P.E.I. wins bid to host 2023 Canada Winter Games
Published Friday, November 9, 2018 5:24PM AST
Last Updated Friday, November 9, 2018 7:48PM AST
Prince Edward Islanders have proven themselves as gracious hosts in the past so the Canada Games bid committee has awarded the province another opportunity to host the nation.
The 2023 Canada Winter Games will be held on the island and the excitement is already building.
For the bid selection committee, this really was a no-brainer.
“The warmth, of course, of the Islanders and they're willing to work with the Canada Games counsel and movement to do the 2023 Winter Games and make them the best games that they can,” said bid selection committee member Lynn Blouin.
There is some work to do on venues and infrastructure and the cost of hosting the games is pegged at $54 million dollars. That cost will be shared by all three levels of government.
“There’s an agreement in place between the provinces and the federal government that determines the level of funding available for each Canada Games,” said host society co-chair Brian McFeely.
Robert Mitchell, P.E.I.’s Minister of Health, Wellness and Sport said the investments generate a significant return for the province’s economy.
“Previous games generated around $85 million, so we anticipate similar numbers or higher,” Mitchell said.
The plan is for 2023 to be a true Island games as events will be held all over P.E.I.
The provincial government is going to make sure local athletes will be ready to compete against the best in Canada.
“We will increase our funding for our local athletes significantly over the next number of years so they are the best prepared they can be,” Mitchell said.
The Games will be held over two weeks in February and will bring in 5,000 athletes and coaches alone. Some of the athletes will be on the verge of becoming household names.
“You get to go to Canada Games and you're playing against future Olympians and many national team players, so you're playing against the best of the best,” said former Canada Games athlete Charla Currie.
And the best part, at least for Island athletes, is they'll be competing at home.
“Some will think ‘oh I don't get a trip out of it, but it's something bigger and way more special when you can have all your friends and family here supporting you through the Games, so I'm really excited for all the athletes of 2023.”
This will be the third time P.E.I. has hosted this event. The 1991 Winter Games were here and 2009 Summer Games paid a visit to the Island.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.