfully repaired, and then inspected by structural engineers. It’s all in the works, the fresh brick and mortar are on site to prove it. All in attendance are impressed, and those of us who were in attendance back in 2007, are doubly so.
Our day of play went by in just a few games, as the intensity of the games combined with the mid-summer weather made our half hour games seem like mere minutes and our 15 minute breaks inflated to 30 as the midday heat set in. There were plenty of staff on hand to handle our needs, a few even picked up a rental marker after their shift. We were constantly reminded to stay hydrated and were offered a complimentary hotdog, burger and pop or water for lunch, it was much appreciated, as we had brought plenty of drinks, but no food, and a drive off property would cut into valuable playing time.
At the end of the day I got to talk with Steve some more and he informed me of plans for a grand opening game sometime possibly in late August or early September, but not until the field was absolutely ready. Until then they will be accepting a limited number of walk-ons on the weekends while maintenance staff work on repairs, so book your weekend now. Check out the â€œPrince Edward Recreational Zoneâ€ Facebook group to stay up to date on field info. Then make plans to get yourself out to Picton, Ontario. You do not want to be the last person you know to play this awesome venue!
For the video of the PRZ facility see belowBy Justin â€œVaporâ€ Hewitt