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Ontario Winter Games opening weekend announced

By CJ Goater Jan 10, 2024 | 3:44 PM

Team Dubinsky participating in curling at the Ontario Winter Games - CJ Goater

The Ontario Winter Games is set to kick off on February 16.

More than 1350 athletes aged 12-18, coaches and officials are expected to participate in 13 sports over two weekends.

To assist in running the event there are over 1000 volunteers registered to help out with the event.

“We are ready and thrilled to be welcoming Ontario’s top young athletes, coach and officials to Thunder Bay,” Said Barry Streib, Chair of the Games Organizing Committee. “We look forward to delivering an unforgettable experience for all participants.”

The event was first held in 1970 and was most recently held in Thunder Bay in 1974.

“We have been working closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to help address challenges we’ve faced regarding participant travel, stemming from high flight costs and a reduction in the airline capacity flying in and out of Thunder Bay since the city’s initial bid to host,” said Matthew Lawrence, the Ontario Winter Games Coordinator. “Our goal has always been to ensure as many athletes are able to attend as possible, and to put on a top-notch event for them.’

Lawrence explained that there were initially 27 sporting events selected, but due to challenges like travel, the number has been reduced.

Two opening ceremonies are being held as the event has been split into two weekends.

The first opening ceremony kicking off weekend one will be held on February 16 at Fort William Historical Park from 5-9 p.m. The events for the opening weekend are badminton, cross-country skiing, diving, futsal, ringette, and wrestling.

The second opening ceremony kicking off weekend two will be held on February 23, at the same place and same time as the first ceremony.

The event is open to the public and free of charge, “The entire community is encouraged to come out and help us celebrate the opening of the Games and welcome the athletes to Thunder Bay,” added Lawrence.