Are the 2021 Canada summer games coming to Waterloo?

Photo by Luke Sarazin

The 2021 Canada Summer Games are looking for a host city and the Region of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University are hopeful to be their next destination.

The region of Waterloo, Sudbury, Niagara and Ottawa are the four remaining bids hopeful to host the games.

If the Region of Waterloo does prevail as host of the Summer Games, Laurier is looking to play a significant role and would even become the home of the athlete’s village.

“It’s a game changer for the entire community. As a part of the bid, Laurier would be the village. There would be 3,000 athletes and other support staff in and around our residences for the duration of the games,” Peter Baxter said, Laurier’s director of athletics and recreation.

Ultimately, Laurier’s campus would play a huge role in the Games.

“There would be lots of business with the dining hall. The [Theatre Auditorium] would become a poly clinic, the Turret would be a place for the athletes to relax and socialize … The Athletics Complex would become a practice facility for basketball, volleyball and swimming,” Baxter said.

There are also even plans to use University Stadium as the site for opening and closing ceremonies, as well as host the soccer finals.

Baxter explained that the Canada Summer Games aren’t just looking for a venue when they are in search of their next host but they intend to leave a legacy.

“From April on, we have a long list of community groups from minor football, soccer and field hockey that use our facilities. Any upgrade to these facilities would leave a legacy for the whole community. When the Canada Games come in, it’s not only about the event itself it’s about the lasting impact in the community,” Baxter said.

Laurier first became involved in the bidding process when they were approached by the Regional Sport Tourism Office. The office approached the tri-cities, as well as Laurier and the University of Waterloo, where each party’s involvement was discussed and further clarified

“This is a generational opportunity, never mind the economic impact … you’ll leave this sport infrastructure for others to come,” Baxter said.

Baxter mentioned that even though the event will take place in the summer and there will be less students in the area, it will still be a great opportunity for students to get involved.

“This is a great volunteer opportunity; it will require a lot of man power. If you look at even the national championships that we’ve hosted, we always rely on the Laurier community to get involved. But I wouldn’t be surprised that in this venue, that there will be staff and faculty that will want to get involved and help support this,” Baxter said.

Last Tuesday, the formal bid evaluation committee took a tour of Laurier’s campus to further visualize and assess the bid, which they do for all four of the final cities.

Now the four cities await the final verdict.

“With these games, it’s about what the legacy is when the games leave and if it can help enhance, not just University Stadium, but all the other sporting venues in and around the Region, that’s a big plus. Not to mention for young people — they need something to inspire them.”

“This is a great way to showcase all three of the cities,” Baxter added.

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