Fun is the name (literally), 38 years for Maritime Fun Group
Posted on September 16, 2022 | By Alexander Chafe | 0 Comments
The owner of Sandspit, Magic Mountain and many other parks and attractions throughout Atlantic Canada, Maritime Fun Group aims to offer fun for the whole family. Grown from an abandoned excavation pit on Prince Edward Island, the organization now has about 25 properties across P.E.I. and N.B.
Start your engines
It all started with Larry and Beverley Dunville, who opened Sandspit amusement park in Cavendish, P.E.I. in 1984. The couple had frequently travelled to the U.S. and saw many family fun zones, so they decided to bring the fun back to the Island.
Before it became the attraction it is today, Sandpit began as just some dune buggies in an old excavation pit and a bumper boat pond. The following season, the dune buggies were replaced with go-carts, and a golf course, carousel, soft play area and old-fashioned games were added. Changes at the park continued over the years with the addition of the Ferris wheel, bumper cars, the Scrambler and several other rides. In 1986, the Dunvilles also expanded to New Brunswick with the help of a partner and opened Sandspit Parlee Beach.
In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Jelley family began working at the parks and eventually became investors when they partnered with the Dunvilles to purchase Magic Mountain (Atlantic Canada’s largest waterpark) in 1999. After also partnering to acquire Burlington Go-Karts and Amusement Park in 2002, they had the idea to form an umbrella organization and Maritime Fun Group was born.
Growth continued from there. In 2005, after Rainbow Valley (a competitor on P.E.I.) announced its closure, Maritime Fun Group responded by building Shining Waters Family Fun Park. The Group also expanded into midway attractions in 2016 with the purchase of Cavendish Entertainment Plaza and renaming it Mariner’s Cove Boardwalk. The Boardwalk included notable attractions like Ripley’s Believe it or Not! Odditorium and grew with new tenants over time.
Diversifying even further, Maritime Fun Group expanded into food services in 2018, creating their Seaside Fun Foods division. The organization owns three BeaverTails Pastry locations, a pizza franchise and other canteens and cafés across P.E.I.
Today, Maritime Fun Group has around 25 properties and employs about 500 people during their operating season. Owned by four Jelley brothers, the business continues to grow after overcoming the pandemic and recently acquired Great Island Science and Adventure Park and Black Magic Mini-Golf.
Matthew Jelley, President of Maritime Fun Group, says the organization “enjoys being a family-owned and operated business with a loyal group of employees that help us succeed. We have plans to continue growth and investment in our properties, which will be announced in due time.”
Still living up to their name, 38 years later.
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