Feds contribute another $1.1 million to Canada Games
Steven Guilbeault, the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, was in Niagara Tuesday to announce $1.1 million in additonal funding for the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, Niagara would have been three days away for celebrating the launch of the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games.
But unfortunately, the pandemic did happen and the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games had to be postponed until Aug. 6 to 21, 2022.
In recognition of the costs associated with the postponing of the Games for one year, Steven Guilbeault, the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, was in Niagara Tuesday to announce $1.1 million in funding to cover those costs.
“Our government is proud to strengthen its support for our country’s largest domestic multi-sport event, the Canada Games. These Games are an amazing opportunity for athletes to showcase their skills and make Canada proud,” Guilbeault said Tuesday, at a press conference at Niagara Regional headquarters. “We can’t wait to celebrate with all of you and experience this event with the athletes, coaches, volunteers and people of the Niagara Region.”
St. Catharines MP Chris Bittle noted the funding comes in addition to the $29 million the feds committed to the construction of Canada Games Park and the $12.5 million provided for the operation of the Games.
“When Niagara was awarded the 2021 Canada Summer Games in 2017, no one expected the enormous challenges the COVID-19 pandemic would create as the Host Society prepares to host this once-in-a-lifetime event in our community,” Bittle said. “From the difficult decision to delay the Games to the delays in construction caused by the pandemic, additional costs would certainly change the Games. This funding will help ensure that Niagara hosts the best Canada Summer Games possible and that the success of the event is not limited due to the challenges of the global pandemic.”
Doug Hamilton, the board chair of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games, thanked the federal government for its efforts.
“We are very grateful to the federal government for its additional support of the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games,” he said. “While the decision to postpone our Games by a year was a difficult one that came with added challenges, it was undoubtedly the right decision.”
Hamilton felt it was important to point out that this is the third time the federal government has provided the Niagara 2022 Host Society with additional support.
The first came two years ago when it contributed $1.072 million to support a pilot project to add box lacrosse to the Games and the second came a few months later to announce an additional $29.5 million in funding for the construction of Canada Games Park.
The $1.1 million announced Tuesday was great news for the Niagara 2022 Host Society.
‘The additional year had an additional cost obviously for rent, staff and whole number of different things and most of this money is for the additional cost of running a Games organization for an additional year,” Hamilton said. “We had to ask for it and yes they had to go find a funding source for it because of all the different funding sources for the COVID pandemic. They had to work through the process.”
And while the COVID-19 pandemic has had terrible ramifications in every facet of Canadian life, there has at least been one benefit in regard to the Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games.
“If there is a silver lining to this, it was that the extra year helped us because we were tight in terms of a lot of our builds,” Hamilton said. “At Canada Games Park, the indoors were not going to be ready and some of the other facilities were going to be ready for hosting the Games but not in a way that we wanted them to be.
“The extra year allows us to have Canada Games Park done — it is supposed to be done in December or January — and it will be tested and ready to go. It will be perfect for the Games.”
That is clearly a big boost for the Games.
“You want the facilities to be ready not just to facilitate the Games but actually showcase the Games,” he said. “Having Canada Games Park ready, it will be the centrepiece for our Games.