Photo By: Mackenzie Gerry

The 2022 Canada Summer Games (CSG) will be hosted in Niagara this summer. It’s the biggest multi-sport event in the country, and it looks like it will push-on, despite the presence of COVID-19.

With close to 100,000 athletes having competed since the Games’ were first held in the late 1960’s, and nearly the same number of coaches, volunteers, and officials — it’s safe to say these games are a massive national event, drawing in a large variety of Canada’s best amatuer athletes.

The Games were supposed to be held this past August, but were cancelled after the hosting body negotiated and decided with the Niagara Region, Province of Ontario and Federal Government to postpone the event to 2022 due to COVID-19.

“The Niagara 2022 Canada Summer Games represents a once-in-a-lifetime event for Niagara that has and will continue to create unique opportunities for the Region. With the support of our community, we are planning to deliver a phenomenal event that will leave a lasting and vital legacy for all of Niagara,” said Chris Séguin, Media & Communications Manager for the Games. “Our Games postponement to 2022 doesn’t change that. If anything, our new date will allow us to better deliver our goals, given that we should be able to host the Games’ sport competitions and cultural events in the way that they were originally envisioned.”

As for the construction of the event, infrastructure developments are in progress across Niagara, with Brock playing a key role with its various facilities. The university’s main campus will host the cycling criterium, with the central roundabout being utilized for its smooth bends. Additionally, the Eleanor Misener Aquatic Centre, with its Olympic-sized swimming pool, will host diving and swimming events, while the grass fields and Alumni Field will host the rugby sevens. 

On top of this, the Walker Sports and Abilities Centre is being being built at the Canada Games Park, which is a legacy project for the Games. This is being built alongside six competition beach volleyball courts, a cycling and storage pavilion, and a 400-metre track and field facility at the park.

“Our infrastructure program for the Games is progressing very well. The largest project is Canada Games Park, just south of Brock’s campus. Canada Games Park will be completed this winter, long before it is used for the Games next summer,” said Séguin. 

Other infrastructure advances are being made as well; the official opening of the Meridian Volunteer Centre being one that is of great importance for the Games as it will require 4,500 volunteers to run. The volunteer registration portal will be up Oct. 25 for those looking to get involved. 

COVID-19 planning and management is an important aspect to consider for large sporting events like the CSG, with many concerns of recurrent waves of infection and potential new variants always casting a shadow of uncertainty on anything involving massive gatherings.

“Since March of last year, we have and continue to closely monitor all dialogue from public health experts and the decisions made by all levels of government as it pertains to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Séguin. “As we look ahead to next summer’s event, it’s still too early to know exactly what protocols we will have in place. We’re mindful that we will have provisions established to ensure the health and safety of both our Games participants and spectators, and ones that will comply with government regulations and recommendations.” 

In the face of COVID-19, the CSG hosting body can only be hopeful that things will run both smoothly and safely while still adhering to government regulations. 

The CSG will run from Aug. 6-21, 2022. You can get more information on the most current schedule here. For more on the Games themselves, check out the official website of the Games’ organizers.