NIAGARA, ONT. — The Canada Games Council has selected Niagara Region to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games. As such, officials are planning upgrades and improvements to several area sports facilities in preparation for the event.
In August 2021, the region will welcome approximately 4,600 athletes from across Canada to compete in 17 sports over the course of two weeks.
The Province of Ontario is supporting Niagara Region to help plan and deliver the games through the Games Ontario program, a release indicates. The province will provide $10.35 million to the community over five years through the program, with a matching contribution from the federal government.
"The 2021 Canada Summer Games are an opportunity to provide upgrades to several sport facilities across Niagara," said Doug Hamilton, chair of the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games Bid Committee, in an email to The Daily Commercial News.
"For example, there will be improvements to baseball fields in Welland, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines and to softball fields in Grimsby, Wainfleet and West Lincoln. A new or upgraded athletics facility is also needed. These upgrades are designed to not only meet the requirements of the Canada Summer Games, but to provide facility improvements to be enjoyed by the community for years to come."
Hamilton added, "The improvements to baseball and softball fields include upgrades to dugouts, fences and other equipment. The athletics facility will require a new track surface. As well, the bid group has worked with the Town of Lincoln to upgrade one of its swimming pools."
When asked if any new facilities need to be built to accommodate the games, Hamilton reported two key legacy facilities that are planned are a Sport and Ability Centre in Thorold and a Rowing Training Centre on Henley Island in St. Catharines.
"The plans for these two facilities are still being developed," said Hamilton.
"Over the next several months our transition team will be working with a number of stakeholders locally, provincially and nationally to discuss facility usage and funding opportunities."
The City of St. Catharines will also be starting road work ahead of schedule in anticipation of the games.
"As part of its support for the cycling events at the games, the City of St. Catharines has agreed to advance the schedule for certain road work construction that was originally planned to be completed after the 2021 Games," said Hamilton.
Other communities that bid to host the games included Ottawa, Sudbury and the Kitchener/Waterloo region. This is the third time an Ontario community will host the Canada Summer Games. Thunder Bay played host in 1981 and London hosted them in 2001. Ontario has not hosted a Canada Winter Games.
The Canada Summer Games were established as a legacy of the 1967 centennial and are the country’s largest multi-sport event for youth.
High-profile sport events like the Canada Summer Games generate significant economic activity for the host community, the release reads.
The 2015 Canada Winter Games generated $123 million for Prince George, B.C., while the 2013 Canada Summer Games brought in $165 million for Sherbrooke, Que.