By John Swartz
Orillia will be the host community for the 2024 Ontario 55+ Winter Games. It will be a three day affair in the month of February.
Orillia previously was the host of the Ontario Winter Games in 2018 and 2020, so the infrastructure of facilities, operations and raising volunteers are in place.
Those games generated more than $5 million of economic activity each year from 3,000 participants and 10,000 visitors. The province provided $1 million each year of those games and because the City ran the games without losing money got a grant of $100,000 and profited another $70,000 in 2018, which ended up being used to buy equipment for the Orillia Recreation Centre. In 2020 the games cost more than the $1 million the province funded, but still made $72,000.
These games will have an expected 1,000 participants. Smaller in scope, it’s still expected $1.5 million of economic activity will be generated. The operating grant from the province is $235,000.
“If the games break even there’s a $25,000 invested into the community,” said the City’s interim director of business development Michael Ladouceur.
There will be competition in ten sports.
“The sport selection process will begin now. Various sports will apply to be part of the games, so we’ll have announcement in the months to come,” said Ladouceur.
Mayor Don McIsaac is confident the community will benefit from hosting the event.
“We’ve got the infrastructure. The $235,000 grant is extremely generous. We think that will more than cover our costs, so we’re in good shape there. The injection into the local economy is huge, restaurants, hotels, all sorts of businesses are going to benefit,” he said.
The previous games were successful because of sponsorships and volunteer interest and effort. From experience the city is looking for people to help out in the key areas of:
Marketing & Communications
Website & Information Technology
Food & Beverage
Tourism & Hospitality
Medal Ceremonies & Results
Facilities & Equipment
Special Events & Community Integration
Registration & Accreditation
Sponsorship & Fundraising
Security & Accessibility
You can register online to volunteer now.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia; Images Supplied)