BY DEEANNA ROLLINS
Over a thousand people gathered in downtown Kitchener on Feb. 28 in their red and blue toques and Canadian colours for a pep rally to show the community’s support for the local bid for the 2021 Canada Summer Games, which will feature 19 different sports. THEMUSEUM unveiled a Canadian flag the size of its building and the crowd screamed in excitement.
The Canada Games evaluation committee visited the region that day for site tours and evaluations, something that will also take place in Sudbury, Ottawa and Niagara Region, the other three communities bidding for the games.
Waterloo Mayor Dave Jaworsky is as enthusiastic as any other citizen.
“We are awesome and we are ready for this,” he said at Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort, the proposed site of mountain biking and tennis.
Kitchener Mayor Barry Vrbanovic couldn’t help but agree with him.
“Today was phenomenal,” he said. “It will be a tough choice for the evaluation committee but community collaboration, sports and partnerships are easy for us. It’s part of the DNA of the region.”
It was an early and long day for the evaluation committee. It started with an 8 a.m. performance by Lincoln Heights Public School students at the Delta Hotel in Waterloo and then they moved to Chicopee, then THEMUSEUM, and then Christie Digital with some stops in between.
“It’s been a very long and interesting day,” said Waterloo Region bid committee manager Sherry Doiron. “People don’t really know the region or where we are. We are a hidden gem that a lot of people don’t even know exists. That fact that we have come this far is amazing.”
The Canada Games started in 1967 in Quebec City and has travelled from coast-to-coast many times in the last 50 years. The closest it has ever been to Waterloo Region is London, Ont. for the 2001 summer games.
Sports in the summer games range from baseball and basketball to sailing, tennis, fencing and everything in between.
In the first stage of the bid, the written portion, the region proposed many different venues, ranging from Waterloo to Hamilton.
RIM Park for beach and indoor volleyball
Grey Silo Golf Course for golf
The Aud for basketball
Jack Couch Park for baseball
Peter Hallman Ball Yards for softball
Chicopee for tennis and mountain biking
Guelph Lake for open water events
Royal Hamilton Yacht Club for sailing
Brantford’s Gretzky Centre for swimming
The region’s bid committee also announced that Conestoga College would serve as the broadcast centre for the summer games and Wilfrid Laurier University will house the athletes.
The evaluation committee will announce which city will host the games on March 30.
The games would bring over 3,500 athletes and 6,000 volunteers to the region, as well as $100 million in economic development over the 18 days.
The winning city will receive $3 million from each of the federal and provincial governments for necessary improvements to local games facilities, as well as an extra $15 million toward operation costs.