Wednesday, January 10th marked the day that the City of Brantford and the County of Brant played host to the Selection Review Committee for the 2021 Ontario 55+ Winter Games. With representatives from the Games Ontario division of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Ontario Senior Games Association, staff from both Economic Development and Tourism Departments showcased facilities and locations that would be hosting events during the Games.
This site tour was the chance to highlight what makes our communities great. There are many incredible sport facilities and locations within our two communities, but showcasing how our unique amenities, hospitality and dedication that will make the athlete experience memorable was the goal of the tour. And what tour in Brantford would not be complete without a visit to The Great One statue in front of the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre!
The Games are expected to bring 900 athletes from all over the province to compete in 10 competition categories as well as the companions that they bring with them. Competition sites that were viewed were: the Beckett Adult Leisure Centre, Pauline Johnson Collegiate, North Park Collegiate, Branlyn Community Centre, and the Scotland Community Centre. Sites that were not visited were shown during a slideshow presentation: Star Lanes, Brant Sports Complex, Boler Mountain (London), Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area, Brant Curling Club, Paris Curling Club, St. John’s College and Assumption College.
One of the main highlights of the tour was the crown jewel of Brantford’s downtown – the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts, which is the proposed site for the Games Opening Ceremonies. This historic site is a departure from traditional Games Opening Ceremonies, but thinking outside the box and presenting new and innovative ideas is what we are hoping will help us win the bid. It has the size that is needed, an incredible staff and tech crew who are very well versed in hosting large events, but most importantly, it has the wow factor to help set the tone for the beginning of the Games.
The other way the group needed to impress the Selection Review Committee was to outline the plan for the major Games social event – the Middle Night event. This is the chance for athletes to gather on the night in between of competitions and reconnect, have fun and enjoy some festivities. The proposed event is “We will always have Paris”, a night of music, entertainment and exploration of the “Prettiest Little Town in Canada”. This event is sure to set the bar for Middle Night events for years to come.
The support of both communities to host these Games was shown as Mayor Friel and Mayor Eddy along with senior staff from both municipalities welcomed the Selection Review Committee during lunch. Even though a decision is several months away, both Mayors spoke passionately about this exciting endeavor and were ready to seal the deal and sign the contracts immediately.
Our communities, staff, facilities and incredible volunteers are ready to take on this exciting endeavor. The Games will be awarded in March 2018. The City of Brantford and the County of Brant did an amazing job of showcasing all aspects and areas to host the Ontario 55+ Winter Games. Great work for all involved. March can’t come soon enough!